Thursday, March 6, 2014

Finding a Class Reading my Novel

 I work as both a writer and as a substitute teacher. The two are mostly unconnected although talking to kids helps me to think of ideas for my writing and to make my characters really talk like the kids do. Recently, walking through the hall before school. I found myself suddenly surrounded by a group of girls, "Mrs Goode! We are reading your book. I love the way you go back and forth in time,"
and on and on while I stand amazed.

That is WHY!!

  I found out it is Mrs. Hooper and her class reading it. A few informed me which 1 kid doesn't like it. I actually laughed - 1 kid doesn't? That is such a Win! Thank you Sandi !  I am lucky because this wonderful teacher first read my book with her book club, a group of a dozen adults, and chose to share it with her class.  And then I am also lucky because a class set of 38 books was purchased last year by the school district's instructional media center.

 Of course, that kind of luck starts with some book promotion on my part and it is hard for me to add promoting and sales to an already busy life as a mom, teacher, writer. It is also not the best match with the shy, observer type personality that a writer tends to be, but years of teaching have taught me too, and I can speak up when I have to.

So one of the best bits of advice that I read on Twitter was the suggestion that every free copy of your book that you put out into the world is an ambassador, working away while you are not looking, to promote your writing.

In this case, I gave a copy of my book to a 5th grade teacher, she read it and suggested it to her book club, which bought 10 copies.  Then they had me come talk to them.  I also gave a book to another substitute teacher, she gave it to her husband, who gave it to the director of curriculum, who gave it to the IMC Librarian with the instructions to go to Amazon and order a class set.

It doesn't always work so well. A lot of give away books, I never hear about again, but some result in wonderful reviews on Goodreads or in blog posts.

 So, three day later I was back at the school where they had started my novel.  This time the reaction was bigger even than before. The kids surrounded me at the bus line, asking me to autograph their arms or notebooks or scraps of paper and begging to know specific details from the book,

"Why did you start the story in St. Louis?"

"Have you ever ridden to the top of the Gateway Arch?"

"Is that Old Grandma really based on yours?"

 And now I have kids, telling me that they want to be writers, and asking me how.

I have kids asking for a sequel

and when I tell them that the next book has been begun

and that it is about Volcanoes and Pompeii and My. St. Helens and connecting two boys through 1901 years, they sound as excited as I do.

 I find that I did get to visit many of the Oregon Trail sites as I researched and wrote, but I probably won't get near Pompeii or Vesuvius, and yet I have learned to travel without ever leaving my desk, and to take classrooms full of kids with me on the journey and I thank my lucky starts every day for this gift.

No comments:

Post a Comment