The road to becoming an author is often long and narrow, but recent graduate Ry Reed just published her fourth book in her pursuit to have a career in writing. Reed graduated from California Baptist University in December 2019 with a B.A. in journalism and new media.
Reed’s latest project, “White Orchids,” was published Jan. 8. It is a collection of poems and short motivational stories inspired by her life and experiences. Her journey as a writer started with rejection, but she kept pursuing her passion.
“The first book I ever tried to get traditionally published was rejected probably over 200 times — like 200 literary agents — from here to Europe,” Reed said.
She eventually decided to publish her first book independently and marketed it to friends and family. To this day, she works with a small team to publish her books independently with no agencies or contracts.
“If you have an agent or you work through a publishing company, you have basically zero control,” Reed said. “You don’t control what the book is going to look like, who’s gonna read it first, the beta readers or even how much money you get.”
Dina Soliman, 2019 CBU alumna and friend of Reed, has known Reed since she published her first book. She has seen her grow as a writer and a person while pursuing her passion.
“I’ve never seen her work so hard for something,” Soliman said. “She went to book signings, book talks, and professors wanted her to speak to their classes. She never stopped working, didn’t want to take breaks. So, from when I first met her to now, she has grown, matured and blossomed into the person she was born to be.”
Reed said she has felt a lot of positivity surrounding the release of “White Orchids.”
“It’s been insane—the love that I’ve received. For my first book, I had zero buys. I mean, I had two people that bought my first one online. That was it,” Reed said.
“The other day, someone sent me a little video of a young woman who is not from this country and she bought my book. She wanted to ask a question about it,” Reed said. “It’s getting those little things. They’re small, but it’s like little fires that are building up, and to wake up and see that, it’s humbling.”
James Veneman, visiting professor of photojournalism, said he got to know Reed throughout her time in his photojournalism classes. After reading “Pink Grapefruit,” Reed’s most recent book prior to “White Orchids,” Veneman said he was impressed by her personal approach to writing.
“She reaches her readers at a point of understanding. She shows in her writing that we’re more alike than we are different,” Veneman said. “She does it in a clever, interesting way.”
Veneman said one thing that affects Reed’s ability to tell stories is her ability to observe the world around her. “She has a very positive outlook, but one of the things that I think that she really does – wherever she is – she pays attention to what’s going on,” Veneman said.
While Reed’s interest in writing began at a young age she never expected to become an author.“What truly got me into this industry, I can’t say. I think you’re just meant to do something. You can’t really explain the why, you just understand the feeling,” Reed said.
Reed is currently working on an additional book titled “The Little Red Poetry Book Called Heartbreak,” which will explore relationships. To keep up with her latest work, follow @ry_reedisme on Instagram. “White Orchids” and “Pink Grapefruit” by Ry Reed are currently available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.