Monday, July 29, 2013

Start the Process

2:00pm PST

Started the publishing process today. Well, last night. My last reader finished the book over the week so I went in, made the last few corrections that she found, and saved it again. I'm publishing through so I visited Ray's page and sent him an email letting him know who I am and what I want to do. We've been emailing back and forth and will talk at 4pm today to discuss particulars. From there there's a bunch of steps but none of them are all that hard. Really, the only things left for me to do are create a cover, write the back of the book blurb, and write the sales blurb that will go up on amazon, Kindle, and wherever else it'll be sold. 
I'm also trying to think ahead about spreading the word and twitter games that I can play to get people to retweet the links. On Twitter proper I've been going on an education people follow spreed, and as soon as I feel it's ready to go out I'll email some ed bloggers a copy so they can review it. Spread the word!
More after I talk to Ray.

3:47pm PST

So what I meant to type was, "More in just over 24 hours because things happen and I forget to get back to the blog I started."
Ray and I had a very productive phone call last night and I feel quite confident I'm making the right choice by going with him as my independent publisher. For a very reasonable price he's going to do all the leg work and get the book, He's the Weird Teacher (coming soon please buy it) out into the world quicker and easier than I would ever be able to.
Yesterday we talked book size, by page number, word count, and the dimensions of the paperback copy. He suggested 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, which looks like standard trade size. That makes the page count and printing costs reasonable. Some of you might think, "The page count?" and then figure it out after thinking about it for a second, but basically smaller pages mean more pages because less text per page and visa versa. Too small and the book gets thicker than it needs, too big and it's super thin and awkward to hold.
There is only one picture in the book, so that's easy and won't cost any extra dough. The word count stands at around 75.5k, which is standard for this type of book. We discussed cover options, which include my making it myself from a boring template, my paying him to make it, or my having someone else make it for me. We are going with a mix of a and c. I've got a friend coming out soon to take the pictures I'll be using for the covers, and Ray sent me the files I need to build it. Wife is good with computers, so we'll probably work together to get that done.
The only things left for me to write, aside from a check, are the back of book blurb and the sales blurb that will go on amazon and B&N and anywhere else it ends up. The wife is doing a sprint finish to try and get through her reading of the book to catch any last grammar/formatting problems and then it's off to Ray and he starts doing his magic. I want to get the text to him by the end of this week, and after that I don't think the process will take too long.
I'll be asking a ton of favors when the book comes out because the only way it's going to sell is if people talk it up. There will be Twitter and Facebook games, and I'll shamelessly beg you all to go on amazon and leave reviews. The only way books move up lists on their sales and suggestions pages are with high-star reviews, so that's going to be key for spreading the word. I'm also following a ton of ed bloggers on the twitters, so I'll probably send a few free digital copies out to them in hopes of a review.
Speaking of the twitters, I'm on there @TheWeirdTeacher so follow me why don't you for up-to-the-when-I-get-to-it news and updates about the book.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dr Seuss Presentation

My Seuss presentation at SDE Las Vegas was fantastic. The audience was great and they played along with me, I feel like I got some good information out there, and hopefully inspired some lessons.
The tab at the top of the page will lead you to any links you need to get at the Discovering Seuss information.
Here's a fun little Vine we made during the presentation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What a Weird Teacher Does For Fun in Vegas

**Not a chapter from the book (maybe the second book though...)**
I'm in Las Vegas for the SDE Differentiated Instruction National Conference, at which I'm presenting a talk on Discovering Seuss: Using the Good Doctor in Your Classroom.
I'm lame. I don't drink. I'm too poor to gamble. I don't really enjoy crowds. And while I've met some very nice people we haven't made plans to hang out outside of the conference. So I'm alone a lot.
How alone? I went to the gym today. Yep, go to Vegas, go to the gym.
But that isn't the nerdiest thing I did today.
I was wandering around the Venitian looking for something to eat and I saw a sign for a place called I <3 Burgers. Sounds like my kind of place so I made my way in that general direction. By the way, one of the best, if not the best burger I've ever had. I got the Oregon Trail. So yummy.
On the way, I had to pass through some shops. Expensive shops. We're having a sale and you can get a shirt for only $99 shops. And in the midst of all these places a vision...
A Rare Book Store.
 Some people are suckers for clothes or movies. I'm a sucker for rare books and music. Hours. Hours and hours and hours. It's like crack. I love first editions. I don't know why. Because I love books, and a first edition, especially the old ones where you can tell the work that went into the binding and gluing. I love the smell.
So in the middle of one of the prettiest, most expensive hotels on The Strip, I wandered around a rare book store, took pictures, and made small and not-so-small happy noises. Keep in mind, these are first editions and signed copies. These are crazy expensive, like with a comma, sometimes a big one. They are kept behind glass.
So cool.
Two Vonnegut books Cat's Cradle  and Slaughterhouse 5. Signed and drawn in my the man himself. Come home with me.

First Edition Twains.

Chronicles of Narnia. Winnie the Pooh.

The Raven!!! With woodcut illustrations. Gah!

To Kill a Mockingbird. War of the Worlds. Huck Finn. Holy crap.

Catcher in the Rye!

Signed Maurice Sendak drawing of Max holding a sign, "For Jessica". Be on my wall. Now!
Honestly made an out loud happy noise at these.

Two first edition Seuss books. I could touch and smell them. They smelled wonderful.

Leather-bound Macbeth script. Shakespeare Works. Moby Dick.

Catch-22! The Shining. More excited about Heller, but King is great too.

Leather bound and embossed Tom Sawyer.
The big thrills for me were the Macbeth, the Sendak art, both Vonnegut books, and The Raven. I might walk back there tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Whisper Shouting

*from a chapter on overhearing student conversations*

I was in the back of the room when I heard it. A whisper-shout. You’ve all heard the whisper-shout. Children don’t understand how sound travels, but they do know that whispering makes your voice quieter. How quiet they aren’t sure. This is why a child will crawl into your ear canal to tell you a secret and you still won’t be able to hear it because they refuse to vibrate the necessary vocal cords too much in case anyone else is in there with them. Conversely, if the person you are trying to whisper at is more than thirteen inches away you must whisper-shout at them, putting as much breath behind your whisper as possible. That way they hear you, but the teacher in the back of the room does not. How could he? You’re whispering.
Whisper-shouting is not uncommon in classrooms, and being able to hear them is not a special skill, though I let my students think that it is. “It’s a superpower,” I tell them, “which I learned in Teacher School. I can hear anything.” They don’t buy it at first, until I make them believe. Thou Shalt Catch Behaviors Early. I am extremely focused on catching little things early in the year, that way the class becomes convinced they will get caught if they try to get away with things. It’s the same way elephant trainers get full-grown elephants to stay by tying them to a stick in the ground. When the elephant is a baby it is unable to pull the stick free, so as an adult it doesn’t even try. Catch students pulling at the stick early in the year, by second quarter they’ve stopped trying so hard.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Forward

Quick Update:

I'm about 21 chapters into my third read-through of the book and remain proud and happy with it. I still think it says everything I want to say. In fact, there have been times in the last month when I've either though of something I didn't say and wanted to add that I later realized I had put in, or when I thought of something new and had to stop myself from adding a new chapter. I'll save those ideas for next time.
Today I got the forward, which was written by a former student and her mom. It's...wonderful. It is so cool, you guys. I can't wait until everyone reads the book, but now I can't wait until everyone reads the forward. I love it. I was so lucky to have this child in my classroom.
Anyway, the time approaches. We are done with the move, my Dr Seuss presentation is finished and now I'm practicing and fine-tuning. That happens on the 18th. Soon I'll be able to focus on the finishing touches and getting the book out to the publisher. I still haven't taken the cover picture, and I think the props might have gotten packed, which will mean it will be the very last thing to happen. Need our stuff to get here first. That's ok.
Thank you for reading.