2013 in Review

2013 yielded some interesting outcomes in my teaching and writing career.

New Publication

Late in 2013, I was announced as my building’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2014-2015.  In response, I decided to write a series of books that details my best practices and my teaching philosophy.  The first of that series is now available for purchase.

The Re-Creating Lifelong Learners book series reinforces authentic instruction by holding students accountable to assignments that are based in the real world and have long-term goals in mind.

Interviews and Book Talks

My Brand Interview by Susan Newman Design brought some excellent attention to my work.  Susan is a Jersey City resident who specializes in media and marketing.

Locally, I have had several events in Jersey City.  The public library, JC Made, and Farms in the Heights have all been wonderfully receptive to my work.

Donation to @MCCNewYork

One of the most rewarding experiences of 2013 was my ability to raise enough money to purchase a dryer for Sylvia’s Place, a homeless LGBT youth shelter in Manhattan.

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Jeremiah Kleckner hands the money over to Ted McGuire.
Photo by Melissa Kleckner

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A snapshot of the dryer purchased exclusively through book sales.

The $1000 Pledge – September Update

I am still clawing my way to reach my $1000 donation goal to @MCCNewYork Homeless LGBT Youth Services. Click here to find out more. 

VISIBILITY

September has been a fantastic month for the book’s visibility.  The “Tales of Our Cities” event in Jersey City has opened up a world of opportunities for speaking, reading, and selling.  This has helped push the number of reviews for Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan to 41 on Amazon.  With some luck, more events are in my near future.

PRODUCTIVITY

Book Two in the Captain James Hook series is done on my end, at least for now.  Jeremy Marshall has the reigns through the winter season and will add his ideas to the pot.  I’ll jump back in sometime in March to push it along for a June release.  Until then, my job is to teach, post, coach, and kick around other project ideas.

The $1000 Pledge – June Update

If you need to read up on the $1000 donation goal to @MCCNewYork Homeless LGBT Youth Services, click here.

June has been another spectacular month for the book.  Much of the attention drawn in April helped push Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan to its 38th review on Amazon.

New Paperback Edition

The book interior of the paperback edition received a complete overhaul thanks to Adobe InDesign for CS6.  During this month, I taught myself how to use it and I couldn’t be happier with the result.  Check out the new book interior (and read the whole first chapter) here.  You can read more about my Adobe InDesign journey here.

THE COMPETITION

For a long time, I was intimidated by a story written by J. V. Hart, titled Capt. Hook: Tales of a Notorious Youth.  You might know J. V. Hart as the screenwriter for small film projects like “Hook” (1991), “Dracula” (1992), and “Contact” (1997). The book never did much, but it was supposed to be the first in an ongoing series.  This month, Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan surpassed J. V. Hart’s novel in number of ratings and higher ranked ratings on Amazon and Goodreads.  It is cause to celebrate.

PRODUCTIVITY

 

Book Two in the Captain James Hook series has 57,000+ words and is in a serious need of editing.  The goal is to whittle my mad ravings down to about 45,000 words of enjoyable text.  I am hoping that the July update will have the words “I’m done with Book Two” in it somewhere.  We’ll see.  The challenge of writing at this speed scares me a little and I recognize that it’s a good thing.

The $1000 Pledge – May Update

STOP! If you know nothing about my $1000 donation goal to @MCCNewYork Homeless LGBT Youth Services, click here.

May was a banner month for Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan, which has now reached over 12,000 readers.  The book has received over 30 reviews on Amazon, still averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars!

meeting the goal

The profits from April and May will be a major contributor the $1000 donation goal.  However, we’re not there yet.  The first quarter of the year was slow, but the second quarter of 2013, leading up to the one year anniversary of the book’s first release, has shown progress and promise.

Productivity

The Captain James Hook trilogy is mapped out and on an accelerated schedule.  Book Two is at 50,000 words and is nearly ready to be honed into something readable.  Book Three is loosely plotted and will be drafted over the summer.  I am still looking for a fall release, but my ambitions have changed.  Both Book Two and Book Three will be released before the end of 2013.  As with everything that I think I can do, once I realize I can do it, I want to do more of it and at a greater frequency.

THE RUBBER-NECKED GIRAFFE

This week, I talked with someone else who is also producing material that he is publishing and marketing himself.  He used the expression of a “rubber-necked giraffe” to describe the idea of being discovered by a consumer because they looked back at your body of work after finding one of your items.  The model only works if you have more than one thing to offer.  Whether it is books, music, or photos, a constant stream of quality output is necessary to succeed.

The $1000 Pledge – April Update

If you’re reading this and you know nothing about my $1000 donation goal to @MCCNewYork Homeless LGBT Youth Services, click here to catch up.

April was a killer month for the book.  During a two-day free promotion, Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan hit #1 in Historical Fantasy and Mythology and reached over 8000 readers.    Once again, this was a free promotion, but the exposure boosted sales and we received our 2oth review on Amazon, now averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars!

Amazon KDP Select

Being exclusive to Amazon gives nobodies like me access to promotional avenues that aren’t available at other book-selling sites.  For example, the free promotion that gave away over 8000 copies of the book also drove legitimate sales that eclipsed January, February, and March combined.

Productivity

The next book in the Captain James Hook series is on schedule.  I am now 37,000+ words into the first draft and reset the plot in a new outline.  I’ve decided that October 31st will be my yearly release date.  With any luck, I’ll be able to increase the frequency of the books I write in the coming years, but for now I kind of like the sound of a Halloween book launch.

WHere the money is going

The $1000 pledge is growing each month.  April was just the kind of break I was hoping for and I’m looking forward to what May will bring.  The weather is nice now, but winter 2013 is closer than any of us want to think about and forward is the only way to go.