Katie Dwyer is a published author, but you won’t find her name among the bookshelves at the public library. This senior English major from Kalamazoo, Mich., is one of several Huntington University students who submitted her 30,000 word novella to Kindle Direct publishing, and it’s now available for purchase on Amazon.com.
Her novella, titled “One Year and Seven Months,” follows Eli Flynn through the aftermath of a tragic house fire during his first year of college. Portrayed primarily through the perspectives of Eli and his younger brother, Thomas, this journey tells the story of the sturdy and ultimately unwavering bond of two brothers.
The novella was an assignment for her creative fiction class. Write 30,000 words in 30 days, and submit it for publication. No big deal, right?
“It was a lot harder than I expected,” Dwyer said. “At first I was really excited to write that much, but it’s incredible how quickly you can fall behind. Towards the end I was writing 5,000 to 10,000 words a day just to catch up.”
She began writing zealously, spending three to four hours each day creating and evaluating 1,000 words of original content. But the process wasn’t without its roadblocks.
“There were days I wasn't writing a single word because I was intimidated at the prospect of getting to 1,000 again,” Dwyer admitted. She set up a meeting with her professor, Dr. Del Doughty, where he reminded her that she only had to write 30,000 words by the end of the month, and that they didn’t have to be the 30,000 words she would keep.
“After that, I started writing much more quickly, letting the words flow out organically and turn into something on their own,” Dwyer said.
But when writing was finished in early March, her work was still not complete. It was then time for editing where she meticulously criticized her own characters and plot for more than a month.
“I struggled throughout with feeling like my ideas were unoriginal,” she said. “I felt as though no matter what type of family I created the Flynns to be, they would feel like any other family that had similar characteristics”
But eventually, the manuscript met her satisfaction and she began the process of publishing her work. She began by filling out information on royalties and publishing territories, and anxiously submitted her manuscript as a Kindle Single (30,000 words or less) to Kindle Direct Publishing.
After it was accepted for publication, Dwyer spent a few weeks debating whether she wanted to promote its availability for purchase on Amazon.com, worrying that only three weeks of writing might not be conducive to quality plot development. However, she reconsidered after her friends and family reviewed it and responded with enthusiasm. It has sold 56 copies to date.
Dwyer has kept writing since her class ended, and wants to try publishing her work again. This time, it’s a compilation of more than 50 flash fiction stories, or self-contained works of fiction that are usually less than 1,000 words.
“Right now I’m waiting for Alli Dozet (fellow HU Student) to finish illustrating the cover,” she said. “I hope to publish it on Kindle and see where it goes from there.”
“One Year and Seven Months” and other titles written by Huntington University students can be purchased at Amazon.com for $1.99.
Discover what Huntington University can do for you.
Are you interested in an English degree from a Christian college? Tell us about your dreams and aspirations, and we'll respond immediately with a custom viewbook made just for you! Build one now!