Children’s author stays in control of personal story with self-publishing

The Beatles advised “Take a sad song and make it better.” In a way, that’s what writer Meg Walsh has done with her first published work, the children’s book Mama, Won’t You Play With Me?

Mama, Won't You Play With Me? Cover

Walsh took a difficult situation and made it better by publishing her children’s book with a message. She says the idea for the book came to her as she and her family faced a difficult time as she battled a severe episode of systemic lupus, a type of chronic auto-immune disease that Walsh was diagnosed with ten years ago.

“My two boys were very young—one and three—and the look on their faces when I would say that Mommy was too sick to play was like I had said, ‘Mommy doesn’t love you!’” Walsh says. “I decided then and there that there was a need for children to be informed about what was happening with their ill or disabled parent, and that this book just might help open the doors of communication for them.”

This spark inspired Walsh to come up with the character Dudley, a duckling whose mother has a broken wing. As Dudley sets out on a journey to find a mama who can play with him, he discovers the true value of a mother’s love.

Though Walsh had written articles for publication in magazines, she says she knew nothing about publishing a book.

“Money was tight and time was of the essence. I wanted to get my message out quickly for those children that it might help,” Walsh said.

After talking with a few published authors, Walsh realized that the traditional publishing route could be a long and difficult one.

“The traditional publishing world is overwhelmed by submissions, and even the best-written book can be overlooked,” she said. When she turned to self-publishing, Walsh was surprised by how much creative control she could maintain over her work.

“I wanted my book to look a certain way and to be told a certain way, and I was able to have that with self-publishing.”

After dreaming of becoming a published author for as long as she can remember, Walsh is still enjoying the rush that comes along with all things related to her book.

“I had done a few magazine articles, but they did not compare to the feeling of having your first book hot off the press and in your hands,” she said. “Every time I am asked to autograph a copy, I get that feeling all over again.”



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