I have admitted it before: I am a teacher. Judge me as you may …
Over twenty years ago, a part of me decided that I would trade personal wealth for a career as a teacher, and for that, I make no apologies. I knew then what my choice of career entailed. I also knew from my many college friends, all with Engineering or Accounting degrees, going off to land double digit salaries straight out of college, that I was never going to be about that life.
Every teacher knows we don’t enter the profession for the paycheck. No doubt, much like Taylor Mali, comedian and teacher, in this video, I have been the butt of many jokes among my more financially solvent friends. It is OK. Like all teachers, I know what I make …
I make a difference. No shrugging that off.
But, yet and still, I find it infuriating when people in the media say teachers make too much money. I notice it is usually reformy types who hope to find a way to profit off our craft. I find it almost hilarious when I hear them say our pensions are draining our national economy. Last I checked, my pension, after nearly three decades of teaching, is just about enough for me to buy a nice trailer somewhere in Florida. Now, mind you, this thrifty teacher sees nothing wrong with retiring in an inexpensive home, and Florida is beautiful, but I better not last long, as I certainly won’t be able to afford health insurance.
Hence, at almost fifty, and near the end of a long and rewarding career as a public school teacher, I realize I need to hone my skills into a second career. What that career will be? I am not sure. I just know I better spend some time, while I have it, to branch out. Last summer, I tried my hand at Ebay. The summer before, I ran a fairly successful you tube channel about couponing. I have even kicked around travel agent work. Of course, there is always waitressing, but, as I mentioned before, my aging bones may not agree.
This summer, however, I am trying my hand at publishing books. So far, I am off to a great start. Yesterday, I launched my free promotion in honor of one of the teacher activism pages I helped to start: Wear Red for Ed. I also shared the promotion with another group I am proud to help admin: The Badass Teachers Association. I was thrilled to see friends and fellow teachers share my book with their many parent friends, especially in the various Opt Out groups.
For those interested in a side career in publishing, especially on Amazon, the results of my first promotion are amazing. Granted, I was lucky and Dr. Diane Ravitch, leading historian on education, promoted my book in her education blog. That helped quite a bit ! Thousands visited my landing page. All in all, in one day, I managed to convince over 1200 people to download my book free. Sure, I did not make a penny but had I charged for the book, at the going rate of $2.99 a download, after Amazon charges, I would have net $2 a download … or a total of $2468.00 in just one day.
Wowzers. To a teacher, that’s good money…
Of course, had the book not been free, I am sure it would be difficult to convince over a thousand people to download my book. After all, this is my first book and they don’t know me from jack. This fact I can prove because I did indeed attempt to sell my book the week before. I sold so few books that week, embarrassingly, that my book rankings rolled off the Amazon chart, indicating 250,000 people had more popular books then mine. That is never good.
So, the free promotion was a way to introduce people to my writing. And, truth be told, this first book, Meh. When A Teacher Shrugs, is so special to me, personally, I wanted to share it with the people who stand beside me every day fighting for our public schools. Thus, the promotion was my gift to them … to you … to the world. I am thrilled at the feedback I received. Thank you so much to everyone who downloaded my book. A special thanks to those who left me feedback on my Amazon page. I want to encourage all who enjoyed the book to leave a rating and comment on Amazon. Thanks !
I could go on forever about the amazing day I had yesterday. It was a full day of work, posting, promoting, sharing, commenting, and cheering. I managed to make it to the number 1 spot for my book category: Teen & Youth Fiction. I also made it to number 3 for Young Adult Literature (a true thrill for this Literature teacher). Amazon updates their rankings periodically throughout the day, so it was quite exciting watching my book make it’s way to number 1 in its category. At one point, my overall Amazon ranking fell to under 1,000. I was thrilled and hollering, ‘No commas, baby’ all over my house!
What a day! For those interested in trying their hand at this endeavor, I do recommend you give it a go ! Check out these screenshots of yesterday. And remember, everyone has a story to be told. Teachers, students, and parents … it is time to tell our stories !
Here are the pictures from yesterday’s promotion. I started with no ranking (ie – I was ranked greater than 250,000. The lower the number better. No ranking is no good.)
After half a day of a free promotion, Amazon updated their rankings and I landed in the number 3 spot for one category and just over 2,000 overall. (One comma had me cheering!)
After another few hours, I reached # 1 in my category!
By the evening, and after Dr. Ravitch’s post, I finally dropped the comma and my rankings improved to 684 over all !! I nearly fainted !
The better your ranking, the more people who see your book. The idea is to get your overall ranking as low as possible before the free book deal ends. That way, when you end the free deal, and Amazon reclassifies your book on the paid list, you still have a chance of ranking in a good spot. It worked! Here are today’s ranking ! Still in the top 25 of some categories and still looking good overall !
All in all, I am happy and ready to take on another day of indie book publishing. How about you? Are you ready to tell your stories? Let me know what you think in the comments below !
Happy Summer ! ~Margo Lynne
To purchase Book 1 in the Seeking Ms. Sandy Series: Meh. When A Teacher Shrugs – go HERE: