Linda Zajac: Four Unofficial Guides to Minecraft

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Series: My Minecraft Alternator Books (Grade Level: 3–6)
Linda Zajac
Lerner; August 1, 2020; $9.99 (paperback), $21.99 (library binding)
Creative Mode: ISBN-10: 1728414563; ISBN-13: 978-1728414560
Enchantments: ISBN-10: 172841458X; ISBN-13: 978-1728414584
Maps: ISBN-10: 1728414555; ISBN-13: 978-1728414553
Redstone: ISBN-10: 1728414571: ISBN-13: 978-1728414577
eBooks also available

Zajac reports:

I was asked to write this four-book series, which covers various aspects of Minecraft game play. I had worked with this publisher before on two other Minecraft books for kids

The time frame was exceptionally tight. The publisher wanted four books with glossaries and STEM/coding sidebars in less than three months. During that time there were two major holidays and I had a five-day vacation booked. Although it seemed like an impossible task, I took the job because I didn’t have any commitments at the time and I like a challenge.

Linda Zajac

Linda Zajac

To get a visual sense of my outline and text due dates, I wrote the eight deadlines in my planner. Then I raided the library and checked out every young adult and adult Minecraft book that was on the shelf. Systematically, I scanned through each source, making a list of the pages that pertained to my topics. This way, I knew which books I needed for each of my subjects. Although some outlines weren’t due until December, I finished all of them in a week. Psychologically, checking off half my deadlines was a huge stress reliever.

I tackled the books in the order they were due. Whenever I was at a loss for words, I’d switch to the next book and work on that one for a while. During this flurry of writing, I also received additional unrelated work, so, I ended up taking work with me on vacation. I met all my deadlines, but it was close. I turned in the final book on the day it was due.

Shortly after the books were done, I received a screenshot wishlist for each book. The screenshots were fun, but they took time. I devised redstone contraptions, built the Mark Twain House, and designed a working rollercoaster. You can see the rollercoaster and other redstone contraptions in these videos:

I wish I had known that the screenshots the publisher asked for early on would end up on the actual covers. I didn’t squander time, though, so I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Contact info: -

Buy The Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Creative Mode, The Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Enchantments, The Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Maps, and The Unofficial Guide to Minecraft Redstone now in the ScienceWriters bookstore. Your purchase helps support NASW programs and services.

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Hero image credit: Caleb Meeds

Aug. 5, 2020

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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