On the eve of launching my book, The Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Self-Publishing, I have been reflecting on the lessons I have learnt along the way. Writing and self-publishing is a journey that requires self-discipline, determination and a degree of bravery.

As a participant of a writing challenge, I began the journey to becoming an author in July 2016. Working in the publishing industry, I had high hopes of a quick turnaround. I was determined to have my book published by December. Looking back, I see I was delusional; however, at the time my carefully mapped out timeframe seemed doable.

By September my writing was on track, and in October the manuscript was sent off to the editor. Everything was looking A-okay.

The edited manuscript arrived back and I diligently reviewed the comments and made the necessary adjustments.

All of a sudden, we were well into November, and the weeks and months were quickly ticking by. And so we begin with Lesson Number One …

Lesson Number One: Don’t Panic! The joy of juggling so many balls in the air – writing, running a business, and ‘trying’ to keep the family on track was starting to become overwhelming. I was beginning to drop a few balls, and I was losing focus on the big picture.

Lesson Number Two: Reflect. Somewhere between designing and formatting the internal pages, I took a long hard look at my timeframe and made the decision to ease back on the pedal. What was the point in rushing if I was going to produce an inferior book – one that I would look back at and regret?

Lesson Number Three: Don’t Over Think. By the beginning of December, I began to relax and readjusted the dates. I agonised over this decision, but nothing in the world changed. Besides, I was the only one who knew the changed timeframe.

The new year, 2017, came hard and fast, and was exceptionally frantic. I don’t remember a January so busy, and this meant little time for my own publishing goals. But somehow or other in February, we printed review copies. With pride, anticipation and a lot of nerves, these were sent out to my carefully selected list of reviewers.

Lesson Number Four: Take a Risk. You learn a lot about yourself by sending out your ‘baby’ and waiting for critique. I learnt that it was okay to be terrified – do it anyway and be brave. I sent a copy to Andrew Griffiths, Author and International Speaker, and I asked if he liked what I had written, would he write the foreword. I admire Andrew a great deal and was very anxious to hear his response. I couldn’t help but think, what if he hated it!

To my relief, Andrew loved my book and very kindly took the time to write the foreword, for which I am extremely grateful.

‘Ann has taken what can be a complex process and broken it into simple, common sense steps. She provides a solid framework for writing and publishing a book, specifically for entrepreneurs. A huge congratulations to Ann Wilson for sharing her knowledge, experience and wisdom so generously in this book.’

And so, in May 2017, I will launch ‘my’ first book.

Even though I have learnt many lessons along it’s journey to publication, at the time of writing this blog, setting my book free for the public to read seems like the hardest part of the journey. However, I now know that this is just the beginning. Being an author is not only about writing the words, but it’s also about sharing these words with the world, and this next ‘marketing’ stage will once again take courage.