While other high schoolers hunt for summer jobs, Rachel Yu will continue her work as a part-time author who has already sold more than 80,000 e-books to earn money for college.
Yu, who will be a junior at San Leandro High in the fall, began publishing in 2009 when she turned a class writing assignment into an electronic children’s book titled, “A Dragon Named Dragon.”
Rachel’s father, Michael Yu, a computer specialist with the city of San Leandro, said “Dragon” got onto the Apple sales website and rapidly climbed to the top – exactly why they can’t be sure.
In any event, that success inspired Rachel to write other children’s e-books and now, with several titles to her credit, she is socking away about 33 cents every time one of her works is downloaded onto some electronic reading platform.
She has a web site, Rachel’s Book Corner, to promote her works.
Rachel, who is considering careers in science and/or writing when she gets older, said finding story lines is easy.
“I get my ideas usually from stories or events that I see or hear,” she said. “I wonder what they would be like if something different were to happen.”
Comic books are another source of ideas.
She draws her main inspiration from authors that she reads and admires, including Diana Wynne Jones, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Rachel is part of a family business.
She writes. Her mom, June Yu, a librarian at James Madison School, edits. Father Michael Yu handles the technical aspects of e-book publishing. Rachel’s younger brother, Eric, is a sounding board.
“We did it by accident, we did it for fun,” Michael Yu said. “We knew the three of us put together could do it. I’m very good with computers. My daughter can write anything. My wife is a great editor.
“And we have had a lot luck.”
(Patch recently wrote about , soon-to-be junior Carolina Navarro-Gutierrez, who won a national novel award.)