Friday, August 21, 2009

Create a Teacher's Guide for Your Book

Do you have a book that is trembling on the precipice of being released? Think your job is over? Of course not. We all know we have to market and promote.

But what about creating a teacher's guide to go with your book?

Feel like you'd be going to the place where "no one has gone before?" Posh. Lots of folks create teacher's guide to help make their book more marketable and open the school market to their book.

What should you consider when creating a teacher's guide? First, if your book does not seem to be something you can use in the classroom, think again. Step back and look at your book. For example, my book deals indirectly with the Middle Ages. It deals with the Knights Templar. It deals with (albeit in a round about way) pirates on the high seas in the 1800s. It deals with a real-to-life treasure. What kid wouldn't want to have their teacher use a teacher's guide that deals with those topics?

Frankly, I thought my book, a middle grade urban fantasy, fell outside the realm of a teacher's guide. But, my publisher saw more in my book than I did, and both she and a writer friend encouraged me to write one. So, I'm working on one. It is in its infancy stages, but it's coming along.

What do you include? You can create (like me) a treasure map. You can create a simple crossword puzzle (there are puzzle creators available online), you can do a word search. How about discussion questions about an aspect of your book? In mine, that will be about the Middle Ages. There's no limit to what you can do, and the more interactive guide you can make, the better off you'll be. You can also query your friends and see if they have created a teacher's guide and what has and hasn't worked for them.

A teacher's guide is just another tool in your marketing and promoting arsenal. Create one, and open a whole new market for your book.


Margaret Fieland said...

Katie, thanks for the interesting post. I do admit that I find the thought of writing a teacher's guide intimidating --

on the other hand, I've got a collection of math poems -- if I get it accepted for publication (or I decide to self-publish) a teacher's guide sounds like a good idea.

Ack! Do keep us posted on your progress.

Margaret Fieland

elysabeth said...

Remember when creating the teacher's guide to follow national standards for that grade level as well as subject. Katie, for yours, Middle Ages, would fall in the realm of history and you need to make sure that if this is geared for middle schoolers that the info falls in the standards for history or social studies. I'll send you the National Standards for social studies.

With me, I've put science experiements and ELA (discussion questions or research projects fall in this realm) and I've had the help of a teacher to make sure I am staying within the standards for the targeted grade and curriculum.

Margaret, don't let it intimidate you because we are just making the books more accessible to kids where they most likely wouldn't get it otherwise. Of course, there are some books that are purely entertainment and no teacher's guide is necessary.

Great post, Katie. I'm glad you finally decided to work on one. I have one problem with your description - the treasure obviously isn't real since no one has found it and no matter how deep they dig, it is not to be found. It's a legend more than real life treasure. So that would be a way to go - talking about legends and how they come about, et cetera. You also have the potential to go cross curriculum with your guide as well - once you add discussion questions or research projects, you just put it in the ELA. You can add some map skills probably with some math skills in there as well. (I just did mine for the third book and simple math - like word problems - Route 66 used to be one roadway with many stops throughout, but with the Interstate system, you cannot drive straight through the complete route now. If you could drive it straight through, nonstop, at 60 miles per hour, how long would it take you to drive the entire route from east to west (Route 66 is about 2248 miles long)? - this is not exactly the wording I used but you get the idea of how you are using map and math skills together.

You can have them create a "treasure" map of sorts. There are many things you can do with the teacher's guide. Good luck and looking forward to seeing what you come up with - E :)

elysabeth said...

forgot to follow the comments so I can see when others reply - doing that now - E :)

Carol J. Amato said...

Teacher's guides are my specialty. I've written several in the past, including some to accompany the books in my middle-grade mystery series, The Phantom Hunters.

The first book, The Lost Treasure of the Golden Sun, takes place on the Navajo Nation. The teacher's guide has information on the book, the Navajos, and Arizona, which kids study in the 4th grade in Arizona and the 5th grade in California.

The second book, The Secret of Blackhurst Manor, takes place in England and deals with the Romans in Britain. Kids in California study Ancient Rome in the 6th grade.

I will be speaking at the Muse Conference again this year on creating teacher's guides.

Carol J. Amato

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Intereting post, Katie. Best of luck with your Teacher's Guides. I took note incase I do one someday. The comments are helpful too.


Carol J. Amato said...

I forgot to mention, Katie, that I'm so glad to hear you did a teacher's guide for your book. You are correct that your book will be perfect for the grades that are studying the middle ages.