As I enter my tenth year in education, I never cease to be amazed by the quantity of meaningful content created by teachers and students all over the country. I have seen beautiful student poetry and art in school hallways. I have laughed as a teacher read journal entries to me from her first year teaching diary. I have also seen a teacher who was struggling in the classroom come alive when delivering a poem about his identity.
These moments are opportunities that allow you to elevate your voice, share your perspectives, and inspire others. One way to do that is through self-publishing.
If you don’t think you have something worth sharing, you do. Keep reading to find steps you can take to publishing your work or the work of your students. So, dust off those short stories, student poems, funny journal entries, doodles, sketches, and other forms of written or visual art, and follow these five steps:
-Poetry and short stories written by you or your students
-A collection of anecdotes that your students say and do
-A chapter book in which each chapter tells a story about a student that taught you an important lesson (e.g., patience or compassion)
-That children’s book you’ve been dying to write
-A collection of your favorite writing prompts (e.g., 100 warm-ups your students will love)
-A collection of quotes teachers can read for different purposes
2) Backwards Plan
Once you have identified your content, map out how you will organize and create the content. For my journal, it was a simple spreadsheet that allowed me to slowly build my content. Once I had a spreadsheet that divided my book into 45, manageable chunks of content, I committed to filling out 3-5 rows every day until my entire spreadsheet journal was written.
3) Begin The Design Phase
Once your writing is complete, the fun part begins: the design phase. First, you want to identify what software you want to use. I used Microsoft Publisher because it’s free and easy to use. For a list of free and paid options, check out this article.
Then, you will want a template you can build on. There are plenty of free, downloadable templates for all types of book sizes. If you know the size that you want your finished product to be, a simple internet search such as “6x9 chapter book templates” will yield a variety of options.
If you’re anything like me, you want your finished product to have beautiful graphics and designs. To create free, high-resolution graphics for inside my book, I used Canva. To find a royalty-free, high resolution image for my cover, I used Pixabay.
4) Pick Your Publisher
There are a variety of self-publishing companies on the internet to choose from. This phase can at times take a bit longer than designing your book, so make sure to time it accordingly. Two publishers I recommend are, The Book Patch, who can turn around large quantities in a relatively short time frame for a low price, and Kindle Direct Publishing, who can print books on demand and allows you to sell them on Amazon.com to people all over the country (and world).
5) Promote your work
If you choose Kindle Direct Publishing as your publisher, you can start promoting and selling (or gifting) your book within 24 hours on Amazon.com. If you opt for ordering your books and selling them yourself, it typically only takes a week to get your first copies.
Then, enjoy telling the world about the awesome book you just published. Share it on your social media pages. Take it to conferences. Gift it to friends and ask them to tweet about it. In short, share!
And, most importantly, enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with learning new skills, believing in your gift, and elevating your voice past the four walls of your classroom.
Carla Rivera-Cruz (CRC) is an educator and entrepreneur committed to helping like-minded educators reach their fullest potentials.