Olivia Soffey '26
Why did you choose this major?
I started coming up with stories when I was like six, but I wrote my first novel when I was 16 and self-published. Writing has always been my passion. I’m a storyteller at heart.
My debut fantasy release was The Blood King’s Blade. It was a story that I really wanted to read, with the tropes and the characters that I enjoyed, but something like that didn’t quite exist yet. I thought, I guess I’ll do it myself. I’ve written two more since then; I’m working on my fourth now.
Tell us more about what you’re working on.
It’s going to be a short story collection spanning multiple genres. The overarching theme is the importance of human connection and the need to bond with other people in a society that’s so hyper-individualistic, where everybody feels like they have to do it alone.
How did you navigate the publishing process?
There are a lot of YouTube videos and tutorials that were very helpful. I went through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, which makes it fairly easy to do yourself. I also hired an editor, Nancy Craven, who is a retired Bryant English professor. She was kind enough to help me.
Amazon is the main place where you can buy my books, but I also sell personal copies from my shop. All of them are available here at the Bryant library to borrow, as well.
Bryant requires a business minor. How has that helped you?
Business isn’t something that came naturally to me because I really am an artist at heart, but I’ve learned a lot about marketing and putting yourself out there. That’s a huge part of being successful in the publishing industry. You have to know how to market yourself and your books, you have to have catchy taglines, a good elevator pitch, and social media.
Whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, a lot of the marketing responsibilities are placed directly on the author. No matter what publishing path you take, you have to know how to market yourself. It’s also entrepreneurship: Your book is a product, and you have to know how to sell it.
What kinds of hands-on experience are you getting at Bryant?
I’m a member of the Bryant Literary Review. We publish a collection of writings from various authors around the world. They submit their work and then my team goes through and picks out the best ones to publish. I’m one of the people who makes the big decisions on who gets in and who doesn’t, which is a great experience and something I’ve really enjoyed doing.
I’m also the secretary of the Creative Writing Club. Every week we have a new theme, and we all write a story according to the theme. At the end of the semester, we put them together in a little book and publish it. All skill levels are welcome!
Any favorite professors?
The whole department has been wonderful. I remember Professor Janet Dean’s Intro to Literature class was the first class I ever took, and she was just amazing. We have the same passion for books and literature. There are so many professors who’ve been supportive of my journey. I am so grateful.
What’s the dream?
If I could write full time, that would be my dream job for sure. But I’m also thinking about careers in a publishing house or something along those lines, something involving books.
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