Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Whitney Owens sells a copy of Winston's Friendship Journey at her book signing Saturday, May 9. 2015, at King's Treasures in Kenai, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Whitney Owens sells a copy of Winston's Friendship Journey at her book signing Saturday, May 9. 2015, at King's Treasures in Kenai, Alaska.

Self-publishing as a student

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, May 10, 2015 9:02pm
  • NewsSchools

At 11-years-old, Whitney Owens has self-published her first book. The home school student authored and illustrated ‘Winston’s Friendship Journey’, which is available on Kindle, and at King’s Treasures Christian Bookstore in Kenai.

At her book signing Saturday, 65 copies went into the hands of friends, family and customers. Each copy costs $9.

“Its kind of been one of my dreams,” Whitney Owens said.

Whitney Owens came up with the plot line last year, after a visit to a friend’s farm. She saw a variety of livestock and the birth of a baby goat, which she photographed, she said. In the book, Wintson, a young goat, goes in search of a friend. He meets a chatty goose named Sampson and two donkeys named Bogart and Barry, but does not find a good fit until he meets Zoe, a fellow goat.

Zoe is calmer and more attentive, which Whitney Owens said she believes are good qualities she looks for in her own friends.

“I was trying to teach that friendship is really important even to animals,” Whitney Owens said.

Whitney Owens received creative inspiration from friends and family while writing the story. She said her favorite part of the entire process was picking the names. Her parents assisted in coming up with unique aliases for each animal.

Sherry Collins, a close friend, roused a passion for painting in Whitney Owen’s. She said she could not have completed the artwork that accompanied the story without Collin’s teaching and encouragement. It took a full year to write, illustrate and publish the piece, Whitney Owen’s said. Once she started contacting publishers about circulating the story, she realized that was not a route she wanted to go.

“They wanted to do so many changes to my book,” Whitney Owens said. “It would have felt like my book anymore so I decided to self publish.”

Her mother Simone Owens, said she wanted her daughter to complete the process on her own. It is a excellent teaching tool for kids, she said

“For me the best part about the project is that its not instant gratification,” Simone Owens said. “It took her a year to finish and the perseverance it took was so impressive.”

Whitney Owens took tutorials online that walked her through self-publishing step by step. She said she did not at any point want to abandon the project.

In fact, next fall Whitney Owens plans to finish a second book about an Alaskan mosquito that gets sprayed by bug spray. She said she has had many neighbors and community members in support of her book.

Kathy Williams, a family friend said Whitney Owens’ accomplishment was inspiring to the community.

“She is an amazing little girl,” Williams said.


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