School ended yesterday and I am able to breathe and reflect before the end of the year. Foremost in mind is the progress of Lost Apple, my debut novel released in June this year. Six months have passed during which time I have realized many things about myself and about the life of writing. For fear of becoming mawkish, I will refrain from sharing my frustrations and jump to the heart of the matter: I have chosen a difficult path to follow. Self-publishing means just that, self-publishing. It is up to me to get this book noticed, and I have done a poor job of it so far. Writing a book is a far different matter than selling it, and far easier. I have sold few in half a year because of a combination of this learning curve and my available time commitment. But this does not concern me as much as certain misconceptions I have encountered with potential readers. Some of those misconceptions I would like to identify and respond to, especially those I have encountered with fellow educators:
Your book sounds learning interesting, but I don’t have a lot of time to read.
Well, there’s nothing I can do about this. Either you make the time or not. Reading, however, is a vital part of life, especially for teachers. If we are going to ask kids to read and become “life-long learners” it only makes sense that we model this lifestyle ourselves. Yes, I want you to read Lost Apple, but even if you don’t, you should be reading, and reading fiction as a regular part of your life. I counter the argument that there isn’t time to read with my own example. I am a middle school teacher. I have three kids of my own and I am very active on a weekly basis in my religious organization. And yet I plow through books like a blade through soft loam. How? By always having my reading material with me, whether in printed or electronic form. All those quick trips to the grocery store, where the wife runs in and grabs one thing, that’s 5-10 mins. of reading time. Riding buses and trains, standing in lines, sitting in coffee shops, etc., etc., I am always reading. You would be amazed at how much can be read in brief increments throughout one’s day. It’s really a matter of one’s priorities.
I am looking to read about education, but this is a novel and I don’t read a lot of fiction.
If you don’t like reading fiction, the Lost Apple may not be for you. However, if you like reading about education this novel approaches it in a way that may just be far more satisfying than reading pure theory and methodology. Education, especially the history of is philosophical development is one of the most fascinating subjects one can pursue, but most education writing is as dry as the plains of Mars. I wrote Lost Apple as a sort of primer, or door into the fascinating process of how and why we pass on culture to our offspring.
I don’t like science fiction.
Lost Apple is not science fiction. It is literary fiction, or better yet, just fiction. There are few, if any implausible or fantastic elements in the novel at all. On the other hand there is a great deal of metaphor and references to Western mythology and philosophy. When I have encountered this bizarre misconception, I have chalked it up to a general misunderstanding of genre and an aversion to fiction on the part of the given person.
I don’t have an e-reader, so I’ll have to wait until it comes out in print.
This is by far the biggest misconception out there! I published Lost Apple as an e-book, but I don’t have an e-reader either. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and all the other companies marketing e-books want them to be bought. They all have free apps and cloud drives available for that purpose and Lost Apple is available on all of them. If you have a Kindle you can read Lost Apple. If you have a Nook you can read it. An iPad? An iPhone? Any other tablet or Android device? You can download and read Lost Apple on all of them. You can also download a PDF file to read on your laptop, or print out if you are so inclined. With e-books the formatting possibilities are such that the book is as accessible as print, perhaps even more so. And concerning print, I do not have plans to bring the book to print at any time in the foreseeable future. Even with today’s new print-on-demand technologies, that will cost me more than I can presently afford. Yes, I too prefer the feel of a printed book in my hand, but I am learning to enjoy e-books too. The ground has shifted beneath our feet and we need to move with it. To reject e-books as somehow lesser than paper books is as silly as saying a song recorded on a vinyl LP is more real than the same song downloaded and played on an iPod.
So I will close with this, my last big plug of the year: please download and enjoy Lost Apple this holiday season! And all the best to you and yours for the New Year!