Center Hill student becomes published author
Center Hill High School student Zoe Harris has already become a published author at the age of 15.
Harris’ book, “The Bookposal”, follows the story of two teenagers working in a book store in Memphis. The characters connect through writing book notes anonymously.
“It’s based in Memphis, Tennessee,” Harris said. “It’s about two teenagers that meet in a bookstore that the main character is working at. They meet through book notes, and overtime a friendship grows through the book notes. After they meet each other, they realize that they actually know each other already. A small romance is sparked through that. As the title suggests, there is a proposal at the end.”
Harris said the book follows the characters through several pivotal points in their lives and relationship.
“You follow the characters throughout their high school years and their relationship,” Harris said. “You’re really able to connect with the characters through some of the hardships that they have, and the story continues a little bit into their college years.”
After a history of starting and scrapping ideas, Harris said she made the decision to stick to the project after finding a writing prompt during her biology class last year.
“I’ve always enjoyed writing,” Harris said. “In the middle of biology class in 2021, I found a random writing prompt online, and I got started on it. Instead of stopping like I usually did with my works of progress, I realized that I was actually liking how it was looking. I had set a goal of publishing a novel the year before, so I went ahead and continued on with it. And, here it is now, completely published.”
The next step for Harris was looking for a publisher and planning the release of the book. She said she did run into some issues with cover art, but she is pleased with the final product.
“It took a lot of planning,” Harris said. “I wrote for 10 or 11 months. Chapters could be hard to write at times, but I stuck with it. One setback that I experienced was that I originally had a completely different illustrator for the cover art. She ended up going offline, and I wasn’t able to use her work. I had to find someone else, and that frustrated me, but the art I ended up with is amazing and I wouldn’t change anything.”
After doing some research through social media, Harris landed on Amazon as a publisher.
“I originally didn’t realize that Amazon could publish a book for you,” Harris said. “I follow several writers on Instagram, and one in particular posted and mentioned that she used Kindle Direct Club for publishing her latest novel. I contacted her, and she let me know the details. We confirmed everything with them and it was really easy.”
Harris said marketing has been a challenge for her, but she has been able to get the word out about her novel at book signings.
“One thing that I’ve definitely realized that is very difficult is marketing,” Harris said. “If you want to work on it yourself rather than hiring a whole team, it’s going to take some work. I did recently get to connect with some readers at my latest book signing, and it was amazing. I love meeting new people that are interested in my writing. I have an upcoming book signing on the fifteenth. All of the reactions that I’ve received so far have been positive.”
Zoe’s father, Richard Harris, said the journey of publishing “The Bookposal” has been fulfilling to be involved in as a parent.
“It’s been incredible,” Richard said. “Her mom and I have always known that she was interested in writing, and she spends a ton of free time reading and writing. She came to me in September or October of last year and told me she was ready to publish her book. As a father, I was like ‘ok, cool let’s get things worked out.’ She had already picked out an editor and set up meetings and everything.”
Richard said he didn’t originally know what to expect when Zoe finished her book, but he quickly realized how determined she was.
“When she sent me the transcript, and it was over 400 pages, my wife and I were taken back a little bit at how hard she had worked on this,” Richard said. “As a parent, you commit all the way when you see that your child is passionate about something and they’ve taken the initiative to do it. We’ve gotten it copyrighted and published. Now, our goal is to try to market this thing the right way and let her book tell the story.”
Harris said she encourages anyone that may have a dream that they’re afraid to chase to go for it. She was recently promoted on Good Reads, a popular book review app, from a reader to an author.
“My advice to everyone that’s on the fence about stepping outside of their comfort zone is to go ahead and do it,” Harris said. “In the beginning of 2020, I made my Good Reads account as a normal member reading and reviewing books. Now, I have a checkmark by my name that I’m an author, and it’s insane. I was just an ordinary reader that used any platform I could to write, and now, I’m a published writer.”
As a sophomore in high school, Harris has a busy schedule, but she is already working on another project. She hopes to one day become a nurse and continue to write in her free time.
“I do intend to publish more books,” Harris said. “I do hope to become a nurse one day. One day when I retire, I could really see myself writing more regularly rather than just every once in a while. It’s definitely something that I’ll carry with me forever, and I do have another work in progress right now.”