To Find a Publisher or Self Publish: Why I Chose to Self Publish

Sunny cover final

Writing and publishing a book is a dream come true for most writers. Story creators have different publishing options once their manuscript is completed. The traditional methods of finding a publisher to print your story is still in high demand; however, thanks to technology, writers also have the choice to self-publish their manuscripts. There are pro’s and cons to both.

When I wrote Saving Sunny, I always knew that I was going to self-publish my story. So why did I choose this method?

When I first came up with the idea for this delightful story, my initial plans were to create a movie. Images of a camera view looking down from the sky to arctic ice flow with small dark shadows danced in my head. As the camera view slowly descended closer to the icy mass, the shadows gradually transitioned into a colony of harp seals. Eventually, the view zoomed in on Sunny’s animated beautiful face.

The whole story played in my head like a DreamWorks movie. It was a wonderful story that I couldn’t wait to tell. But what played in my head, could not be transferred onto my laptop.

I took a script writing course with big dreams of creating this magical idea into an even more magical script. But sadly, I learned quickly that I am not a script writer. However, where I lacked in script writing, I more than made up for in story telling; soon, my movie became a picture book.

The road from idea to written draft to published book is never easy no matter which road you choose. Finding someone to illustrate the book (bless my nephew for doing the pictures), the creating, designing, publishing, and marketing it is very challenging. Essentially, the author becomes the cook, the baker, and the candlestick maker of their own idea.

Looking for an agent or publisher is equally challenging – if not more so. With so many books on the market – unpublished or published – adding your tale to the sludge pile is like adding another grain of sand to the beach. The amount of literature is endless; the challenge is trying to make your manuscript stand out in the vast sea of potential story books.

I chose to self publish Saving Sunny for one simple reason:  I didn’t want my beloved seal pup to end up in someone else’s sludge pile. This was a story that was very near and dear to my heart. It has a story, but it also has a message – it talks about conservation, ocean pollution and the effects it has on marine life.


Publishing houses are limited with the number of books they can publish and have certain criteria regarding story lines and topics. They can’t publish every book they read after all; it’s not realistic. Your topic might not be one that a publisher is interested in.

Saving Sunny was a very personal story; I wanted my harp seal pup’s adventure shared with the world, not stuck on a pile collecting dust.

But I also wanted more from the book. The story was not just a lighthearted tale of a seal pup. It was about a real danger to the Sunny’s of the world and all other marine life. My natural thoughts were of using the book to fight for the better good.

I wanted the tale to help battle the very real, environmental issue; to educate, sponsor, and support ocean conservation. By self publishing, I can choose to donate some of the proceeds to an organization that helps our oceans.

And so, self publishing was the natural, and only choice for Saving Sunny. Because this is the first of a series of books, I look forward to the thrill, the excitement, and the personal satisfaction in seeing my other idea come to life just like Sunny’s story.


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