To be completely honest, I never dreamed of becoming an author! When I was a child I wanted to be a marine biologist or, for a brief moment, a kindergarten teacher. The idea of becoming an author came about when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the United States and we were sent home from school indefinitely. When this happened, there was a sense of unrest, fear and confusion in the air. The adults in my world, including myself, had no idea what to make of things, so I couldn’t even IMAGINE how my first graders were feeling.
I started thinking, ‘what can I do to help my students?!’ I pondered all day. That evening my mom brilliantly suggested that I write a book! The following morning, I woke up and did just that. I wrote, illustrated and published “When Virona the Corona Came to Town” in less than a month. Usually it takes at least a year to bring a children’s book to fruition. However, I knew this was VERY time sensitive, so I worked on the book day and night for a few weeks to bring it to life!
I LOVED the entire process. Ok…admittedly there were times that I was frustrated and exhausted, but the process as a whole was very exciting and beautiful. It was extremely special to be able to illustrate my book as well! While writing, I was envisioning the story playing out in my mind, so being able to put it on paper for others to see was one of my favorite parts. I am very fortunate to have been given my mothers artistic talent, and, like my sister, I have always been very ELA minded so putting two things I love together and being able to share it with the world is something I could have never imagined.
Authors have a few options when it comes to publishing their book. There is the traditional publishing route, and then the world of self-publishing. I chose to start by self-publishing with Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The nice thing about self-publishing is that there is almost no wait time! I chose this route because, again, because my book was very time sensitive.
At 25 years old, this is the first book I have published. When I was writing the story, my mom asked me if I would be upset if it only sold copies to friends and family (I am lucky to have EXTREMELY supportive friends and family!) I hadn’t even thought about how the book would sell, but I decided in the moment that it would be fine either way. As long as it helps one child, it’s worth it – and life goes on, right?
Since publishing, I have been overwhelmed with positive responses and encouragement from friends, family and complete strangers! Hearing from my readers is one of the BEST parts about being an author! I have made so many connections with truly incredible people. My book, “When Virona the Corona Came to Town” has sold over 15,000 copies in 2 months and become an amazon best seller! I love that it is helping open up dialogue across the globe and helping children understand this very different time in history. I hope to write many more children’s books in the future!
When I’m not writing or teaching, I love to travel (especially overseas) and spend time with loved ones. Given the current status of the world, no one is able to do much traveling, but last summer I went to Egypt and Ethiopia with my family! Both countries were lively, inspiring, warm, and beautiful.
My advice to new writers would be to write about something you are passionate about. Lean on your friends and family members to read it over and give you suggestions. Believe in yourself. Don’t rush yourself, and last but definitely not least, HAVE FUN!!
By: Hailey Glynn