Jane Stein: Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J


Jane J. Stein (NASW member), with illustrations by Pamela A. Duckworth
Montview Press, July 2014, hardcover, $24.95; paper, $17.95
ISBN: Hardcover, 978-0-9661005-1-9; paper, 978-0-9961005-0-2

Stein reports:

How does a longtime health and science writer end up writing a children’s book about a globe-traveling teacher?

After the death of my mother — the globe trotter — in 1999, I found notes from her 1963 trip around-the-world. They sparked the idea for the book.

Jane Stein

I began my research by reading a lot of children’s books, asking librarians which were their favorites, and which were kids’ favorites. After a while, I conceptualized the book as a series of letters from 14 countries, plus Hong Kong, with sidebars providing historical information. I included fun facts, websites to visit, and activities that kids ages 8-12 enjoy trying or learning about, such as a word search for England, a bull going through a maze for Spain, a recipe from France, and flower arranging for Japan.

Writing was the easy part of Dear Class: Traveling Around the World with Mrs. J. Getting it published was harder.

For my previous books — Making Medical Choices and Decisions for Healthy Living — I went through the time-honored process of getting an agent and a traditional publisher. Several agents loved the idea of Dear Class, but no one took it up.

After two years of searching for an agent, I decided to self-publish. A graphic designer who worked for me on several projects when I ran The Stein Group, a publications management firm, came up with a creative way to portray the letters. A friend drew charming illustrations, and voila, there was my book.

Getting it into print was the next step. I had to make decisions traditional publishers ordinarily handle for the author, ranging from the size of the book and choice of paper, to pricing and marketing. I went with Ingram Spark, a large book printer and distributor, as a way to get my book into stores and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’ve had book-signing events in a couple of stores, and look forward to more. Happy travels.

Contact info:

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion.

Tell your fellow NASW members tell how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you started working on your book, or had done differently.

See https://www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines.

Send info and images to Lynne Lamberg, NASW book editor, llamberg@nasw.org.

September 17, 2014

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines for information on submitting your report.

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