• Agora

The Self-Publishing Journey of a High School Student.

by Miriam Fernandez

Hey there! I’m Miriam Fernandez, I’m a high school student, and I recently self-published my first novel, Heir of Maiora. It's a YA fantasy/sci-fi book that follows the life of Genevieve, a teenage girl who discovers that she is the heir to a fallen country and must accept the responsibilities that come with this title before the Shapeshifters capture her. I began writing in the summer of 2020 and published my book in late September 2021. My entire writing and publishing journey took about 15 months and I’m so grateful for all the support I received.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading; I spent my childhood reading book after book underneath the afternoon sun and would write stories in several notebooks. However, once I entered middle school, I focused solely on my academics and left writing aside. Although I still read, writing became a part of my past and I didn’t even think about writing again until I got to high school. Inspired by Ariana Tosado, a seventeen-year-old author at the time, I began writing in the summer of 2020, focusing once again on writing and dreaming of becoming published one day. Five months and 88,000 words later, I finished the first draft and reached out to a few teachers who would become my Alpha Readers, or the people who read my first draft.

Once my alpha readers finished, I incorporated the feedback they gave me and worked on the second draft. From this point on, I reached out to several Beta Readers, readers who read my story after it had been through a few edits, and wrote a few more drafts. I had about two beta readers read each draft and had four drafts in total. Once all my beta readers finished reading, I worked on editing for more than a month.

While I was editing and researching cover designers, I also began reaching out to authors and young writers on social media. I connected with lots of young authors and asked them for tips and advice, which greatly helped me in my writing. In the spring, I reached out to Dani Coronado, a talented cover designer and a great writer who designed the cover for my book. Once I finished editing, Ariana Tosado copy-edited and formatted my book in the summer of 2021. The last part of my publishing process was getting a proof copy and then publishing my book.

Since this was my first time publishing, I spent a long time researching self-publishing and traditional publishing, but ultimately, I decided to self-publish with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on Amazon. Connecting with writers, artists, and young authors in the writing community is something that I’m so thankful for because there’s so much motivation and appreciation that comes from being a part of the writing community. I constantly felt inspired by everyone and it’s such an amazing community.

For any aspiring authors, I would recommend reaching out to other writers and young authors and researching information about publishing, cover design, editing, etc. Keep writing, keep dreaming, and don’t forget that there’s a community of writers supporting you! Thank you for taking the time to read this!

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