It’s been a trip and a half for me as I’ve worked on self-publishing, not one, but two novels. Since I graduate college soon, which blows my mind, I thought it would be a great time to review how things have gone thus far.

When you’re a writer, it can be hard to tell how you’ve reached your success. If there’s one thing I’ve learned its that your success is limited only to what you’re willing to work for.

Be stubborn. Keep working. Keep dreaming.

I started writing because I fell in love with reading. I started my first novel Essence when I was thirteen because reading was no longer enough-I had to create. Three years and ten drafts later, Essence was published. The journey was one full of rejection. I was turned down by fourty agents before I decided on the course of self-publishing, but those rejections forced me to become a better writer.

I had turned away from self-publishing for so long because anyone can do it, but only a few can do it well successfully. I was determined to be successful.

I posted about my journey on YouTube, documentaing every step along the way. Finding an editor, creating a book trailer, designing a book cover, and finding people to review the book.

I didn’t have an agent or publishing house to back me up, I had something better. A community.

THe first book signing for Essence I sold eighty books in three hours, something I could only dream of. I had gone from getting rejected to having readers that lookde up to me.

Being published in high school did not come without its own set of problems. From haters to people spreading rumors, it was a side-affect of someone with a name. I was no longer some girl on YouTube. I was some girl on the front page of the newspaper. I was some girl being interviewed for TV or a local radio station. I was some girl eating lunch with a New York Times best-selling author. I was that girl speaking on a panel at a writing conferance or teaching workshops at local libraies and schools. I was the girl that refused to give up.

I published my second novel,I am Mercy, in the midst of tranffering colleges. I started writing my second novel because I didn’t know how else to deal with my anxiety. Essence took me three years to write, but I am MErcy only took a few months. Writing was the only way I knew how to quiet my anxiety and my fear. And that’s why I keep writing.

And here I am, weeks away from graduating college, with a third novel on the way.

Success is not determined byhow lucky you are; it’s determined by how badly you want it.