Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Independent Authors in the Classroom: An Interview with Ned Rozell

Recently, two middle school teachers chose Ned Rozell's Natural Alaska; Life on the Edge, a selection of essays about how northern creatures survive at the fringe of their ranges, as a textbook for their English classes. Rozell published the book with the help of Amazon's Createspace. He’s delighted that seventh and eighth graders are reading the essays and are such attentive listeners during his presentations following their readings.

I asked Ned to say a bit more about how independent authors can work with classroom teachers.

You wrote your book for adults. How did it happen that two middle school teachers decided to use it in their classrooms?

I always envision my Mom as my reader. She was a school nurse and fantastic tennis player who didn’t know an ATP molecule from STP gasoline additive. I don’t assume readers are experts in anything. I’m certainly not.

What prompted you to speak to the classes? What did you include in your presentations?

The teachers asked me to present. I gave them “The Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Alaska,” a Powerpoint about things that make Alaska different, such as nuclear bombs being detonated a mile beneath one of our islands.

What advice would you give authors about getting their books into schools?

I have none. Marketing is the weak part of my game. I’m just glad these teachers found it and helped me learn that engaged middle-schoolers are a great audience for my writing.

You’ve published both traditionally and independently. What made you decide to publish this book with Createspace?

Typical author frustrations of no marketing support and little control over my product with traditional publishers nudged me to self-publishing options. The smile that comes to my face when Createspace emails me a weekly report of the books I’ve sold tells me I made the right decision.

What made you decide to join an independent authors cooperative?

As we’ve all watched the erosion of traditional publishing houses and newspapers printed on paper, some of us have wondered what’s next. The independent authors cooperative is one of the answers.