Independent publishing journey nears finale after 30 years

Susan Manzke
Susan with a copy of the book cover. Susan's dog, Sunny, is depicted on the left side of the cover.

Everyone has been asking me when my children’s picture book will be published. Well, fingers crossed. I should have the digital Kindle version out for free on October 11 and 12, after that, it will cost $2.99.

My mentor, April Cox, and I have to meet online to upload the finished product. This picture book has many more bells and whistles than the books I’ve published in the past. It even had a book designer, Praise Saflor.

I have my fingers crossed that you will love my new book and hopefully, leave a review—you can leave a review even if you purchased my digital book for free.

Later in October, the books will be for sale online on I’m offering both softcover and hardcover copies. Of course, those won’t be for free—hopefully, I’ll sell enough real books to offset the investment I made to publish this book. (The softcover will be $12.99 and the hardcover will be $17.99.)

I’m very excited to see your responses to my story. It has been part of my life for over thirty years—no kidding.

All the Queen’s Crowns shows that too much gift giving can become a problem. People can show their love to others in different ways—in my book the gift giving goes a bit crazy, but the love is always there. Here’s the summary that says it all: An eccentric king shows his affection for his queen by giving her a new crown every day, each one becoming more extravagant and ridiculous. The queen gets frustrated and just wants to help him see that he can find other ways to show his love.

I’m hoping you will laugh along with other readers and think about purchasing a book as a gift for a young person in your life.

My world has been consumed with learning more about independent publishing. I thought I knew enough when I posted my column collections on Amazon, but there was so much more to know—I learned something new every day.

A photo of a paper copy of Susan’s children’s picture book, All the Queen’s Crowns.

Tribute to Sunny

All of this started about the same time I lost my dog, Sunny. April said I have complete control over my story so I could add anything I wanted. Because of my heartache, I decided to give Sunny to King Wendal.

Sunny appears in quite a few of the book illustrations. He is just there by the king. Sunny doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. I guess you could say he’s part of the scenery. Like many of our pets, he follows the king around. He does, except in one illustration when a bunch of crowns fall. In that layout, Sunny is seen running away from the kerfuffle. 

It’s fun honoring Sunny’s long years of companionship and devotion in this book. He deserves the tribute—a few photos of Sunny are included on the last page of the book.

 I will be so happy when everything is published. My nerves are a bit frazzled and my fingernails have been bitten to the quick.

My family’s support helped get me through these anxious months. I heard, “You can do it, Mom,” often from my children. My friends and readers are also very supportive, which I appreciate.

The waiting is almost at its end. Remember, the book is All the Queen’s Crowns. May my words and Remesh Ram's illustrations make you laugh and think about gift giving.

Mark your calendar for Oct. 11 and 12 if you want a free digital copy. And remember to post a review. 

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;;;