Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Give the Gift of History — Yours!


As the holidays approach, our thoughts turn to gift giving. When I look at advertising, so much of what I see being touted as great for gifting seems thoughtless and shallow. I like to give truly personal gifts that will create emotion in the heart of the recipient. So here’s an idea for something that I would certainly love to receive as a gift:

Give your family the gift of your own history. Sure, you might occasionally tell a story that amuses them, but what if they had a book, memoir or journal that captured your entire life? Not only would they understand the journey you’ve made, but it would become a treasured family keepsake to be shared with future generations.

I’ve made it easy to create your own personal history with my online class, Write Your Life Story, from Writing Academy.

And there’s another way to give the gift of history, too. Consider giving a class about writing a life story to the senior members of your family. It will make it easy for them to share their memories with you, and you’ll learn things about them that will bring you closer together.
This is the perfect time of year to begin a life story, because there’s time to get it into print for the holidays. And it’s the perfect time of year to purchase the class Write Your Life Story as a gift, because I’m offering it at 75% off for the next few weeks.

This course shows you how to create an exciting and engaging biography or autobiography to share with friends, family and the world. Hundreds of students have taken this course and rated it 5 out of 5 stars! Enroll now!

Special 75% Off Deal

Right now you can enroll in Write Your Life Story, or purchase it as gift, for 75% off. Simply use the special link below to receive this life changing experience.…

I’ll see you there!

P.S. My new book, also called Write Your Life Story, is available from Amazon. It makes a great gift, too!


Textbook Publishers


Publishing Your Teaching Ideas

Tips by MaryAnn Kohl

Your Book – the idea –

  • Clearly define your idea
    • Assemble, narrow, and sort material and research
    • Find a system to begin
    • File cards
    • Dummy pages
    • Tape recorder
    • Suggestions from this group
  • Research your unique idea (do not skip this step)
    • Check other books for formats
    • Talk to bookstore owners
    • Talk to teachers
    • Talk to librarians
    • Talk to other authors and publishers

Great Advice from a Publisher – Abigail McAden, Asst. Editor at Avon Books

  • Look through new books to find some that resemble what you imagine for your book. If you picture your book looking like an Eric Carl picture book, then it is Harper Collins. If you picture a middle grade adventure, it is an Avon. McAden says, “We get many submissions clearly inappropriate for our company. People think that because their book is so good, we are going to clear off our list and make room for their great picture book. But we don’t do picture books.”
  • “Submitting a manuscript to a publisher who doesn’t do the kind of book you’re writing is a waste of time and money. It gets rejected immediately and makes the author look foolish. You want us to publish you, but you have no idea about our line of books.”
  • It is important to be persistent, but don’t remain ignorantly persistent. Newsletters and conferences for writers are a great help because they’re educating people. That way, you’re learning how to do this.

Writer’s Guidelines – the smart way to begin

  • Send a request for “writer’s guidelines” to each potential publisher (you must find out who publishes the type of book you are writing)
  • This will give you ideas for:
    • what to expect
    • how to tailor your style or book format
    • what exact particular submission process the publisher is looking for

Resources to help you publish your teaching ideas –

  • The Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators Market
  • Literary Market Place (LMP)
  • The Author-Publisher Handbook, Aztex Corporation
  • The Self-Publishing Manual – Dan Poynter, Para Publishing
  • The Simple Guide to Self-Publishing – Mark Ortman, Wise Owl Books
  • 1001 Ways to Market Your Books – John Kremer
  • Book Publishing Resource Guide – John Kremer
  • Children’s Writer Newsletter of Writing and Publishing Trends – 95 Long Ridge Road, West Redding, CT, 068960-1124

A Few Publishers of “Teacher Books” –
Look at your own teacher books and see who published them. Which one is a good fit for your book?

Bemiss-Jason Carson Dellosa
2244 Hilltop Drive
Redding, CA 96002
(530) 221-090
Games, flash cards, calendars, stickers

The Learning Works
PO Box 6187
Santa Barbara, CA 93160
Environmental activities

Creative Teaching Press
[email protected]
P. O. Box 2723
Huntington Beach, CA 92647-0723
800-287-8879, Fax: 1-800-229-9929
Reading, language arts, Spanish, music, math

Learning Resources
380 N. Fairway Drive, Vernon Hills, Illinois 60061
1-800-333-8281 | [email protected]
Construction toys, language, phonics, science

Chicago Review Press
814 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, IL, 60610
Teaching idea books

Learning Wrap-ups
1660 West Gordon Ave #4
Layton, UT 84041
800-992-4966, Fax: 801-497-0063
[email protected]
Basic math, pre-algebra, vocabulary, ESL

Didax Educational Resources
395 Main Street
Rowley, MA 01969
(800) 458-0024, fax (800) 350-2345
[email protected]
Spelling, phonics, math, social studies

Little Brown & Company
34 Beacon St.
Boston, MA, 02108
Children’s activities

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940-5746
Arts/Crafts, early learning, science, writing

McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company
431-B East College Street
Granville, Ohio 43023
800-233-8787 (voice) 740-321-1141 (fax)
[email protected]
Posters, Brainy Borders, Drama guides

Fearon Teacher Aids
500 Harbor Boulevard
Belmont, CA, 94002
Resource idea books

Milliken Publishing Company
501 E. Third St, Box 802
Dayton, OH 45401 USA
(800) 444-1144, Fax: (314) 991-4807
[email protected]
Supplemental products for K-12

Frank Schaffer
PO Box 141487
Grand Rapids, MI 49514-1487
800.417.3261, Fax: 888.203.9361
Bargain books, activity books

Pearson Learning Group
135 South Mount Zion Road
P.O. Box 2500
Lebanon, IN 46052

Frog Street Press
308 East Trunk
St. Crandall, TX 75114
(800) 884-3764, Fax: (800) 759-3828
Foreign language, awards, music, planners

Remedia Publications
15887 North 76th Street, Suite 120
Scottsdale, Az 85260
1-800-826-4740 Fax: 877-661-9901
Reading, science, math skills, social studies

Good Apple
PO Box 299
Carthage, IL, 82321
Teacher books/ all subjects , charts and posters

Rock ‘n Learn
P.O. Box 3595
Conroe, TX 77305-3595
(936) 539-2731 fax: (936) 539-2659
[email protected]
Audio/video programs to help kids learn

Grace Publications LLC
605 Wesinpar Road
Johnson City, TN 37604
423-434-2983 Fax: 423-434-2993
Bible Fun, Chart Pack Plus, Clip Art Books

Simon & Schuster – Books for Young Readers
Rockefeller Center
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY, 10020
Craft and hobby

GMG Publishing Corp.
25 W.43rd St.
New York, NY, 10036

Small World Toys
5711 Buckingham Parkway
Culver City, CA 90230
(310) 645-9680 Fax: (310) 645-7903
Constructive/creative play, infant and toddlers

Gryphon House, Inc.
PO Box 207
Beltsville, MD, 20704
Early childhood activities

Teacher Created Resources
6421 Industry Way
Westminster, CA 92683
888-343-4335, Fax: 800-525-1254

Incentive Publications, Inc.
2400 Crestmoor Road, Ste. 211
Nashville, TN 37215
fax to: 615-385-2967
Grade Book series, ESL and Spanish

Teacher Created Materials
5301 Oceanus Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92649-1030
800-858-7339, Fax: 714-230-7070
Art, geology, math, technology, thematic units

Instructional Fair
PO Box 141487
Grand Rapids, MI 49514-1487
800.417.3261 fax: 888.203.9361
Foreign language, geography, library skills

Teachers Friend
Manuscript Editor
Scholastic Professional Books
555 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Arts and crafts, language arts, teacher resources

J. Weston Walch, Publisher
40 Walch Drive
PO Box 658
Portland, ME 04104-0658
207-772-2846 / 800-558-2846
Instructional materials, math, special education

Teaching and Learning Company
P.O. Box 10
1204 Buchanan Street
Carthage, Illinois 62321
800-852-1234, 217-357-2591
Language arts, science, math social studies

Judy Instructo
Educational School Supplies for Teachers/Parents
2244 Hilltop Drive_
Redding, CA 96002 , (530) 221-0902
Giant Floor Puzzles, Clocks, Games, Desk Tapes

Write the Book –

  • Choose: handwrite, type, computer
  • Rough draft stage
  • Rewrite stage: omit, add, refine
  • Verification stage: check facts
  • Proofing stage: fine tooth comb by you and others

Preparing to Submit the Manuscript –

  • Refer to writer’s guidelines
  • Simple, double spaced
  • Large margins
  • Copyright on each page (“option-g” on a Mac) ©2001 Susie Smarty
  • Number each page
  • Name and address on each page
  • Hand-designed pages
  • To illustrate or not to illustrate
  • Suggestions for presentation of manuscript
    • No errors. None. Not any.
    • Leave white space – not overcrowded.
    • The “look” of your submission
  • Dummy book?
  • Folder?
  • Plastic sheet protectors?

Submitting the Manuscript –


The First Impression – Cover Letter
– Query first, or send in entire manuscript (see guidelines)
– Short and direct
– “This is my book about whatever, and do you want to publish it?” approach
– Give the age or grade intended for ( or for adults)
– Give your “credentials” – why you are qualified to write the book
– Give a summary page about the book

The Second Impression – The Manuscript
– Sample of manuscript, or entire manuscript
– Other materials included to complete the package
– Include a SASE for return of materials
– Include a postcard for receipt of materials
– Simultaneous submission or one-by-one?

Sending in your manuscript package –

  • Call first?
  • Get the name of the editor
  • Find out if they need your type of book idea
  • Check out their publishing “line”. Be familiar with the company and the books they carry.
    • Query letter?
    • Unsolicited submission?
  • Include a SASE for return of materials
  • Include a postcard for receipt of materials
  • Simultaneous or one-by-one?
  • Waiting for reply (how long?)
  • Follow-up call

The Wait: What to Expect

  • Replies
  • Rejections (when publishers say, “No”)
  • Personal letters/impersonal letters
  • Length of time (weeks to months)
  • Call if wait seems too long
  • Sometimes a resubmission is necessary
  • After the rejections come in –
    • Send out more manuscripts to new companies
    • Be tough and resilient. Rejections are the norm.
    • Refine your submission according to any suggestions that may have come in from editors, if you are that lucky.

The Acceptance! What to Expect

  • Contract
    • Advance on royalty
    • Common royalty amounts and how paid
    • Author copies
  • Your input as author
    • Text
    • Illustrations
  • The Wait
  • Publication
    • Be the best author in the world
    • Help with publicity
    • Help with Marketing