Indie Publishing a book as a writing assignment

By day I teach first grade, I don’t teach high school.  But I had this thought, could publishing a book be a good assignment for class?  Teacher’s rightfully check and grade student writing.  But once in the real world waiting for one person to grade us doesn’t really work, especially if you are a writer.  Writers, and other creative projects for that matter, are graded on how they are received by hundreds or thousands of readers and fans.  Not exactly the same sort of model presented in a classroom where one teacher tells you weather or not your book or writing works.  One person left a 3 star review of my book on Amazon saying that the story I wrote was boringly written, and that if I had I taken her class she would given me a C+.  Fair enough.  But I’m not in her class.

I got plenty of these in my lifetime.

I got plenty of these in my lifetime.

Other people have liked the book, does that make their feedback any less correct or worthy because they may or may not teach a class?

So I didn’t please the reviewer.

But the review got me thinking about grading and gatekeepers.  I know, a strange combination.

In the working world, if writing was their job, students could be in a situation where pleasing just one person, i.e. a boss.

But pleasing just one person isn’t where the 21st century is headed.  Students will need to know how to relate to hundreds or thousands of different people.

Trying to please many different unknown bosses, i.e. readers, is a much more difficult challenge.  How do you know what thousands of people will like and want to read?  It maybe easier to please just one person.

Here’s why I think it would be an interesting idea for an assignment.

1. The students are creating.

2. The students are writing.

3. The students should be communiating with others to edit and proof their work.

4. Students should be showing good digital citizenship by marketing their book.

We need to prepare students to relate to large groups of people and not just one person.  How can we do that?  Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “Indie Publishing a book as a writing assignment

  1. Liz

    Reviews are a funny thing. Whether it be a restaurant, hotel, app, album or thrill ride, reviews are inconsistent. Typical experience: most people give the restaurtant 4 or 5 stars and share some things they enjoyed about their experience. Then, there is that one person who gives the place a royal roasting. But think of the people you know. Isn’t there that one person (or maybe two) who would complain about a $100 gift if the bill was dirty? So, it stands to reason that the one critical reviewer is probably one of those people who complain about everything. If one review is bad, I chalk it up to the complainers of the world. If there are two or more reviews citing the same issues or concerns, then I’ll tune in.
    If a teacher happens to be one of the complainers, take the C+ and run.

  2. mctiller

    I had gotten another 3 star review, but it didn’t catch my attention. This review wouldn’t have gotten my attention expect for the teacher remark at the end. That’s the part that really got me thinking. Do teacher opinions really matter in this case?
    I even got a 1 star review recently because the person bought the book for Kindergarteners and it was too hard for them to read. Which is really a review of the blurb about the book and not about the actual book. But I did add info after that review saying “This is for second graders.” That didn’t even get to me.
    But for whatever reason having a teacher tell me that I would have gotten a C+ got me thinking.


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