Guest writer: J Ayoola

Jokae Ayoola debut author with her picture book How We Love Our Hair

I’m delighted to welcome debut author J Ayoola to my blog as she launches her picture book How We Love Our Hair. Designed to inspire girls to enjoy and care for their afro hair, this fun, character-filled book with illustrations by designer Pelumi I is full of practical tips. Welcome to this little corner of the #WritersCafe!

What inspired your project?

The inspiration came from my personal experience with afro hair and the experiences of women around me. Often the struggle of not knowing how to care for afro-textured hair has created frustration for many with my hair type. So, I decided I wanted to write a book to educate little girls from a young age about afro hair care so they wouldn’t have to experience the same challenges. It is also a book for parents who have not yet got to grips with the fundamentals when it comes to healthy hair care practices.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was staying motivated. I have had some difficulties with health which have caused setbacks, but I soon realised that this project was just what I needed to take my mind off it all and keep going.

What’s your favourite aspect of the book?

That each character has their chapter with an educational theme running through it.

What have you learned along the way?

Perfectionism is good but can slow you down so at some point you have to let go and realise there will always be room for growth.

Top tips for debut writers?

  1. Build your audience, whether it’s creating posts or reposting posts for an audience on social media. Ask yourself, where do they hang out online? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or all three? Then join them and be a part of the fun, engage and build a mini-community. You will need their support when you launch.
  2. Seek out other self-publishers and find out what challenges they have and what tips and advice they can give you. Social media is an excellent place for this.
  3. Don’t forget to document or write down the steps you take along the way; this will make it easier for when you do future books. The same with expenses, keep a log and try to stick to a budget.

Order your copy

Having worked with Jokae as a Cornerstones mentor, I am delighted to see her project in print. How We Love Our Hair is available to order online. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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