Making Authors Dreams Come True


It’s become popular these days to badmouth Amazon, but I happen to love Amazon and their CEO, Jeff Bezos, in particular. They are what made it possible for me, a 59-year-old author/illustrator, to share her books with the world. After my children’s picture book apps found an audience, I longed to see them in print. I submitted them to countless publishers and agents and most times never even received a rejection letter. Self-publishing was the only avenue left to get my stories into kids’ hands. Upon discovering the astronomical costs of that, my dream seemed doomed.


 Choose yourself! – James Altucher


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I thought having my apps made into books was hopeless until I heard an interview with author Hugh Howey. I learned that after being unable to find a publisher, he self-published his best seller, Wool, through Amazon. He explained that Amazon has partnered with print-on-demand company, CreateSpace. They make it possible for authors to upload their book files and have them printed on demand (in America no less). That means when one of my books is sold on Amazon, CreateSpace prints and ships it to the buyer, and I receive a royalty. The most amazing part of it is there are no upfront costs. The only downside for me was that the books are only available in softcover. It was easy to let go of my longing to have hardcover versions when I reminded myself of Victorian author/illustrator Beatrix Potter. She, too, decided to self-publish her childhood classic, The Tale Peter Rabbit, after having no luck finding a publisher. Printing was so costly, Beatrix had to settle for a color frontispiece with interior black and white woodblock engravings. She was at peace with that because she knew the most important thing was to get her book into the hands of readers. I shared those same feelings about my stories. So as of November 2014, Glory in the Morning and Love You to the Moon and Back are for sale on Amazon. I’m happy to report that people are actually buying them for their children and leaving great reviews.


What’s dangerous is not to evolve. -Jeff Bezos


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There is a lot of talk about the rise of Amazon being the downfall of the printed word. Yes, it’s true their online sales are shaking up book companies. With the digital age upon us, at some point that was bound to happen anyway. I believe the dismay in the publishing industry comes from Amazon giving the power back to the authors. Suddenly, the gatekeepers of the book world fear their relevancy and creatives have a voice. Many blame Amazon’s owner, Jeff Bezos, for the loss of jobs in publishing and the folding of bookstores. To me that makes about as much sense as being upset when Gutenberg’s printing press came on the scene because the monks who illuminated bibles would be phased out. Progress is a scary thing to the inflexible, but it always ends up expanding our lives.

As an author who was beginning to wonder if she was washed up, I’ve found a new day has dawned. No longer am I at the mercy of the powers that be in publishing. I am extremely grateful to Amazon for making it possible for me to share my stories with the world. Thank you Jeff Bezos for empowering artists. You’ve made it possible for us to choose ourselves and make our dreams come true.

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About the Author | Sue Shanahan

Chicago artist Sue Shanahan is a children's book author, illustrator and portrait painter. Her blog, “Commonplace Grace,” can be found in the Huffington Post.

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2 comments to "Making Authors Dreams Come True"

  • I have also self-published a book, in 2009, unfortunately no one knows about. I have a book link to PayPal on my website, but again, no one knows about it. I have given away more books than sold, because I WANT PEOPLE TO HEAL!

    “Darkness & Light – The Little Girl in Pink” (A Journey from Fear to Faith) deals with the emotions of those who come out of fear produced by abuse or trauma. I am working on a companion study guide to go with each illustrated page, to help victims ponder their feelings and work toward freedom and healing.

    I like the Print on Demand feature that Amazon offered these authors. I too cannot afford further printing, nor the marketing costs to promote the wonderful tool of my book.

    How do I learn more about this process of sharing my book on Amazon? I have everything stored on a thumb drive, so it should be easy to upload and transfer the text and illustrations.

    I’m ooking forward to sharing my journey to help others heal.

    Sincerely for Souls,

    Kathleen Wichterman
    Trees of Righteousness Ministries

    • Hi Kathleen,
      If you go to CreateSpace’s website ( and set up an account you will be able to call them on the phone to answer any of your questions. It seemed a little daunting when I began the process but their customer service is great.
      Best of luck,