The Final Push: Helping Student Authors Prepare to Release Books for Publication

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Student Authors, Jennifer Lee Schwartz and John Diorio, plan book release on May 17th

Student Authors, Jennifer Lee Schwartz and John Diorio, plan book release on May 17th

In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April-June 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

I have coordinated with my students to get their books ready for release, so we are in the last stages of preparing them for publication. Simultaneously, we have to market them for release. As self-published authors, we have nobody but ourselves to market our books. My students have blogs and have been posting about their work and their books for the past nine months, so they have done well in building up interest in their books. Now they need to alert their blog followers, their contacts, their family and friends, and their community that their books are about to be available for purchase. Obnoxious sales pitches are not appropriate. Instead, just letting people know the books are available will suffice.

Two of the student authors, Jennifer Lee Schwartz and John Diorio, are planning a joint book release party at our town library on the day the books will be available on Amazon.com:

On the Right Track: A Student’s Memoir of Research, Advancement and Holding on to Hope

by Jennifer Lee Schwartz

Broadening the High School Experience: A Student’s Perspective on Independent Exploration

by John Diorio

Official release party May 17th from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Library

Contact Jennifer Lee Schwartz if you would like to attend.

Jennifer’s memoir about her journey through the Ridgefield High School Science Research Program is filled with emotional anecdotes and new perspectives on innovative cancer research. Jennifer chronicles her struggles and successes, both in the program and in her life, to create a powerful and touching story. John’s book explores the concept of a more open and personalized education system. Creating classes that are centered around independent study projects, will promote exploration and allow students to put their knowledge to use.

The other student author, Alexandra DiGiacomo, will be releasing her children’s book about sharks in June and is working out the details.

My original deadline to these students was to release their books in April. I think April is ideal, as students can do work over spring break and release their books before the final wave of academic tests that hit in May. Nevertheless, these students needed some extra time, and they are releasing their books before the end of the school year. All in all, they have done an outstanding job in completing this project. If you are interested in duplicating this project as a teacher or mentor with your own student authors, I am releasing my book, an easy to follow step-by-step guide to the entire self-publishing process, on April 27, 2015 on Amazon.com:

Creating Student Authors: How to Mentor Anyone to Be a Published Author

by Bryan Holmes

Profits will benefit Ridgefield Public Schools and Newington Public Schools in Connecticut.

My next post will be more about the preparation for publication release.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April-June 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

Student Authors Need to Market Their Books Before Publication–Both Online and In Person

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Publishing goalIn this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

My students are waiting on beta reader feedback right now—they aren’t writing or working on their books, so this is the perfect time to do some preliminary marketing. Click on Marketing Checklist for Authors to get a full list of things you can do. I have already shared about how my students are blogging. Another way to market a book is the more traditional route of using in person events. Student authors may naturally gravitate to blogging and using social media, but they should also learn to do a well-planned live event.

Live events that are feasible and appropriate for students include in-school promotions or presentations of their book projects, presentations to other schools in the district, book promotions at a local bookstore, or book presentations at local conferences. I have taken all of my students to a local writers conference, and I took three of them to the Connecticut Science Teachers Association annual conference. At both events, my students dressed up and had flyers and business cards to hand out as they pitched their books. This type of experience is valuable and applicable to many career fields.

Our next planned live event is a joint promotion with our high school’s literary journal club in the cafeteria during lunch. The goal is to generate interest and curiosity in other students. It is free and relatively easy to set up this type of promotion. The most important thing is for students to be prepared. Working jointly with the literary journal club also gives my students a chance to share their writing experiences with other student writers. Please share your thoughts about any similar projects you have done by commenting on this post.

Next week, my post will share the feedback we are getting from beta readers, as it comes in.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

Student Authors Explain Their Book Projects at CSTA Conference

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In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

CSTA ConferenceThree of the student authors I am mentoring attended the Connecticut Science Teachers Association (CSTA) annual conference with me this past Saturday, November 22, 2014. We had an exhibition hall table and showed the teachers attending the conference all about our books. Jen Schwartz, John Diorio, and Alexandra DiGiacomo each brought flyers, business cards and materials explaining their books and the science research behind them. I also explained how teachers could duplicate this project, the subject of my book. It was a good test of our marketing skills.

From a teaching perspective, this was a crucial assessment of the project. I wanted the students to be able to coherently discuss their books with strangers and “close the deal” by ensuring every person they met walked away with a business card or flyer. Prospective authors can’t be shy. They must promote what they are doing and engage people. Otherwise, their work will remain in obscurity. My students passed the test. They were thoughtful and engaging, and I had many conference attendees come up to me later and share how impressed they were with these three student authors. The students also succeeded in giving out dozens of business cards and flyers and in getting many attendees to provide their emails for follow up correspondence. I would recommend to any teacher conducting this project to have your students attend a conference like this one—the experience the students will get is invaluable.

Next week, my post will share the feedback we are getting from beta readers.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

How to Promote and Market Your Book – Learn from Success and Failure

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Tip#9In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

It’s natural for a new author to be wrapped up in just writing the book and not to worry about marketing until after publication, but that is a big mistake. Promoting and marketing a book require a strategy the author must devise from the start, months before publication and release. I have already given a tip about blogging to promote a book while writing it. Blogs are a free way any author can promote his or her book, and blogging can help improve the writing process.

Blogging is just one part of a marketing strategy. One helpful source of information for other things an author can do is Book Marketing Tools at http://bookmarketingtools.com. This is a company that sells some online author services, but also provides many free resources and video podcast interviews of various writing and publishing experts. Their free Ultimate Author Marketing Checklist is a great overview of what an author should do from well before publication release, through release, and after. I have used it with my students. I have also used some of the interviews I have seen on their video podcasts.

Another valuable experience for new authors, especially students, is to attend a writers conference. Look online for a conference near you, then try to attend. If you are a teacher, contact the conference organizer and explain how you are mentoring student authors—people love to help, and they may let your students meet some writing and publishing professionals that otherwise might be inaccessible. The contacts made at a writers conference can also be helpful as you market your book. Other authors can help get the word out, and the speakers and faculty at the conference often travel to many other conferences, so they can spread the word about your book or project with students.

As an author, plan on both successes and failures as you market your book. Your marketing should be geared to your target audience. Talk about your book in the forums where they are, not where you are most comfortable. Some things you try may not yield any results, or may even be complete flops. Other things may be surprisingly successful. Learn from both. For more information, click to download my Marketing Checklist for Authors and use it to promote and market your book.

Next week, my post will have a tip on how to make a project like this into a valuable learning experience for students.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.