Nicholls graduate and self-published author, Hannah Kidder released “Little Birds: A collection of short stories” this past November to rave reviews, with a current 4.9-star rating on Amazon and also reaching the No. 1 spot for Amazon Release in Short Reads—an unsurprising feat for those familiar with the inspiring writer. Kidder published over 20 short stories and poems in just a two-year timespan and received 1stplace for the Albert Davis Fiction Award. Now working on a companion piece for “Little Birds”, writing a fantasy novel and publishing educational videos for nearly 5,000 YouTube subscribers, the busy wordsmith took the time to discuss her recently released book, self-publishing process, online presence and more.
What made you want to become a writer?
“I’ve written for fun since I was five. Always loved it, but I decided to write as a profession when I started teaching writing online about a year ago. It was just something to occupy my extra time, then it started making me some money…Then it started making me enough money to quit my other jobs, then I was interested.”
Describe the self-publishing process.
“I went through the finished stories I had and tried to choose ones that sort of complemented each other, then I went through several rounds of beta readers to decide on an order. I commissioned the artwork from Rosalyn Stilling, and I collaborated with Eight Little Pages to polish the cover I designed and do the layout. Then I used my YouTube platform to promote it, held some pre-sale giveaways and launched the release. It was way more successful than I expected it to be. I still sell five to 15 copies a week without any promotional efforts, which is pretty ridiculous for a first-time self-publish. All in all, it was a super positive experience for me.”
What made you start doing educational YouTube videos for writers? What impact do you feel those videos have made?
“Well, a year ago, I was a week away from moving out of state and beginning my sales career when a family member got sick. I passed on the job and stayed in Louisiana, leaving me with a lot of free time on my hands. I still had some leftover momentum from my tutoring and editing jobs, so I started YouTube up again, rebranded as a writing channel.
I really wasn’t expecting the writing community that gathered around those videos, but it’s cool to watch my viewers grow and learn from each other and become stronger writers.”
Is there any particular piece or excerpt in “Little Birds” that you cherish the most? If so, why?
“Cane Sproutsis my most recent piece and the truest to my life. I wrote it as an intentional, never-read piece for “Little Birds”…It was the most natural for me to write because the setting and characters are very familiar to my childhood.”
What do you want people to take away from “Little Birds”?
“I hope it makes people feel less alone.”
Bonus Question: If you had to live the life of a character from any novel, which character would you choose and why?
“Probably the protagonist from my work in progress, to be honest. She’s living through a pretty exciting time and has some super cool knives and outfits. No, I’m not living vicariously through her. Why do you ask?”
“Little Birds” is now available on Amazon in paperback or eBook. To keep up with Kidder—who was also a finalist for the David Middleton Poetry Award—follow her YouTube channel (Hannah Lee Kidder) and Twitter (@HannahLeeKidder) or go to hannahleekidder.com.