Avyan is a young writer, 10 years old in fact. Yet, he’s an experienced author that has written a non-fiction book for that his fellow classmates enjoy. As a bonus, Avyan donates his profit to his school.
Stephen: today on Discover Wordsmith, I have a very special guest. This is Avian and he is 10 years old right now, but wrote his first book when he was six. Avian. How are you doing today?
I think I was like
Stephen: or something. Yeah. Oh, you were eight. Okay. So you were eight still. There’s a lot of people my age that are trying to get one book published and with them, this is Mom Monica. So welcome you guys to Discover Wordsmith. How’s everything going today?
Monica: Going good. And thanks for inviting us for
Yeah, absolutely. I think this is great. I, one of the things I like to do is, Highlight young people and kids doing these types of things, because I know there are parents out there who don’t understand that kids can do this stuff in today’s world. And I think we limit our kids sometimes because the parents don’t understand what all can be done.
So I think this is great. So Ian you’re 10 years old now, correct. So I assume writing books is not your full-time job. What are some things you like to do besides write? I.
Avyan: The first thing that I don’t have a full-time
Stephen: job. You don’t, not next year. You’re getting one next year I think.
I don’t know. Okay. Alright. So what do you,
Avyan: What do you I like reading and I like space and like mysteries. Space mysteries, that kind of thing.
Stephen: Nice. And
Avyan: I do also, I play piano and ty, I do TaeKwonDo since five years.
Stephen: Both. Wow. So you’re busy. Yeah. I, TaeKwonDo, I have a cousin who did TaeKwonDo.
I did a style of martial arts called Kwan. It’s Korean. So I, I love martial arts. I think that’s great. My kids both did it for many years. Oh, okay. When they were your age. So we’ll talk about some of the things you like to read but you play music and martial arts and you so I think that’s great.
Active kid. That’s wonderful. Yeah.
Avyan: I also like basketball.
Stephen: Oh nice. Are you tall enough to play basketball? Cuz I wasn’t. Yes.
Monica: Nice. He’s quite tall for his age.
Stephen: Good. Yeah. Hopefully you’ll stay that way cuz I played a little basketball in sixth grade and by the time I was in eighth grade, everybody else had grown and I hadn’t, so I stopped playing basketball.
Abian, you wrote a book called True or False a couple years ago, and you wanted to donate the money to charity. First of all, tell us why did, what’s, what is the book about and why did you wanna write it? So the book was
Avyan: actually a school project. My teacher, like my gifted teacher she had this project like for me and my friend who was also in gifted to write this book.
And she gave a couple of genres to just get us started let’s say like nonfiction or fiction or realistic fiction, like the true or false type nonfiction, which I selected. And then there’s app called Book Creator. She gave me a this account for it and book creator like help me like.
Make the book itself. And then for the publishing part, my parents like just got this idea for the publishing and then they
Stephen: published it
Avyan: and then we just decided that we would donate the money to charity.
Stephen: And what charity are you donating the money to? So
Avyan: Most of it went to my school. Nice.
And the other part of it went to the American Heart Association.
Stephen: Nice. Good choices. It’s always good to help out the schools. I love, doing what I can to help schools and education myself. So
Monica: that’s what like the Stephen, we thought because this whole book thing started with the book project.
And so it came from the school. The whole thing started because of him being in the gifted class and doing the school project. So we thought, okay, what’s the better idea? Like the school to start with, the school something, what teaches us he’s being in the school whole time and to start learning to give the community back.
It’s something, school is the first priority to start with.
Stephen: Nice. Yeah, I love that. And I love that your gifted program is pushing a little bit to do projects like that. My son, when he was first in the gifted program, the most they did was play the Blockers game, which I don’t know if you’re familiar with, but that was like what they pushed him at and it was like not a whole lot.
So I think it’s great they’re doing that. And it’s great that your parents were involved because. Being a kid, it’s hard to get published by yourself. You can’t open the accounts that are needed to any other kids. And I like pushing this out and talking to other kids about kids that are writing.
That is one thing you need parents for. Yeah. And the parents get an education learning how to publish because their kid did it. So tell us, what is the book about Avian? So the
Avyan: book is about So my genre is like true or false. And I picked the human body, like why I picked that. Like I’m interested in like space and life and that kind of thing.
I was already doing a space project that time, so I just selected the human body and it’s about the facts that you didn’t like. I didn’t know, like that kind of thing. Ok. Like interesting facts about the human body and it’s like a true or false type thing. So first it’s like true or false, let’s say the skin is on organ of the human body and then they have to readers have to guess like true or false.
Then on the next page, it’s like they give the answer like, true it is, and then some. Stuff about it. Nice.
Stephen: And then same thing, I had 11 facts or something. Oh, ok. Facts. Nice. I love that cuz when I was a kid that’s the type of book I would’ve read, cover to cover several times. So I think it’s great that you’re opening that up for lots of other kids.
So what was it like coming up with all the true false questions and how did you do that?
Avyan: So first I just typed like human body and the internet and it was hard to come. Going to those websites where there’s this interesting facts in it, like most of them like had facts like I already knew, and most people would know about that.
So I, I would get about one or two facts from each website that actually has the interesting facts.
Stephen: Nice. Okay, good. Hey, in September at the rg, I’ll introduce you to my son. We gotta remember, you need to ask him his elephant story. He’s got a really good elephant reading book story that I think you’ll love.
When I see you in September, we’ll make sure and ask Colin that, okay? Yeah. All right. So you wrote this book. Do you have any plans for another book? Another book? Yeah. I’ve started. Nice.
Avyan: I. I don’t want to reveal what’s it
Stephen: about. Okay, that’s fair.
Avyan: A surprise. So I’ve gotten like one fact or something down, like the Google slides where I made
Okay. So is this gonna be another true false or a different type of, that’s another true false. So it’s like the sequel book two. Oh, it’s same true and false. Avian has a second book false until he writes it. Yeah. Okay. What other books out there that are, that you can think of that are similar that you’ve read that maybe gave you inspiration to write this one?
Is there anything else you’ve read similar?
Avyan: The main thing I want, I selected just genre, is to try something new. Nice. I’ve seen other true false things, like true or false. A banana is purple. Like that kinda thing. So I decided to make one for like my age
Stephen: kids. Nice. Yeah and I love that the example you gave the about the skin because Yeah, that’s one I have in my book.
Yeah. I guarantee there’s a lot of people that don’t know that. Facts. Yeah. So it, I think there’s, and it’s great kids your age, love, knowledge and love to absorb it. Not necessarily school, but that’s two different things. Gaining knowledge is different than schooling. So giving them something that they can read like this and pass on, who knows?
Maybe somebody someday will go onto Jeopardy and say, yeah, I read that in Ian’s book back when I was in fifth grade. Oh, that would be cool. So what are your friends saying about your book?
Avyan: I shared it with my class in second grade. I think I did. And then my teachers bought it to support me and then they read it nice.
My relatives, I think, bought it too. So they were all like most of the facts my class didn’t know, like the most people who knew in fact were that skin one,
Avyan: that skin was an organ one. That was the one that, that was the fact that had the most kids know it.
Stephen: Okay. That’s cool. Did you made this one about the human body.
You don’t wanna give up what the other one’s about what, but can you give us a clue as the topic of true false questions? What I said earlier. Okay. All right. Okay. And do you have any intentions you wanna write some fiction some like space science fiction stories?
Avyan: That kinda of I would rather write non-fiction sort of things.
Ok. Than like the fiction science fiction. I like reading science fiction and like that kind of thing.
Stephen: There will be a gentleman at the author panel with us. His name is Bill Keith. He writes under the name Ian Douglas and everybody there knows him. We all know Bill but he writes science fiction.
And in fact, if you go to. Amazon and just look up Ian Douglas. You’ll see all his books. And then he also wrote some like Battle Tech books. If you know what Battle Tech is, the Fighting Robot game. So he will be there and he would probably love to talk with you about writing science fiction space stuff.
Avyan: So we published them on Amazon and then like recently, I just searched up my name on Google and it just came like Walmart. And then I just clicked on it, and then I saw that my book was also in Walmart for
Stephen: some reason. How’d that feel? Good? Yeah, it felt good. You felt like a superstar, didn’t you?
Avyan: of, yeah, like Walmart, like without us publishing it
Stephen: on Walmart. Because Amazon has an expanded distribution that they do for other stores. And just a little author secret. There’s a lot of authors that look themselves up just so they can see. How many stores their book is in. And they like to hit refresh.
They’ll sit there hitting refresh to see if they’ve made any sales. That’s a little author’s secret that many authors like to do. So
Avyan: shop popping up like it was another person with the same name as me.
Avyan: I don’t know what he did that made him appear in Google, but
Stephen: Hopefully he does not like stealing things and that he doesn’t, you don’t get mixed up with him. That’s like a, he’s the same age as
Avyan: me. Really? I think 10 years old, 11 years old,
Stephen: something like that. That is crazy. That’s pretty cool.
Maybe someday you can meet him. I’ve always wanted to meet one of the other people that was named the same as me. Just see that, say I did it so
Monica: he could sell he could sell so far almost one 50 books.
Stephen: Really? That’s pretty good. Congratulations. Because most books only sell about 200 copies is what the yeah.
Monica: That was right. Like on the, that’s been two years now. But I think in that first six, first three, four months itself he could sell one 50 books. And afterwards, as you said, like most seller cannot sell afterwards, so now it’s like kind of it had stopped. Yeah. But that was the initial,
Avyan: just like one or two books in the Sierra or something.
One time, like two years ago, there was this huge buying thing.
Stephen: That’s pretty cool. They might have done it for a school classroom or something. Yeah. Or some event. Finish your second book and put that one out. And I guarantee sales of the first book will pick up again. That you’ll make a few more based on someone buy looking and finding. The second one, it, it always happens.
You get a few sales of the first book.
Monica: It was for the charity, like the first book itself just was for charity. And so far we have told him like in future also for this particular book always will go towards the school charity and some portion in the Heart Association. So we are making him, making sure as he grows, he know that one particular book is always for the cherry.
That one particular book will be always for charity, not just the initial years.
Stephen: Nice. I like that. And one of the things I like to point out to parents is typically an author, they say it takes five to 10 years to get the skills of writing and the publishing and start getting books out there to start earning money off of your books.
And what I keep telling parents is, Kids can do that while they’re in school. They can get those 10 years of learning and practice out of the way. And by the time they’re 18 to 20, they’ve got several books they’re publishing. They know what to do and they hit the ground running. And I’m not saying every kid becomes a full-time author making a million dollars a year, but just by the time they’re 18 to 20, how many kids have a side business where they can earn money to, on their own before they’re even outta college?
Monica: Yeah. And in the principal and the school and everyone, they were so kind enough, like Principal actually helped to promote the book, like calling the local news company. Nice. And they interviewed him and they
Avyan: yeah, I think yeah, I did the interview in the school library in the morning when there’s no library class
Perfect. Perfect. So did they like show on the news? Did you get to watch yourself on the news?
Avyan: Yeah, my mom took a video of it because it was like at 5:00
Stephen: AM Of course, what parent wouldn’t do that? I’ve gotta get up tomorrow morning and see the news. That’s awesome. So you’ve all, you’ve got it for forever now.
So you have a website for your author’s stuff? No. If you get a website, you can put the video on there.
Avyan: Oh, okay. True fact.
Monica: Okay. That’s a good idea. Yeah. Thank you. And also because one of the thing to publish on the Amazon, that time was Covid actually. Yeah. The whole idea was just to somehow to do the charity work and they were learning in the school also about community and yeah, giving
The community. Yeah.
Monica: So then, so that’s the one thing we thought, okay, this will be a really good idea because in the social study they were learning about the community workers and those things. So practically to teach the kid it’s, it was just a project, but just, and the project was, I like, we felt it was quite impressive work he had done.
So let’s just convert into the book. If the covid was not there, how much time did it
Avyan: take? Couple days.
Monica: Yeah, a couple of weeks maybe I had to run through it. Yes. Yeah. But so if Covid was not there, maybe, I don’t know, we could have just printed some copies and then hand it over to people. But because of the covid, we wanted to avoid meeting in person.
And then even we thought, okay, if somebody is not in town and they want to buy the copies we got this idea about this. Self-publishing. So anybody who wants to like even the kids for kids, even if they’re making any stories they can even publish it. And then there are options, like you don’t have to even put just maybe minimum amount to sell the books or even the Kindle has, you can ask whoever has the Kindle, they can read it for free.
Those kind of options are there in Amazon. We just thought, okay we can at least have these things going on with the self-publishing because that was the best idea that
Stephen: time. Yeah. And I think it’s a great idea regardless because like I said, he’s 10 in eight. Or so years, he is gonna be outta school and he’ll already have an idea of how to publish a book, how to write a book.
And it, he could continue doing that. It and it, with today’s market, when Covid hit, so many people lost their jobs were outta work and they didn’t know what to do. Yeah. I still have
Avyan: my format. Of my first book. Yeah. But I can use that for my
Monica: second book. Yeah. So that, that is his plan as he is telling.
So he has that kind of a plan already. Like he wants to make the series of the same thing and then he Nice save the format. So he wants to continue having the same format.
Avyan: It’s a comic style. So I have all that kind of background in the. There’s no real images of my thing cause they’re all like scary.
I just clip. Cause one time when I was searching for an image of an eye, I forgot to put the word clip in there and
Stephen: staring at me. Yeah, I can understand that. But hey, that gives you a lot of choices of eyes.
Monica: Yeah. Yeah, so this is all about he figured it out. Okay. I want to go with the, all the clip parts. So he will search all the clip parts, make comic style, and I thought it’s a great idea because that’s what the kids like to See it not like a real things, but as a form of clip art.
And then he got the idea, like last two pages of the book, correct? He had, yeah, last two pages. That’s, he had put it as a kind of a game, like if you read the, to have the, that’s what he likes to do, word search and all those things. So he came up with the idea that once. All the kind of, the book is read all the 11 facts out of the book.
Then he has two activities for the kids. What he likes to do it. I think I
Avyan: have a word search
Stephen: and nice,
Avyan: Crossword, I think.
Monica: Nice. So based on the book itself, it’ll ask the questions and those
Stephen: things. So it’s a activity book all around very interactive. Yeah.
Monica: And also what, when you say what’s another plan actually he participated almost every year, like in the local W Q L N, like pbs, W Q L N they, there’s
Avyan: writer’s contest.
Yeah. Nice. So you just upload a book and there’s some criteria for words or something. So I always go over that criteria for the word count, right? I dunno, I’m just asking like, why don’t, why do they keep a maximum word count for some
Stephen: reason? Keep everybody on the same even keel. So every, it’s the playing field’s even for everybody.
So someone’s not writing this gargantuan novel and then everybody has to read it so they keep it, a certain word count and everybody has to write within those restrictions. And different genres. They try and keep within a certain word count too for those. So how’d you do for the contest?
Avyan: Yeah. So
Monica: last year like every, this year he did not win, but he I encourage him to irrespective of the winning or losing, like I just encourage him to participate. Yes. Because I feel like kids has so much imagination than adults. What we have, and this is
Avyan: a, yeah, I made a comic for this year.
I made this comic about traffic rules.
Stephen: Oh, nice. Okay.
Monica: And that’s where Stefan, like when you were asking him about the book, like we asked the wq, l n like whatever the story he has submitted so far, because he’s been participating since four five years. Actually every year he has participated so with respect to the age at least a small story he has created.
And I asked them like whether is there any restriction from their side if you wanna publish that story as a book in his own handwriting. So whatever he has written in the handwritings and pictures that will just go as. As a Kindle book or something like that to read it for free.
That’s okay. At least it can reach out to more people or more kids. Read and they said, yeah, they don’t have any restrictions. So probably that’s another plan, whatever those stories to come as a book.
Stephen: Nice. Okay. Mentioned. For the author table, author panel in September, you can go into your dashboard on Amazon and order author copies.
And if you’re selling it for $10, the author copy is gonna be like $4. Yes. So you can order 10 of those, sell ’em at the table. And that’s something the other authors are gonna be doing too, okay. Thank you. Encourage you. Yeah. Ian what are some of your favorite books that you like to read?
Avyan: There’s this book I forgot the title, but it was this book you have to read the first couple of pages and then this gives you a choice like I don’t remember the title, but 59 Clue. No, it wasn’t 59 clues. So they give you an option, like if you wanna do this or if you wanna do this if you wanna do like option one, then you go to this
Stephen: page, like a chew drone adventure book.
Avyan: And I’ve read it a couple times doing it the different ways, like there’s all different ways figured out. Most of the ways to get to the. It’s always like this mystery and this, oh yeah, I remember it was case closed. That was the title of
Stephen: the book. Okay, nice. I used to love those when I was a kid.
All that. Choose your own adventure books.
Avyan: Yeah, so it was like mom, and then the kids wanted to help with the detective, and then the kids only solve it.
Stephen: Of course, like if you
Avyan: choose the wrong path, then it would just give you like a page, and then it would say case closed. That means you failed. Then you have
Stephen: bank, and then you go back and you just try a different path.
Avyan: because I always keep my finger in the page where I read shit so I don’t have to find that
Stephen: page can. And after you do it a couple times the first couple pages, cuz it’s all the, background stuff and it’s okay, I don’t need to read that again. I’ve read it five times, just jump to the first choice.
All what would you say to any parents or teachers or other kids out there? If they said why would I wanna get a book that was written by an eight year old? What would you tell ’em?
Avyan: I would say that’s a book quite written by an eight year old, and it’s I would say that it’s has like interesting facts and like that kind of thing.
And it has some activities at the end if the kids only want to, if the kids want to do the activities like I don’t think like younger kids could do the activities without reading the book first, because it’s like that kinda thing. It’s that kinda tricky thing that goes along with every question in the book, like true or false question in the book.
Stephen: Nice. Nice. That’s good. And that’s good to have a good answer with why people would wanna read your book because if you do any other you might have got asked something very similar for the news interview. It’s a very common thing, so it’s something to practice as you do more books and get out there.
So I do wanna ask you a couple author writing questions. You mentioned that you used an app called Book Creator. I haven’t heard of that one. Can you tell me about it? So
Avyan: Book Creator, it’s logo is this Rainbow Square with the book inside and there’s this pencil inside the book. It’s the book, and the pencil is white.
So it’s like when you go into book Creator, there’s this, someone has to give you an account. It’s a, that like, not an account, but like a code. It’s
Monica: mainly with the people. Yeah. It’s mainly from the, I think from the school or educators.
Avyan: I, yeah, like that, like my teacher my class teacher has given me our class A code for book creator to nice.
Just make some books in there that, like most of the books in there, like they can’t be published or Jerry gets a home. Like that kind of type thing? Yeah,
Monica: It’s mainly to mainly for kids to encourage the kids to I think the educators use that platform to show kids how to make the books and learning process for the kids in a fun way.
And where they can create their own any, they can, I think, scribble and draw their own thing and even the find the find the pictures, which is like a copyright free pictures. So kids, they don’t have to worry about whether
Avyan: can take it from me. If you go in the book creator and then take some pictures from, it’s.
Nice. So it’s creators like if multiple people have access to that code and join that class, they can go in one book at the same time and edit in the same time.
Stephen: Nice. Okay.
Avyan: Slides. You can add how many slides. If you print it, it’ll be pages. So you can just add and do whatever you want on the slides.
Nice. Take a picture of your own like self. If you are doing something with your book, then you can take a picture of your book
Stephen: A and then it allows you to export it in a format that you can upload to Amazon or elsewhere.
Avyan: I think like you can download
Monica: it, I think. Yeah, you can download it. And then what I felt like, I thought it’ll be easy and just upload it.
But then I think I learned it. It had, Amazon had several other formats and other things, so I went through the YouTube videos about how to learn and like how to publish it. Ended up being Separating the pages and then going with the, because Amazon is very particular about the margin and those kind of things, right?
So they had to make sure that those things does not cut off from that. So just resizing those things in that and I think Amazon has the. The formatted slides also available, so we can just insert his work into that. And then it was easier
Stephen: Nice. Okay. And you decided to write a book, but mom got the education in publishing.
But that’s good too. That, that might be something too at the author panel you could help answer some questions about that. Cause I, that idea, the author panel that in September is everybody that comes to our talk. Is gonna be able to ask questions. I’m gonna have some prepared questions to get things rolling, and then we’re gonna open it to the audience and see what we go get.
So who knows what an, what questions we’ll get. Yeah,
Monica: and I think this is, because right now the whole idea is not like a doing as a professional writer. And those things I think with the, what I, I. Felt during that like learning about the self-publishing was if it’s for any professional writers, I thought they are mainly writing and maybe the illustration and those things somebody else will be doing to help them look more professional.
But here it’s just to promote his creativity. Again, when I said like the W Ql N story probably will be just putting it out there in his own handwriting. So Ill be just publishing in the comic.
Avyan: Yeah. I made in my Chromebook. Then it would That same thing,
Stephen: and Amazon does have a comic creator publisher too, you’d probably have to search for it, but it allows you to publish comics through Amazon also.
Nice. Good to know.
Stephen: Yeah. Something to look for.
Monica: Yeah that one thing, right? This year he has created this comic. What he’s what Avi was talking that is something he did it in on his Chromebook. So that’s something he came up with the idea that, okay, I want to create a comic this year.
I’m like, go ahead.
Stephen: Nice. Awesome. It I went through the same thing, having gifted kids and you’re constantly trying to do things that challenge them, that they’re interested in and their interests. Change sometimes and bop all over the place that you get to the point it’s yeah, just go do it.
Don’t you know, you don’t have to debate about it. Just go figure something out and do it and encourage them to just. Try things. My daughter must have tried 20 different things growing up got interested in it, went for a while and changed to something else, so yeah, I think that’s great that you’re doing that and especially because it’s writing, cuz I think that’s something that can benefit people throughout their whole lives, so yeah.
Avyan: And the
Monica: same thing, like what we feel like me and my husband, we always feel and we tell that because if. Then you learn something. Even like participating somewhere in the writing or even like when he created book there is nothing wrong or right. When you don’t do anything you don’t have that thing.
But at the end of you start something, you get something new, you learn the process and there is some new creation is there. So always just try something new. And that actually even keeps him busy and active and they like it.
Stephen: Yes. Yes. I love that. And you play basketball and TaeKwonDo and take piano.
I think that’s wonderful. I played piano when I was younger and I still played music. It, it lasts through throughout your life. Yeah,
Monica: that’s so true. And it helps them, I feel the music, it’s a calm therapy also. And TaeKwonDo, he’s a second degree black belt, so he’s going towards his third degree right
Much better than me. I only made first degree black belting Kwan. So you’re higher than me. Yeah. So I won’t mess with you when I see ya. I wouldn’t want the 10 year old to, to put me on my butt. Alright. Monica and Ian, it’s really been great talking to you guys. I’m so glad we got in touch with each other and I so look forward to us meeting in a couple months.
Monica: Yeah. Mansa thing is in September. That’s what
Stephen: he’s been talking. Yes. And this episode, it’ll be a couple weeks. I’ve got a couple in the queue ahead of you, but as soon as it goes live, I’ll send you links and everything and let you know all about where to listen to it. Thank
Monica: you so much, Stephan, because we never knew about it.
It was a pleasant surprise, like seeing your email because it’s been two years and suddenly the email popped out and we were like, okay, is this really true? I went back to the chain of the emails how you figured it out and reached out to us for the podcast. So it was a good experience for him.
Stephen: Yeah I think this is great. I’m really excited about the whole thing and I really excited to get you guys involved with Mensa, cuz I think you’ll really love it and it’ll be a good time. And that RG is a great one to go to. It’s one of my favorites, great. Folks, I appreciate you taking some time in the evening and thanks Ian.
You keep writing. I wanna hear an update in September.
Monica: We’ll in September then? Yes.