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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

The Berry Story: A Guest Post by Yannick Atambona

Passionate About Storytelling?

I'm so excited to be having another guest post here on the blog. It's been awhile, but I love to share other people's stories in how they became a self-published author.

Today's post is by Yannick Atambona. We meet a few months ago through a Facebook group for writers and authors. From the exchanges we've had, I can tell Yannick is extremely passionate and willing to go the extra mile so people hear his story.

Passion is so important when creating works like The Berry Story. When people see how passionate and dedicated you are about your storytelling they will relate to the message on a deeper level while enjoying your book just as much if not more than you.


The Berry Story

I have traveled the world, seen and experienced discrimination. Sometimes fueled by ignorance or just fully assumed. So, I want The Berry Story to first encourage kids to love themselves, and let them know being different is ok. Secondly, I would love to teach kids how to treat others and accept difference.

I once traveled to Thailand and before going, I learned some basic words, but didn't know it was an intonation language. A word can mean many different things based on the tone in which it is spoken. One day, I went to explore Bangkok. I got to a shop and wanted to buy an electronic gadget (a power bank), but the seller was talking with someone I suppose was a friend outside of work. I called to the man two times saying, “Maa” which means come over. I learned how to say please, but at that very moment, it flew out of my mind. The man's response was that of anger, and things were about to get physical- it escalated very fast! But I was confused and did not understand why things went south so quickly.

Then, someone who spoke English came around asking what was going on. I explained myself and he started to laugh. I asked him what I did wrong and he clarified I called the man “Dog”, twice. Apparently “Maa” means dog, horse, or come over depending on the tone used when spoken. I apologized to the shop owner buying the power bank I came for. From that day on, I decided to learn the language and spent a few years there.

It took me about a year to finish The Berry Story. Procrastinating was my favorite sport lol. I sometimes spent weeks without writing a word.

When you want to write a book, without spending too much time thinking about what might come next, you should first find a title to your story, because without title, you're only putting a bunch of ideas together. Then, define the roles of each character, give them personalities, and have them interact in each chapter (this part will evolve as you get more ideas). All characters in The Berry Story have distinct personalities. But, the main character (Brandon the Black berry) is very captivating. He is a normal boy who tries to make friends and fit in, but Brandon does not understand why others treat him differently. He has questions which remain unanswered and so, goes on an inner self journey to find who he is and defy odds.

Next, decide how many chapters, pages, and words you would like your book to contain. If, for some reason, you exceed those expectations you can keep the extra content for a second book. I have so many projects I'm currently working on, but the next one, after the publication of this book, is Part 2 in The Berry Story series. The story will have many nice twists.

I wrote, edited, and proofread The Berry Story myself as I’m a book editor and proofreader. I wish to eventually write a fantasy book. I've edited and proofread a few of them and found them interesting. I did not take any self-publishing classes, since I taught myself by reading everything I could find online and through watching YouTube videos. I wanted to see what writing and publishing entails, and found it to be a very exciting process to be invested in.

But, I did hire a book illustrator for characters and book cover illustrations.

It took me almost three months to find the right illustrator for my book’s characters, specifically Brandon. I hired and paid many illustrators who fail to bring the characters to life, but I finally found one who did an amazing job. Once Okan drafted the first character I knew he was the right person for the job. He even volunteered to make sketches without being paid in advance.

The story cost me a lot in time and money. I cannot remember how much I have invested into this, but I don’t regret it. The Berry Story will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a few other platforms in hardcover, digital, and audio format.


Guest Post Wrap Up

I want to thank Yannick for coming on the blog! I hope The Berry Story goes on to teach other's how to accept one another.

If you are interested in The Berry Story, you can follow Yannick on Instagram @ianjanik05. Like he mentioned, there will be a part 2 along with other projects such as a coloring book featuring characters from the story available for purchase at the time of release.

If you are a self-published author who would like to tell their story on the Kali Kuzma Author and Storyteller send me an email at Check out other guest posts by Britta Whitmer or Sue Young to see if it is something you are interested in pursuing.

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