Meet Kaylee Duda: Teen Author Shares Her Publishing Journey, Writing Process, and Social Media SecretsRead Now
Interview conducted by Cailey Tin.
In today’s interview, I’m stoked to have Kaylee Duda with me! Kaylee is a teen author with three published books, and more to come! She frequently shares her writing through her TikTok, which has gained over seven thousand followers. We will discuss her creative writing process, how she markets her own books, and making a name for herself in the literary world.
Kaylee, you have published three books, but I’m assuming you’ve penned even more! Have you ever written something and thought, “if I could be known for any book, it would be this one”? Which book was it and what about it made you feel that way?
K: I’ve currently written seven books to date. My favorite one is Classified Gold which was finished a few months ago. I love the plot and the main character's development. I try to write what I want to read, and this book encompasses everything: adventure, romance, and crazy schemes. Currently, I’m looking for a [literary] agent to represent Classified Gold so I can get into a bigger publishing company.
Telling people that writing professionally is something you do, as a teen creative, will get some questionable, sometimes mean, remarks. How do you respond to these, and what keeps you going?
K: I tend not to tell everyone that I’m an author, but when I do, people tend to not believe me. They don’t understand the work I’ve put into writing my books and how much time I spend working on them. They can give me all the questioning looks they want though, because in the end my readers enjoy my books. I’m going to be proud of them; I’ve devoted years of my life to [writing] by now.
You published your debut novel, “My Only One” at a very young age, and what’s impressive is your dedication to stick to a project. What gave you the motivation to finish it, along with your other books?
K: My biggest motivator is thinking of the finished product. Whenever I start to get bored of a project or start to lose motivation, I imagine myself holding a finished copy in my hands with a beautiful cover, and of all the excitement I feel every time I have gotten a book published in the past.
What’s your favorite genre to write in? Would you keep writing genre-heavy books such as your Sci-Fi novel, Spray of Blood?
K: I think because I’m such a young author, I still have time to experiment with different genres. I will read almost any genre, so I think I’d be open to writing any type of book. I do love action though, so I’ll probably continue writing science fiction.
How do you juggle school and friendships, along with other extracurricular activities with writing?
K: I only tend to write during the weekends, so that I can keep my school life separate from my writing life. I try not to let them mix too often, so juggling isn’t a big problem for me.
What was the time you felt like you were meant to be a writer, such as for winning an award or getting recognized by your teachers?
K: I remember writing short stories as early as second grade. I don’t think I’ve had a specific event in my life which convinced me to be a writer, it just makes me happy and I want to make other people as happy as I am when writing.
Who’s your biggest writing inspiration when you began writing, and now? Or is it the same person? (This can be a popular author, a close friend, anyone!)
K: My biggest inspiration was my friends, they’ve given me a ton of support and are always interested in what I write. I don’t have a true idol at the moment; I’m not trying to live up to anyone else’s legacy or follow in their footsteps, since I’m trying to forge my path.
How did you navigate the book publishing process, with overwhelming things such as marketing involved? Was there anyone or any resource that helped you?
K: Marketing is the hardest part of having a published book, compared to writing. Cover formatting and marketing is such a struggle. I searched on Google a lot regarding how to market and I’m using social media platforms such as TikTok to find viewers interested in my novels. My editor and publisher has been a massive help throughout this process, too, always open to answering questions for me.
How do you stay consistent with social media posts, and how do you let it not affect your mental health, because it’s something so many teens like us face over the screen?
K: I hate to admit it, but I haven’t been keeping up with my social media posts and updates on my books recently. In the past, I’ve made multiple videos on the weekend or whenever I’ve had time and then posted them periodically throughout the week, trying to keep up. I’ve gotten hate comments, but a bunch of people enjoy my book, so if one person doesn’t, then there are other types of books they probably enjoy.
What’s your favorite book? (Or books, because I get it, sometimes it’s really hard to pick.)
K: I love almost every book I read. There’s a shorter list of books I don’t like. My all-time favorites are “The Cruel Prince” and “Red Queen.”
Which character from your Sci-Fi and fantasy book, Spray of Blood, do you resonate with the most?
K: I relate the most to Lola. She’s always trying to help people out, and of course, is a hopeless romantic.
Do you have any current projects that will be released soon, and how’s the progress going?
K: “Stars of Crimson and Indigo,” the second book to “Spray of Blood” is going through the first phases of editing at the moment, and will hopefully be released sometime within this year, so watch out for that! I’m super excited about it.
Where can our audience find you (social media, website, link to books, etc.)?
K: My TikTok account is @kaylee.theauthor and all of my books can be found on Amazon.
Lastly, what is the most valuable advice you could give to young writers and emerging authors?
K: The biggest advice I can give to anyone would be to make sure that you’re enjoying what you’re doing. If writing isn’t fun for you, don’t force yourself. Writing has always been a fun hobby for me, and I wouldn’t want it to be ruined from the stress of publishing or what other people have to say.
Connect with Kaylee Duda:
About Cailey Tin
Cailey Tin is an interview editor at Paper Crane Journal. She is also a columnist at Spiritus Mundi Review, the Incandescent Review, and the Trailblazer Review, under the pen name Cailey Tarriane. She has works published in Down in the Dirt and Green Ink Poetry anthologies, and on online publications such as Alien Magazine, Inflections, Fairfield Scribes, among others. Visit her Instagram @itscaileynotkylie.
Would you like to publish a guest column? Insert your email and we will contact you.