Selling independently published books can be difficult because the author is competing with the big publishing houses. There are a lot of tricks to the trade, but one of the tricks large publishers use is writing lesson plans that go along with the book. These plans are then published on a web site, where teachers can download or print the lesson plans and use them in their classes.
If you’ve never written a lesson plan, a good place to look is The Lesson Plan Page. Teachers publish lesson plans on this site so that other teachers can use them. An author can publish a lesson plan here, too, as well as on their own web page. http://lessonplanspage.com/submit.html
Here’s an example of a lesson plan for art class that uses the book “Andrew’s Claim to Fame” by Idan Hadari. http://www.examiner.com/article/what-s-your-most-famous-moment#sthash.ky6F8JNF.dpuf Note the basic elements that need to be included in the plan.
Grade level—this should be the same grade level as the book. It can be for just one class, or for a range such as grades 3-5. Most ranges are within two years of each other because some schools have programs for gifted children and others have programs for remedial students.
Subject— Language arts includes everything from grammar to reading, but don’t forget art teachers. Every teacher is required to work reading into their program in some way, and art teachers are always looking for a way to do that. Teachers in the lower grades are also looking for plans that cover more than one subject. Think of ways to use your book for reading, writing an essay, using a computer, drawing a picture, or learning about science or history, and then list all of the subjects this lesson plan applies to. There are seven different ways that students learn, and when a teacher makes a lesson inter-disciplinary (more than one way) it meets the needs of more students, and increases the overall effectiveness of the lesson.
Instructions: This can be step-by-step for making a craft project, or just a general idea like writing an essay, drawing a picture, or putting together a slide show in Power Point.
Standards—Every subject has requirements that have to be met during the course of the year. In the lesson plan noted above, the standard is to use personal experience as inspiration for a work of art. Standards insure that all teachers are covering what needs to be covered in their grade and subject. You can find national standards online at http://www.educationworld.com/standards/national/index.shtml
Assessment—This comes from both the standards and the instructions. What do you want the children to do or learn? If the project is writing an essay, one requirement could be to use correct grammar and spelling, another could be the word count, and another could be to demonstrate an understanding of the subject. In the lesson plan noted above, the students must meet four requirements; each worth 25 points, for a total score of 100. Most teachers grade on a scale of 100, so the number of requirements should divide into 100 evenly for that reason.
Additional Resources—Teachers don’t have time to go searching the web for other information. Provide links to encyclopedia entries, videos, craft projects, or games. For the lesson plan mentioned above, an additional resource would be a suggestion of doing show and tell about their pictures if the teacher has extra time. Or, since Andrew rescues a cat in the book, an additional resource would be a book or website that has instructions on how to draw a cat, a video on You Tube about rescuing a cat, or a web page written by a veterinarian about how to keep your pets safe. Additional resources are used for gifted students, students who express an interest and want to know more, or during extra-long classes.
In addition to posting a lesson plan, the author can also post reading comprehension questions. Most schools use the Accelerated Reader Program, a computer program that asks 10 multiple choice questions about the book. The program allows the librarian to add more tests, but they have to be in the correct format. Each of the ten questions has four choices; A, B, C, D. The answers are listed at the end of the quiz. If prepared in this format, the teacher has the option of adding the book to the AR program, or printing out copies to use as a written test.
These lesson plans and resources can be published on the author’s web page. Give a summary of what is available, and the web site address at the end of the book. Be sure to mention the plans in blog posts, advertising and author interviews. Print the plans on standard typing paper, and take them along to book signings. The book can also be published in two editions; one for the reader, and one for the teacher. Include the plans and tests in the teacher’s edition.
Remedial reading is the biggest problem in American schools today. If an author takes the time to help a teacher by providing lesson plans, they increase their chances of selling the books while they encourage the children to read.