Why I’m Self-Publishing My Debut Novel + GIVEAWAY

I’m self-publishing my debut novel, THE WATER CHILD, in March 2021! And has it ever been a journey! I started this book almost 10 years ago. I queried, won contests, found an amazing agent in Kaitlyn Johnson, had positive feedback from publishers, and now I’m self-publishing it as my debut.


Well to answer that I’d have to go into why I wrote THE WATER CHILD which you can read about here. Or the mini version: This story started on a horrific day, March 3, 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami struck the coast of Japan near where my in-laws were living. I didn’t start out trying to write a book about the tsunami, but I’d learned how to deal with PTSD from other events in my life like 9/11 by writing. The writings from that year turned into a book after critique partners read a short story I wrote and encouraged me to turn it into a novel. Now that novel, after 10 YEARS, is finally going to be in my hands and hopefully in yours as well!

Here’s a brief blurb about the book:

The ocean is her only solace…until it becomes her greatest enemy. Seventeen-year-old Tora Hayashi has always been irresistibly drawn to the ocean, lulled by the dream of becoming a pearl diver like her free-spirited, adventurous mother. But when her mother disappears, Tora and her best friend embark on a cross-country journey to their rural hometown to find her. Only the trip soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city. In a desolate landscape, void of friends and family, Tora must fight to find and save the lost, using the only skill her mother gave her – diving for pearls – a lost art that is key to both Tora’s dreams and her mother’s heart. But as Tora quickly learns, there is more than one wave in a tsunami and more than one way to save a life.

I would love nothing more than to bring you along on this journey. An author’s dive into the self-publishing industry with tips and lessons learned along the way. I still plan to publish books in the traditional market and have several other books in the works that I’m excited about, most in the Fantasy and Spec Fiction categories.

Without further ado,

5 Reasons I Chose to Self-Publish my Debut:

  1. MARKET: Sometimes the market is simply not right for a particular book. I found that while many editors liked my novel and my writing, it wasn’t situated for the current market in traditional publishing. BUT the indie market doesn’t always line up with the traditional one. In fact, I found that many authors with books similar to mine had found success in the indie market.

  2. RESEARCH: I did my homework and interviewed authors with experience in the indie realm and the traditional. Many successful authors that I had assumed started with traditional publishing actually released self-published debut novels! What’s more, I knew those debut novels and the quality had led me to assume they were traditionally published. So, you can self-publish a quality book that reflects your brand and you can be proud of!

  3. HOW DO I DEFINE SUCCESS? I had to ask myself tough questions. Why do I want this particular book out in the world? What does it mean to be a successful author? Which book should be my debut? I wrestled with letting go of a previously held idea that only traditionally published authors were the real deal. It’s not something I would have ever said, but somewhere in my heart I held it up as the ideal. But as I dug deep into my heart and studied the books I truly loved, I discovered that they were a mix of traditional and self-published titles.

    “For me, success as an author is being passionate about writing, publishing books I’m proud of, and hopefully earning a meager income from writing.”

  4. TIMELINE: A few things put a fire in me to get THE WATER CHILD out in the world. (1) My mother was diagnosed with cancer. While this is a personal reason, I realized that I wanted a book out in the world now, one that she could hold. I don’t say this lightly, it was truly the zeitgeist that made me start thinking seriously about self-publishing. (2) THE WATER CHILD takes place during 3/11 and the 10 year anniversary is next year. I’ve always wanted this book to be released before then. It’s part of my hope that this book will help people remember what happened on 3/11 and do something to help. Yes, it’s been 10 years, but the reconstruction effort in Tohoku is ongoing and we need to remember.

  5. EXPERIENCE: I’ve always wanted to understand the publishing industry better. What a better way than hands on experience doing everything from hiring cover designers to marketing by myself. I’m learning so much and while it’s a LOT of work, I’m grateful for this experience.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!
One Query + 1st Chapter Line Edit and Critique by yours truly!

I worked as an editor for TEENs Publish, critiqued several published novels, was journalist for Calvary Chapel Magazine, and several of the books I’ve critiqued have gone on to be accepted or requested in PitchWars and other contests. One winner will be selected on Dec 9th 8pm JST.

To enter please follow the steps below:

  1. Follow these accounts: @mcgintytokyo @thespinningpen
  2. Post this article to your IG story and tag @mcgintytokyo

    Thank you for sharing this journey with me! You can follow me on IG and Twitter.


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