Thursday, March 10, 2005

High School Book on Freshman Advice...

Question: I am writing you because I have a unique situation with a book that has received some free publicity because of the unique way it was produced. I will try to tell you the story in brief.

Last July, at an annual Homeschool Trade show, I met a teacher, who also had a booth promoting her published grammar program, and she told me about the curriculum she had planned for her gifted sophomores. She planned for them to write a Freshman Survival Guide for incoming freshmen. She wanted her students to experience the difficulty of writing a book. She made them write, rewrite, edit, rewrite, etc.

I sell short run, on demand perfect binding equipment and I volunteered to come to the school with my equipment so they could understand the binding and finishing process. As the project began taking shape, the teacher Dawn Burnette of McIntosh H.S. in Peachtree City, Georgia emailed me that they had decided to produce 500 of these books and sell them via their web site and a local bookstore. I continued to make myself available, saying I would charge by the book to cover my cost, but they may consider buying the equipment (under $5000). It was uncertain whether this would happen or not.

Last Tuesday, March 1st was publication day. Mrs. Burnette and I set up a full mini-bindery in the McIntosh H.S. Library. the afternoon before. Tuesday morning the Atlanta Journal Constitution was there, plus Channel 11 (NBC Affiliate) and 4 other local papers. Because the book was professionally bound by the students it was a great story. A couple of days later, Laura Bush's secretary called for her and ordered a book. Good Morning America called and wanted a book. AP picked up the story and it was run in 95 papers.

Finally, the reason I am writing you. Mrs. Burnette obviously met her initial goals by the students writing a very readable, funny, and insightful book. Her new goal is to make the book available. More important than huge profits is getting the book out there. Those of us who have read it think it is equally valuable to parents of high schoolers as the students, because of who wrote it.

She asked my advice on what to do next. I know a limited number of publishers, and because of some work they are doing with schools in teaching about publishing. Any advice you may have that you would pass along to getting this great story told, and the book out there, we would deeply appreciate. You have a "larger than life" reputation, and any advice, direction, contacts you would share would be deeply appreciated. If you decide to pass, we understand.

Video link: 11 Alive.
AJC Link: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Jim Long, Sales Manager, ExactBind South, 2440-A Cobb Parkway, Smyrna, GA 30080; 770-984-0013; Fax: 770-984-0014; Mobile: 770-331-0621. Email:

See our special school page: School Applications.

John's Answer: Jim... You have been very kind in helping Dawn and her students. Her best bet for a publisher would be one of the good local ones such as Longstreet Press or Peachtree Press.

Longstreet Press, Scott Bard, Publisher; Suzanne De Galan and John Yow, Senior Editors; 2140 Newmarket Parkway #122, Marietta GA 30067; 770-980-1488; 800-927-1488; Fax: 770-859-9894. Web:

Peachtree Publishers, Margaret Quinlin, Publisher, 1700 Chattahooche Avenue, Atlanta GA 30318-2112; 404-876-8761. Web: Specialties: children's, Southern regional (hiking, fishing, nature), and self-help, especially parenting.

Or a publisher like FreeSpirit aimed at teens and high schools:

Free Spirit Publishing, Judy Galbraith, President, 400 First Avenue N #616, Minneapolis MN 55401; 612-338-2068; 800-735-7323; Fax: 612-337-5050. Email: Web: Specialties: resources for educators, parents, and children.

These publishers and other great independent publishers are featured on my web site as some of the Top 101 Independent Book Publishers.

Good luck with your project.
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