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My Author Journey

After publishing my first book, “A New Pair of Shoes, Step In Mine…” in 2008, I have learned a lot about publishing and being on this journey as an author.

In the Beginning

I’ve written poetry and stories since as early as I can remember. It may have started in middle school or earlier. I can remember re-writing the Disney Gold Spine books and sending them to my grandmother. As I got older, I began writing little short stories about my day-to-day life in a diary my mom bought for me. I would change the names of my friends and journal when big events happened in one of our lives.

Later, I began writing poetry. This was much faster. I would write as many as eight poems in a school day. Then one day someone read my poetry aloud in class and people told me it was “good stuff” and they wanted me to write for them. So, there I was writing poetry for everyone who was going through something in their high school relationships.

At this time, I still had no idea that becoming a published author was even possible for me. I was told by many that I would have to move away from Arkansas to publish a book. For years, I believed this narrative and would only make paper books at home and pretend I had published a book.

Then through my school I found out about an organization called “Who’s Who,” and they were letting students write and publish an upcoming book. My best friend and I wrote our stories and submitted them. This was the first nudge for me that I could do this as our stories were published. Later, I found out about an organization called the International House of Poetry and I submitted some poems to them and was published in several books receiving several awards/certificates for my poems.

Getting Published

After a few years of entering my poems, I had a friend tell me I should publish my poetry in my own book because people need to hear my poems. I began researching and decided to go with AuthorHouse to publish my first book.

This was a tough journey as so many people were telling me I wouldn't be able to do this. I stopped talking about it and published my first book without letting anyone know. In 2008, when I got that first book “A New Pair of Shoes, Step In Mine…” in the mail, I was overjoyed. It was my name on the cover of a book.

A real book!

This excitement was short lived as I realized quickly I knew NOTHING about marketing. I found myself devastated trying to figure it out. Self-publishing was still a new thing and there weren't very many articles out there telling people how to market their books. I tried all kinds of things I saw other people doing and some things worked while others didn’t.

Even though I was published, I still continued to purchase and read books. I soon learned that some of these authors were self-published like myself. I began asking them questions and was getting no responses.

In 2011, my mom came to me and told me about a lady named Shani Greene-Dowdell, and surprisingly she and I were friends on Facebook. I reached out to her and she helped guide me on the journey to self-publishing without going through a vanity press such as AuthorHouse (I had no idea what a vanity press was at that time). I begin the process to take my book down from AuthorHouse.

In 2012, I published my second poetry book, “Cell of the Mind, and I had much more freedom and control over my work. I was very proud and promoted it everywhere I could. Then in 2014, I re-released my first book and titled it, A Walk In My Shoes adding myself to the cover.

Since then I’ve published a total of 11 books and counting including short stories for anthologies, poetry, journals, children’s coloring/activity books, and I am only getting started.

My Advice to An Aspiring Author

My advice would be to never give up, don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible, & everyday find something that will bring you closer to your dreams. But first, do your research. Research and study your craft often so that you have a good amount of knowledge before going in.

Being an author is not always easy. There may be times you sell well and other times you don’t and this can be frustrating. Keeping up with the demand of your audience can be discouraging, but know yourself and trust yourself to do what works best for you.

Keep writing. Keep promoting. Keep sharing your voice.


LaQueisha Malone is an award-winning author, entrepreneur, and literary coach who has been in this industry for over

14 years. With her expertise and knowledge in the literary world she has picked up the mantle to help other authors and publishing companies with their publishing and writing needs helping them achieve success.

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