“Don’t be nervous. It’s only a few thousand listeners,” said WGN’s Steve Cochran. I smiled apprehensively, my heart pounding. I sat in the chair opposite Steve in the studio while spectators outside pressed their noses against the windows to get a glimpse.
Countless people told me this day wasn’t possible; they said real authors aren’t 15-year-olds and that my story wasn’t good enough. I knew that I could only rely on one person to make this happen: me. Self-publishing was a great option to make my book a reality in a world that doubted my abilities. After two months of reading, writing and revising the manuscript, it was finally ready for publication. I remember coming home from school and seeing a brown box on the kitchen table. Mom was ecstatic, but it just didn’t seem real to me. I tore open the box to see five copies of my finished book. Thick staples had held together the stories I used to create when I was three, the ones Mom would “publish” for me. This time, it wasn’t staples, it was real. That day began my official journey as an author but I hungered for more than just a published book.
I didn’t have an agent or publicist. In fact, all I had was a royalty check for $15.54. I began emailing every newspaper I could think of and soon, I was featured in many but still wanted more publicity and so began writing radio stations. I was interviewed on two, but when I found out that I would be on WGN, I was at a loss for words.
Back in the studio, my fingers tingled in excitement and fear.
“Okay, everyone, in a few moments we will interview a teen author here in the studio! Our Cochran’s Kid of the Week!” Steve announced, then went back to his sports story.
Like the homemade books created with crayons and pencils that turned into professional pieces of art, I came out of my box the same day my books did. I metamorphosed from a shy, terrified girl filled with dreams to an outgoing, confident young lady who made her dreams a reality. Instead of being frightened, I relished the attention my work received.
“Are you ready to go on?” Steve asked. I snapped out of my daydream and twirled around in my chair.
I smiled and said, “Yes, I am.”
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.