Nexus Welcomes Guest Speaker: Author Kelly Long


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By: Cara McErlean

The intricate world of book publishing can be confusing to navigate, especially for young authors.

This Monday, February 22nd, author Kelly Long visited the young writers of Hershey High School’s literary and arts magazine, Nexus. Long, who has had about 50 books published with 20 best-sellers, shared her experience of working with some of the largest publishing groups in America. Long explained the strategies for book publishing, described life as a professional author, and encouraged student writers to continue with their work.

Long is the author of dozens of Amish-fiction novels; her most popular work is an Amish romance novel named Sarah’s Garden. Long has worked with two of the major American publishing groups: the Christian Publishers Association and the Association of American Publishers.

To begin her presentation, Long asked the students to answer a simple question on a slip of paper; what do you think is holding you back from being published? This evoked responses such as, “It costs too much money,” “I have too many ideas,” or “My writing isn’t good enough.”

Long has published more than 20 novels, most of which revolve around Amish culture. Long visited Hershey High School’s Nexus on Monday, February 22.

Long has published more than 20 novels, most of which revolve around Amish culture. Long visited Hershey High School’s Nexus on Monday, February 22.

Long then used these responses to dispel several myths about publishing. No matter how bad they believe their own writing is, Long said anyone can become published; it just takes perseverance.

“There are other people who may be better writers than me who are not published,” Long said, “The difference between me and them is that I just do it. I put myself out there.”

Long taught the Nexus students valuable skills for becoming published, such as how to write book pitches, develop characters, and gain professional contacts.

As a longtime veteran of the writing world, Long had personal experience to share with the aspiring authors. She described some of the tribulations that come with a writer’s lifestyle with what she calls HALT- an acronym for hungry, anxious, lonely, and tired. She said these are common issues for every author, but they can be avoided if you make the right connections.

This is the second time Long has visited Nexus. Echo Rogers, a junior at HHS and co-president of Nexus, is family friends with Long and invited her to Nexus to mentor young writers such as herself. “I’ve been trying to get published before going to college, and this was helpful to get my foot in the door,” Rogers said.