Janine Hernandez: The Latina author guiding writers to become self-published
The award-winning, best-selling author is now also a valuable mentor and coach to aspiring writers.
Janine Hernandez was just nine years old when she knew she would one day become a world famous published author.
“I was always writing,” Hernandez said in an interview with AL DIA.
Whether it was poetry, short stories or notes back and forth to her friends at school, writing was something she always loved doing.
At the age of nine, she decided to enter a few of the poems she had written into a contest.
“And then it kind of sparked an interest of, ‘I want to publish a book, this is something I want to do. And I want to do this for the rest of my life,’” reflected Hernandez.
From that moment, her parents did all they could to learn more about the publishing industry and help her eventually get her book published.
Growing up in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to first-generation Colombian immigrants, Hernandez always admired the hard work and dedication her parents always displayed to create a good life for her.
Hernandez made a decision early on that she did not want to through a traditional publishing company to release her book.
“I just didn’t want anyone to have control over my writing,” she said.
The desire to become a self-published author was there since childhood, but Hernandez waited nearly two decades to fulfill that goal.
“I allowed fear to stop me,” she said. “I was afraid of what people would think, I [questioned] is my writing good enough and literally every fear you can think of stopped me.”
She spent several years modifying and editing her book, then setting it aside each time before repeating the cycle.
It wasn’t until the age of 26 that she fulfilled her childhood dream and self-published her first book, a collection of the poetry, thoughts and short quotes she had written since the age of nine.
Since publishing her first book, Hernandez has published five additional books.
Her most recent book, The Light in Times of Darkness, was released on Oct. 15.
The book, she said, is split into two parts — a dark side, which details some of the things she has gone through in her life, including postpartum depression, mom guilt, narcissistic and domestic abuse; and a light side, where she details how she was able to overcome those situations and “still live a really good life.”
“I share my story as somewhat of a memoir, but I also provide tools and challenge the reader to think in a different way and not stay in that victim mentality,” she added.
Throughout her writing career, Hernandez has shown a vast range pertaining to her genres of writing.
In addition to her first and most recent book, she has also written a spiritual children’s book that teaches children about paying attention to their intuition and mindfulness techniques, a self-help book that provides tips on how to live a joyful life with gratitude, as well as two e-books geared towards teaching writers how to self-publish their books.
Now residing in Phoenix, Arizona, Hernandez has become a world-renowned, best-selling, award-winning author.
When trying to get published through a traditional publishing company, Hernandez understood that oftentimes the authors will get rejected multiple times.
Beyond being a self-published author in her own right, Hernandez also wanted to help other interested authors go through the process.
In 2015, she started providing one-on-one coaching and consulting to authors and writers who were interested in the self-publishing process.
Four years later in 2019, she officially launched The Book Publishing Academy.
“I’m not a book publishing company, so I don’t take royalties from the authors,” she said. “But I offer coaching and I teach people the full publishing process so that they can do it themselves.”
Through her academy, Hernandez helps three types of clientele — authors who have an idea but have yet to begin writing, those who have begun writing but need help with the next steps, and already-published authors who need coaching on how to market their book and build their brand as an author.
She noted that the self-publishing process may not be for everyone, as a self-published author is also in charge of being the face of their brand, and must also handle the marketing, advertising, sales, pitching and other components.
“But the beauty of it is that you get full control over everything that you do,” she added.
While her own journey has featured many challenges, Hernandez feels she has now reached a point where she no longer has to prove herself, and she can share the things she has learned with other writers.
“I think at the beginning, a person can get overwhelmed because they have an idea or they might have a lot of ideas, but they don’t know what they’re supposed to do with it,” she said.
She advises aspiring writers and authors to create an outline and jot down the ideas they would like to write about, choose a topic and then go from there.
“This process is not easy, it can be tedious [and] there’s a lot that goes into it,” Hernandez added. “So you want to make sure that you are providing the best quality and you’re servicing your readers the best that you can, so you want to do it in the right way.”