You. A Published Author. Yes, You!

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins, Relate Contributing Writer


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Market guide. Literary Agent. Query. If these words confuse you but you would like to be a writer, they’re words to familiarize yourself with. These are the gates into the publishing world, and every writer who’s peeked inside understands them and how they will help.

In Tina P. Schwartz’s new book Writing and Publishing: The Ultimate Teen Guide (It Happened to Me), you will not only get a better understanding of what these words mean, but you will get a new perspective of what it means to be a writer who could potentially see her words in print. The book addresses many careers where writers can utilize their talents including advertising and even songwriting.

Learn how to submit your work to magazines and agents, and see what colleges and courses of study she recommends. She also gives advice about critique groups and how to avoid every writer’s pitfalls such as distractions, writer’s block and isolation. And she sought out answers from other writers who were published when they were teens, the advice that matters the most because they’ve been where you are right now.

Tina graduated from Columbia College and has a BA in Marketing Communications. Besides marketing, she has not only been a freelancer but a librarian, as well. She has also written books on motorcross freestyle (she describes herself as a tomboy and enjoys extreme sports) and organ transplants.

“I wrote this book,” Tina says, “to encourage them [writers] and to serve as a reference. It answers their questions in a way that is simple and easy to understand.”

This book can be found at and It is published by Scarecrow press and costs $42.00, but Amazon will often provide books for a cheaper price so keep checking their site.

There is more to being a writer than just writing, and this book gives you a lot to think about and consider. Check out Tina’s interview that follows!


Tina P. Schwartz, author of Writing and Publishing: The Ultimate Teen Guide answered a few questions about writing and her new book.  Not all of her responses were expected, but each one was honest and thought-provoking.  Writing is part of everyday life for most of us, and Tina has great perspective on what can be a difficult task for many but what can become a joy for us all. 

Relate:  Give us two reasons why young writers should read your book. 

TINA:  First, there are SO many things young people can do with their writing talents.  There are an abundance of careers they can choose, and my book takes a good look at the many options available to people who want to turn their talents into a career.  Secondly, basics are discussed with writing exercises, along with many “how-to’s” on basic writing and professional writing (such as query letters, etc.).  I hope this book includes everything from how to write a journal, to a short story or article, to an entire book…then what to do with your finished piece to get it published. 

Relate In one sentence, what is the best advice you could give to an aspiring author? 

TINA:  Read and write EVERY day . . . train like an athlete, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day to start. 

Relate What is the best question you’ve ever been asked about writing and what is your response? 

TINA:  “As a kid, were you a bookworm?”  My answer was “no.”  I didn’t really like reading as a child, and even now, I’m a picky/reluctant reader.  I read EVERY day and love it now, but am very selective about the things I read…that’s why I wanted to write.  I wanted to create something that would make people LIKE to read, who normally didn’t enjoy it.  

RTell me about your first rejection and what you learned from it.  How about your first acceptance? 

T:  I was actually very excited by my first rejection.  It made me feel like a professional writer finally.  To know that an actual editor had read my stuff validated me.  I was finally in the “club” of writers…after all, my favorites like Stephen King and S.E. Hinton had received hundreds of rejections, and now I had something they had, too. 

My first acceptance was amazing!  I received word via e-mail, and it was late at night when my family was sleeping, so I was dancing around the room with my dog, then finally called my mom and woke her up.  I had to tell SOMEONE the great news! 

RWhat inspires you to write and what motivated you to write this book? 

T:  My biggest motivation to write is to get those reluctant readers to pick up a book and enjoy the experience from cover to cover.  I remember what a chore reading was as a kid, and if I had learned to like reading earlier, it would have made everything in life from school to work much easier.  I love reading now, and once I find a good book, I’ll push aside almost everything to finish it in one sitting if I’m able!  That’s how “hooked” I get. 

As far as motivation to write this book, I tried to write a book that will help readers and writers of any age.  Writing is such a giving experience, it’s cathartic and a joy.  I want anyone with an inkling of motivation to experience what writing can give to a person.  It’s a very satisfying thing to see something you create in your mind and heart being read and then discussed with someone, and hearing his/her interpretations and thoughts, and what it meant to him/her. 

RFor you, what is the most difficult part about being a writer?  The most rewarding? 

T:  The most difficult part is the isolation of the job.  I spend most of my writing time alone late at night at a local coffee shop, or up in my office when everyone in my house is sleeping.  (That’s why I stress the importance of critique groups in my book so you can have feedback and camaraderie.) 

The most rewarding is to receive a note, email or letter from someone who read your work, and was genuinely touched or inspired.  I wrote about organ transplants after my father received a liver transplant, and the letters I received touched my heart and made the months and months of work really worth while.  The interaction with the readers is the most rewarding part, I’d say. 

Be sure to pick up a copy of  WRITING AND PUBLISHING:  The Ultimate Teen Guide or check it out at your local public library.  It just might encourage you to go down a path you hadn’t yet considered or might give you the extra motivation to submit for the first time when you weren’t sure how to do it.  And if you’ve read the book, let us know your thoughts!