There are many misconceptions about writing and publishing a book. The first and maybe largest myth is how long it takes to write a book. The second is how long it takes to bring a book to market. I’m hoping to debunk both of those myths in my latest project.
I wrote my last book in the matter of a few months…and then the publisher took it for a few months to edit, format, edit again, format again, get reviews, format one more time…and then finally release a month after it was scheduled to release.
I have no problems with my publisher (in fact I think they do great work), but book publishing doesn’t have to be this way.
The writing process only took 60-90 days…but the publishing process took much longer.
In the next four weeks I’m going to change that with my latest book. Here is my plan of action, and I will keep you updated on the progress through this blog:
Day 1 (12/19/14): I currently have the title for the book (Learning By Choice), the overall chapter outline (10 chapters and an introduction), and how I’m breaking down each of those chapters.
- Chapter 1: Choice in Instruction
- Chapter 2: Choice in Content
- Chapter 3: Choice in Assessment
- Chapter 4: Choice in Differentiation
- Chapter 5: Choice in Communication
- Chapter 6: Choice in Collaboration
- Chapter 7: Choice in Technology
- Chapter 8: Choice in Presentation
- Chapter 9: Choice in Time/Order
- Chapter 10: Choice in Purpose
I’m looking for a 20,000-25,000 manuscript (shorter book) that I can sell via Kindle Direct Publishing.
This book is partly a follow-up to my traditionally published title, Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom, as it touches on practical ways to bring choice into the classroom.
I also have a working outline of each chapter…so I’m not starting from complete scratch, but this is just the basics.
Plan for today is to finalize my bulleted outline of the book and write the introduction. I will keep you posted!
Day 2 (12/20/14): I finished the bulleted outline for the entire book. The way I do it is like an old school Roman numeral type of outline with indented sub-topics for the chapter. Here’s an example of one of my chapter’s outline:
Chapter: Choice in time/order
- Story: The Gamified Class
- Are we looking for process or understanding?
- Many ways to get to understanding
- Choice in how the game is played
- Playing the game of school article?
- Why: Mastery always wins
- The results of mastery learning
- Choice in time…with some restrictions
- Extending the classroom rethinks the possibilities
- Why MOOCs work and don’t work
- Why online/blended courses work and don’t work
- The end goal has to be understanding and demonstrated ability
- How to do it:
- Start with the end goal (UBD)
- What are a variety of ways students can achieve this understanding/ability/skill?
- Provide pathways and formative assessments
- Badges tied to authentic tasks
- self-assessment and reflection
- Variety of presentations to show understanding
- Gamified class stuff
- UBD resources
- Online/Blended learning
As you can see it is not too detailed of an outline, but each point is very general and broad. When I go to write the rough draft of the chapter I then can expect to spend a few paragraphs on each point. I’m aiming for 2000-2500 words per chapter, followed by a resource that teachers can use in the classroom.
I feel pretty good about the flow of the book and how it is going to be helpful in each section. Although I’m not calling this a “how-to” book…it has those elements to it that make it extremely valuable throughout each chapter.
That’s it for Day 2…hoping to finish the Intro tomorrow.
Day 3 (12/21/14): Well I was not as productive as I wanted to be today, but I still finished the introduction. It is still rough and needs editing, but it serves as a perfect opening to the idea of choice in the classroom.
Part of the reason I was not productive was how quick I was able to finish the intro. That may sound counterintuitive but here is the problem. I based the introduction on a blog post I wrote almost a year ago. I tweaked, added, and moved around some different pieces to the post until it was a great fit. But instead of moving on to Chapter 1…I sat back and decided I didn’t need to write anymore for the day. I’m thinking that type of productivity might burn me later on down this road.
Day 4 (12/22/14): I went on a power writing spree today. Although I did not completely finish Chapter 1 (or 2 or 3)…I did write over 5,000 words. I wrote most of the first two sections of Chapters 1, 2, and 3. The stories were personal and real, so they did not take long to write. However, I continually got stuck when it came time to walk my readers through the “how to do it” section of each chapter. I might have to go back and add extra layers to this outline to get it easier to write.
I was listening to the Self-Publishing Podcast and the guys were talking about writing beats. Basically it is what I’m trying to do with the outline but very much more in depth with what to write. I can see the benefit to speed and efficiency when the outline is more detailed because I was caught up in the exact steps of ‘how to do it’ instead of just writing it as a draft and powering through the rest of the chapter.