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My #1 Regret from Publishing Young

by Kellyn Roth |
October 19, 2019

As you all know, I published The Dressmaker’s Secret back in January 2016 when I was only fifteen years old. While I’m not the youngest person to ever published, that was still young by most standards, and … it was a mistake.

I don’t say that lightly. I’ve weighed the pros and cons, and I truly believe I should have waited at least a year if not longer to figure things out. (Of course, that would be if I knew the right things to do, which I didn’t.)

So let’s talk about my #1 regret from publishing young.

I regret that I didn’t put my best work out.

But it’s more than that.

I regret that people had to read a sub-par novel.

I regret that some people, perhaps younger or less experienced writers, might have mistaken it for a good book. Perhaps they thought it was worth imitating or simply wasted their time when they could’ve been reading better books.

I regret any people who will have read The Dressmaker’s Secret and probably not been inspired to become a lifelong fan.

I regret the people who felt like they wasted time or money.

So yes, I regret a lot of facets about that one thing: the fact that my best work didn’t go before people the first time.

I think it’s very important to always do your best — “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23)

But …

That was then and this is now.

“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)

It’s not like this is an unfixable mistake. This January the 10th, the new version of The Dressmaker’s Secret will be releasing, and it’s looking pretty fly. ?

Regrets are only helpful when they teach us something — and we are able to move on to them to a better future in which we don’t repeat that same error (if possible).

I’m super excited to be sharing the new and improved The Dressmaker’s Secret. I’ve even made some investments I haven’t with the Kees & Colliers series to the same degree (professional editor, professional cover designer, professional ISBN), and I’m putting some money behind the book launch.

Basically, I am learning from my mistakes. I am trying to do better.

And yes, I still have that big regret. I shouldn’t have published that book! I was too young, too immature. I didn’t know a thing about marketing. I created a sub-par project, and I’ll always be sad I wasted so much time selling it.

But publishing young is not the end!

I’m really grateful I decided to pull all my books off Amazon and just redo it. It was a big scary step — especially since I’d done this with the first two Alice and Ivy books before — but I knew it had to happen.

I’m very proud of the new covers, new formatting, and new editing. I’m really grateful for all the help different people have offered me as I tried to figure out how to pull this relaunch off. (Especially the people — my editor, cover designer, friends, family … so thankful for them.)

And that’s my way of announcing … I’m looking for people to help me get the word out about The Dressmaker’s Secret’s launch!

Specifically I’m looking for reviewers who would be willing to share reviews of this novel in the month of January (no specific date, no specific platform).

The book will go out on November 10th, so you’ll have over two months (depending on when you decide to post it) to read the novel and get your review ready.

But how do you sign up?

Simply click the link below and fill out the form:


I hope you’re able to join me in launching this novel! Even if you’ve read it before, just know … her secret is not what you remember. ?


~Kellyn Roth~


Would you like to be a reviewer for The Dressmaker’s Secret? ? All self-promo aside, thoughts on this post? I didn’t have a ton to say, but I still felt it was important to say as I go into this new launch. Do you have any major regrets? And have you learned to let go of them? (Also, what are your thoughts on publishing young?)


What do you think of my thoughts?

14 Responses

  1. Yo, don’t be sad forever. Look at Christopher Paolini, Eragon was his 16 yr old glory baby, and it was good, but it still had flaws. Just because over the years you’ve grown, you can write a better novel now, doesn’t actually mean the original was “terrible”. ♥

    1. I’m not really sad, haha – more like shaking my head amusedly at my young self. 😉 I really didn’t think, but I’m really glad I was able to improve and move forward! 🙂

  2. Great post! I completely agree with this. Publishing is exciting, but when you’re young, it’s easy to get so caught up in the excitement that you don’t really think through all the implications. I’m not at all proud of the first book I published, but I’ve learned from that and am trying to do better with all future books.
    I read the original “The Dressmaker’s Secret”, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what changes you’ve made! Don’t ever stop writing! 😀

    1. Exactly! It’s exciting – and it’s so easy to not take it seriously when you’re young and don’t understand the problems it could cause for your future career as a writer, etc. You want to start as you continue on – and though that isn’t always possible, and mistakes can be corrected, it is a shame that so many people get caught up in the indie publishing excitement and forget about quality, about patience, etc.

      … But I digress. 😛

      Aww, thank you! The original was definitely … different. 😉 It’s fun to see the changes, though – I’m glad I decided to redo it!

      1. Yes, exactly! There are so many good stories that are published, but if the authors had taken a little more time to edit and whatnot, they could have been even better! Basically, patience is very much a virtue in the publishing field.

  3. I’m really thankful I didn’t know enough to do more than print way too many copies of my first novel, because otherwise… ? Yeah, I’m glad that wasn’t my debut to the indie author world. And I’m always talking about going back through and rewriting it, but we’ll see when that’ll happen. ?

    1. Haha! Yeah, I’m glad my earlier novels didn’t get a lot of reads. It was really just a few – not a lot – which turns out was a good thing even if at the time I was like, “Hey, why don’t people buy this masterpiece?” 😉

  4. Fabulous post! I totally see what you mean; I want to wait for my writing to grow a little more before pursuing publishing. We’re still young yet, after all. We’ve got years to polish and hone our writing skills, God willing ? All that aside… I signed up to ARC-read the new release and. I. Can’t. Wait ?

    1. Right! We all totally have all the time in the world; it’s not like there’s any rush. Waiting for the right time is more important than anything!

      Thank you! 😀 I’m so grateful for all the people that signed up for the ARC.

  5. I’d argue that you probably put your best work out for someone entering their freshman year of high school. As a child you don’t know much and are still figuring things out. You’re probably regretting it because you’re much older and looking back you’re probably thinking “why didn’t I do this or change this?” Yet all writers struggle because it’s not just the writing itself, along with grammar, paragraph structure, etc., it’s also knowing how to market your writing and knowing how to write for others and not just yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

    1. Well, I was regretting it the day I did it, so that’s not entirely true. 😉 It was very stressful, and I still hold to the take that a fifteen-year-old shouldn’t be publishing a book, let alone with no guidance. Did I know any better? No. And am I glad for the early start, even if it required spending many years of my future career fixing the issues? Of course – it’s a blessing to get to enter the publishing field that young, and many people are not afforded that opportunity. Young people can do many amazing things – and writing excellent novels is one of them. However, I want to always make it clear when I discuss having published young (as I did in this post that was published nearly five years ago) that it’s not usually ideal, nor recommended, and that there are a lot of very good reasons why publishing a novel as a fifteen-year-old (or having a public platform, period) is not a great idea. That said, of course things are a little different now than they were back then (such as it is – it wasn’t that long ago lol) in the indie community and in the book publishing world in general.

What do you think of my thoughts?

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