Student gets published

UND student explains how she turned class assignment into published book.

Student author Chelsea Akason holds a copy of her book “Silence Speaks Aloud” in the Memorial Union.  Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student.

UND senior Chelsea Akason recently published “Silence Speaks Aloud,” the first of many short stories she plans to write.

The book, published Oct. 3, contains two stories, “Silence Speaks Aloud” and “Now You Lay Me Down to Sleep,” and a preface that gives readers more information on Akason’s personality.

The book began as an assignment for Daniele Koleva’s English 308: The Art of Creative Nonfiction, according to Akason.

The class required her to write two short creative nonfiction pieces.

“One of the easiest parts for me was picking a topic,” Akason said. “I had so many ideas that I could use. I just needed one, but I knew I had many backup ideas.”

Akason chose to begin her nonfiction with a tale from high school. “Silence Speaks Aloud” is the retelling of Akason’s experience being bullied.

The second piece in the book, “Now You Lay Me Down to Sleep,” is about night terrors that she experienced and the relationship Akason had with her parents.


After completing the book throughout the course of her English class, Akason spent the summer editing her work for publication. Professors in the English Department gave her advice as to where she could get it published.

Eventually, a customer at her retail job led Akason to CreateSpace, the company that would end up publishing her book.

When time came to send it in to get published, Akason knew she was ready.

“I think I am ready to take on what happened to me in high school and put it out there,” Akason said. “I feel like I can do this.”

Akason recalled it felt amazing to be published. A total of 61 copies have been printed and are available for sale. So far, five have been sold.

Akason is working on another book she plans to publish in February. Also, a second volume of “Silence Speaks Aloud” will be released around that time.

Akason’s goal for the future is to continue publishing short books and combine them all into one.

“My goal is to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest book,” Akason said.

In order to meet her goal, Akason has to write more than three million words to knock “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust out of first place.

Akason says her final book will include a list of “Chelseaisms” that will debunk some of the slang she uses throughout her book. These “Chelseaisms” include writing ownership as “own-her-ship” and describing hypocrites as “hypo-crickets.”

Although she has great plans for future publications, Akason is pleased with her accomplishment of having her own book published.

“You do what you do and that’s it,” Akason said.

With the publication, she has accomplished one of the dreams she has had since she was 12 years old.

Erin Cheever is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].