The Magic Carpet is available at http://getbook.at/TheMagicCarpet
Hallo teachers! Would you like to write a book?
2) Teachers are skilled in keeping attention, communicating at different paces with hooks to attract interest. They learn to avoid slow, dragging lessons or rushed delivery that doesn’t stick. They identify those special points that keep an audience listening. Authors who can’t do this are unreadable.
3) Teachers read aloud, noticing who’s still in touch and who’s daydreaming. This good practice is the best way for authors to check their own words make sense and have impact.
4) Teachers correct mistakes. All authors should consult a professional editor and/or proof reader before publishing, but teachers’ marking expertise can save some paid hours by ensuring the best possible presentation first.
5) Teachers check coherence, improving work from first to final draft. That avoids the heartache of poor reviews when readers spot an 11-month pregnancy or a hero killed off twice.
6) Once published, teachers can visit schools to run workshops (Covid permitting). An ex head teacher sold 300+ books at my last school after giving a brilliant assembly.
What may catch teachers out:
1) The average UK author earns under £10k, with no perks. Writing is less tiring than teaching, but there’s equally intense emotional involvement and less physical exercise. Don’t give up the day job too soon!
2) School writing rules are sometimes reversed in the publishing world. Dialogue tags other than “said” are out of fashion, although we teach pupils of all ages to use a variety of verbs and build their general vocabularies. Editors ration adverbs, slash description and reject the passive voice. Teachers award marks for clever language use but commercial publishers say they can’t sell it.
3) The creative writing world sets (even) more rules than schools do. They’re subject to fashion and aren’t clearly agreed on or displayed. However originally written, a book that doesn’t fit genre formulas is unlikely to get published. Be sensitive to diversity and “own voice” issues. Publisher approval is mainly subjective.
4) Lesson 1 is POV, and romances must have HEA endings. Otherwise there are fewer acronyms than in education. But writers or illustrators for young children must learn picture book production conventions. If the story doesn’t fit them nobody will ever publish it.
5) Learn marketing early – start before writing chapter 1. Marketing’s my Friday afternoon subject, explained much better in online articles or writers’ guides. But basically, just keep shouting out! With attention seeking cheek learned in class, when Clemency posted online review requests for middle grade fiction, I offered The Magic Carpet which is about middle grade readers, not for them. She graciously accepted anyway and is now hosting this post. Readers may not know my book even exists, let alone read it, and my new audience don’t, like pupils, get sanctioned for not listening. So I seek and appreciate bloggers like Clemency and repay their publicity help if I can.
I still like setting homework. Yours is to hand in one book, by 2022 latest. I look forward to the reviews on Clemency’s blog. Good luck!
©Jessica Norrie 2020
Meet Jessica Norrie
Jessica Norrie was born in London and studied French Literature and Education at Sussex and Sheffield. She taught English, French and Spanish abroad and in the UK in settings ranging from nursery to university. She has two adult children and divides her time between London and Malvern, Worcestershire.
The Infinity Pool is available at http://getbook.at/TheInfintyPool and also in French and German translations as Infinitude and Der Infinity-Pool.