By TAYLOR HARTZ
When Samantha D’Angelo was a student at Strong Elementary School, her third-grade teacher, Ms. Sesek, noticed her talent for writing and encouraged her to pursue it.
In her three years as a John F. Kennedy Middle School student, the young writer completed three books for the Young Authors Competition, winning the contest each year.
Now a college sophomore, the 19-year-old has already published her first book.
After graduating from Southington High School in 2014, D’Angelo headed to The Bronx, New York, to study English and Marketing at Fordham University. In her second semester, she decided to step outside of her comfort zone to explore non-fiction writing, and to challenge herself with the process of self-publishing.
Five months later, her finished product is a 39-page E-book, titled “The Teen Girl’s Guide to Becoming Her Best Self: 3 Steps to Achieving Happiness in High School.”
D’Angelo said that after studying non-fiction marketing with a professor at Fordham, she has found a positive “community between authors and readers” online.
The student used her college research as a tool to publish and market the self-help guide on her own, creating a blog, Facebook page, and account on Good Reads to promote her writing.
Although she would like to have future works picked up by publishing companies, D’Angelo said she is “no longer scared or discouraged by the idea of self publishing.”
The guide outlines three steps to making high school a positive experience, by learning to love yourself, accept yourself, and accept others.
She discusses these steps in chapters focused on relationships, family, decision-making, and religion.
D’Angelo said that she hopes her book can benefit girls attending SHS, and has been working with Jennifer Paul, literary specialist at SHS, to have the book available at the school.
“I think a lot of girls feel like they have to fit in and hold themselves to exactly what society wants them to be,” said D’Angelo, who would like her writing to serve as a tool to help teenage girls accept their quirks and uniqueness.
“I started this book as more than an experiment,” said D’Angelo, “but after self-publishing, selling copies, and marketing it almost every day, I’m getting really attached to it and even more passionate about it.”
Since its publication on July 7, D’Angelo has sold 34 copies of her e-book, which sells for $4.99 on Amazon and is available for free with Kindle Unlimited.