EMU grad student N.J. Phillips recently published a book, “Restless Life Syndrome", through Amazon.
Author N.J. Phillips began writing her book last year. “I started January 1st of 2018. I actually made it a New Year’s Resolution to write one haiku every single day. So from that, well obviously, I had at the end of the year 365. So I sent it to my friend and he said I should organize these by themes. I started organizing them and the one theme that arose was depression and grief and loneliness and just sort of those kind of topics,” Phillips said.
For authors, publishing on Amazon is a lucrative deal. Publishing on Amazon is free. There aren't as many steps to self-publication as people would expect. Generally, an author has to fill out online forms and make sure that the document is clickable for people to access on a Kindle.
Many writers decide to copyright their work. An online copyright costs $55 for the copyright. Paper filings cost $85. It costs $35 if an author is filing for one creative work, and the author is the sole copyright holder. It doesn’t take much to get published on Amazon.
This is not Phillips' first use of the website for publishing. “This is actually my second poetry book through there. My first one is 'Fables Sweeter Than Truth.' Those are longer poems.”
"Restless Life Syndrome" delves into serious topics like depression and grief. With a topic like depression, it is often hard for loved ones to hear about it and understand that a loved one is going through it. Phillips said, “[Writing] allows for that conversation starter with your family members or with other people in your life. It is awkward because it’s hard to be so positive about selling your book. It’s a really sad subject but I think it’s been really well received so far.”
The act of writing feels therapeutic to Phillips. “It’s difficult to live with depression but writing and reflecting about it in words for me and processing it was helpful as a tool,” Phillips said.
Surprisingly, Phillips is not pursuing a writing-related major. She is pursuing her master’s in occupational therapy.
Although Phillips is an occupational therapy student, she still intends to write even though she doesn’t foresee writing becoming her career. “I know I will publish another book in the future but I don’t have any intention soon. It would be at least two years probably,” Phillips said.
Phillips encourages everyone to pursue writing. “I think anyone in any profession can write and do this,” Phillips said. “As far as utilizing it within occupational therapy, [I work] with people with dementia. And we can do a lot of storytelling and building stories from whatever just comes out of their mouths.”
Here is an excerpt of "Restless Life Syndrome":
The book is available to purchase on Amazon for $4.99. For those seeking mental health help, Phillips wants everyone to “know that there’s a community out there to support you.” If you or a loved one needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255