Sydney Strand started her writing-for-money-and-fame career at the tender age of 10, when she sold her first book of poetry to her classmates. A buck for a book of 50 poems? A total deal. Here's one gem from that book (currently stored in the family's fireproof safe, as all invaluable things should be):

How majestic and noble
So tall and so grand
Like a knight in white armor
When a friend lends a hand.
(c) Me

Pretty good, right?

Ten was also around the age that she started entering essay contests for cash or savings bonds--and winning a lot of them. The first one was for the Daughters of the American Revolution, about the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. This was one of the few forays Sydney took into historical writing. (She knows her strengths.)

All of that youthful writing translated into what Sydney is today: a big ol' writing-for-money-and-fame nerd.