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Let’s Talk Romance with Autumn Stone

Posted by Autumn Stone
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Do you remember when you started reading romance novels? I started reading romance young. I’m thinking around the age of 11 or 12. I would read my mom’s tattered Harlequins or pick up a book from the thrift store for .10 cents-the price that I could afford. There was something about romance that spoke to me. I loved the happily-ever-afters, but I especially loved how the couple got to the end of their story. Let’s Talk Romance with Autumn Stone will be a weekly show exploring romances that have people of color as at least one of their main leads, shouting out people of color who self-publish these works, and giving listeners and wanna-be authors a glimpse behind the scenes of what it takes to self-publish and win with characters of color.

*In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

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Show Notes

As a GenXer, I grew up reading a confusing mix of romances. Those were the days of V.C. Andrews and Harlequin. It would be many years before I would stumble upon books from other companies.

In my other life outside of writing romance, I talk about two very different topics. I have a website and podcast about personal finance and digital entrepreneurship. And, I run a website and podcast about Colorado. In fact, my pen name is a not so secret, secret because on my other platform I talk about how to make passive income with ebooks. However, there was a more nuanced and topic specific conversation that I wanted to have that wasn’t ideal for my other podcast audience.

So, I decided to create a podcast celebrating people of color in romance because there just aren’t enough spaces doing this and because I knew that I would consistently share my show.

Self-publishing, for me, has democratized the publishing process and has become the #1 place where I find books to read. What I love about self-publishing is that there is no gatekeeper between you and getting your story out into the world.

For so many years I would read romances but found that I couldn’t find books that imagined black women in the types of stories that I wanted to read. Self-publishing introduced me to characters that were bad ass underworld mafia bosses, witches who came into their magic unexpectedly, women of faith who celebrated that, fairies who lived in the land of the fae and attended an academy to learn more, or had a sexy reverse harem situation that gave them a “why choose” decision.

Self-publishing finally let authors choose their character’s adventure and gave the author’s audience the opportunity to say “yes” and I’m so here for it.

As for me, in 2018 I decided to write my first romance. To be honest, I needed something that was different from the personal finance content that I typically wrote. Also, I was looking for ways to make money leveraging writing as a skill and creating passive income because I was tired of freelance writing for bad clients. I wanted to wake up each day with some cash coming in from somewhere outside of me having to do something for other people on a daily basis.

So, I began working on my first series, The Destructive Love series. Like most first time fiction authors, I was afraid to go all in. I wish that my stories were actually a little more intense and raunchier. But, I am so glad that I took the risk because I started my writing journey and made thousands of dollars along the way. In fact, I’ve made almost $12,000 in the past couple of years publishing romances as a fun side-project. That money has paid my way out of bad freelancing projects, paid off debt, given me the opportunity to teach others how to write fiction and non-fiction, and helped me share stories featuring women like me in romance.

What I soon discovered was that my experience building an audience in the personal finance space was transferrable to any online space. I’d learned how market on a tight budget, SEO for organic search, how to leverage podcast interviews to grow a brand and more. So, Let’s Talk Romance with Autumn Stone was created specifically for those of you looking to grow romance brand.

I wanted to address the following questions through the shows that I shared.

  • Can you make money writing books with people of color as one or both of the main characters? Yes.
  • Is there a demand for stories that show these characters in genres that you typically haven’t been able to see them? Yes.
  • How to find an audience for your books and how that audience may be surprising to you.

I decided to create this show now because if I continued to wait for someone else to do it-I would be waiting forever. I’m so excited to share author interviews, useful tips, and all of the cool stories that I love to read across genres.

And, I needed an excuse to have these conversations with the amazing authors who bring some of my favorite characters and genres to life.

If you’re thinking about self-publishing your first book please do! I can’t wait to read your stories.

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