MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Every writer has moments when the words just don’t flow freely.

When Justin Anderson finds himself with a case of writer’s block, he turns to his mom, Rachel, to talk through the storyline.

Her background in publishing gives her a keen eye for opportunities to build out a potential novel.

Justin’s writing process has brought success. The 16 year old is a twice-published author working on his third book.

“I did my first book when I was 14,” Justin said. “Right now, I’m writing a science fiction book but the twist is it’s all alien characters.”

His step into the literary world began two years ago while helping a family of stray cats. He documented the rescue and that journey inspired him to write the book “Saving Stripes: A Kitty’s Story.”

justin anderson Family Creates Publishing Company For Young Authors

Justin Anderson (credit: CBS)

It also opened the door to another venture.

“It got me thinking, there’s a lot of teen writers out there, whose books, who have good books, but their moms aren’t book publicists,” Justin said.

He wanted to provide those aspiring authors with an outlet, and came up with the idea of a free publishing company exclusive to teen authors.

With the help of his parents, Sigma’s Bookshelf took shape.

Rachel says she’s proud to be making a difference.

“I was one of those kids that got the, ‘No, you’re never going to get your booked published.’ So, by golly, now I can help kids make it happen. It’s empowering for me too,” Rachel said.

The business is a labor of love and requires the family to put in their time to keep the process free for the aspiring young authors.

Justin selects the books that will be considered, while Rachel volunteers her time to copy edit each book. She is currently looking through a book written by a 13 year old from Roseville. Justin’s dad creates the graphic art.

“Basically, we’re not charging anything for our time to proofread, to edit, to do design work, to design the covers,” Rachel said.

The company has published five books, allowing the youngest writers to have the chance to see their name in print.

Grant money helps Sigma’s Bookshelf cover the cost of registering a book and the distribution.

If you’re a teen author hoping to learn more about this publishing company, click here for more information.


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