Taking the Leap: Becoming a Published Author

Debbie TannenbaumBlog, Connect Better, Reflect Better, Teacherpreneur Better


  • Everyone has a story to tell. You have a book waiting inside of you.
  • Start writing regularly.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to publishers even before your book is complete.

This year, I not only celebrated my birthday, but also celebrated the publication of my book, TRANSFORM-Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky. If you had asked me four years ago about me becoming an author, I would have said you were crazy. What would I write a book about, and how would I find the time?

Four years ago, I hadn’t published a single blog post and had only been on Twitter for a short time. But all that changed as the calendar went from 2019 to 2020. During a #LeadLAP chat, Jay Billy asked us to choose a call to action: what would we do if we could do anything? My answer came quickly and surprised even me: write a book. Jay Billy told me to go for it, and having put it out in the world, I decided to go for it. I took his advice, and that is exactly what I did. I not only wrote my book, but I got it published.

When people hear that you have published a book, there are usually two responses you hear. One is wow, I could never do that, or two is that people ask for advice for their own book idea.

Wow, I could never do that.

Let’s unpack the first response first. Writing a book is not an easy task—it requires a lot of dedication. You need to set aside time to write each day, and be prepared for both ups and downs. But if you decide to take on those challenges, anyone can write a book.

Why can anyone write a book? That’s easy…everyone has a story to tell. I did, and you do, too. It’s up to you to decide that being an author is worth it. Anything worthwhile takes hard work and time, and writing a book is just another example of that.

Anyone can write a book. Why can anyone write a book? That’s easy...everyone has a story to tell. Click To Tweet

What advice can you give?

1. Just start writing.

First of all, just start writing. I know that sounds simple, but it is really true. In February 2018, I published my first blog post. This got me in the habit of writing regularly and reflecting. By the time the end of 2019 came, I had been blogging for almost 2 years and had a lot of content. I knew what my message was and what I wanted to include in my book for the most part. 

2. Consider guest blogging.

Start simple—Teach Better is a great place to start. Livia Chan and Kari Pitstick have curated an amazing guest blogging platform for Teach Better. Guest blogging is a great way to get in the habit of writing. It gives you a place to share your voice, and Kari and Livia provide you with a lot of support along the way.

3. Don’t wait until you are finished to send a proposal to publishers.

By the time I met with my first publisher, I was about halfway done. Don’t be afraid to send your proposal to a publisher before you are done. Many publishers will meet with you and give you feedback once you have a solid idea or outline. The process of getting a publisher takes time. You can definitely work on your manuscript as you wait to hear back.

4. Finding a publisher is like finding the right college.

These days, there are so many education publishing companies. Each publisher has its own niche and purpose.  Some, like my publisher, Road to Awesome LLC, operate using a hybrid press model, while others use a more traditional model. Definitely send your work out to more than one and have a few conversations. Find the publisher who shares your vision. When you find the right match, just like finding the right college, you will know it.

5. Be patient and open-minded.

The book publishing process is not a quick one. You need to be patient and understand that many companies already have a long queue of prospective authors set up. When you do finish your book, the process of editing starts. This was the hardest part of the process for me. My manuscript had become my fifth child, and I was super protective of it by the time editing started. For me, going through the editing process required me to be open-minded and look at my book through new eyes. 

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Are you ready to get started?

Becoming a published author and holding my book in my hands for the first time is a moment that I will never forget. It was worth all the hard work to share my message with the world. For me, it was all about impact. I didn’t begin this journey to get rich or quit my day job—I did it to share my message with more educators. 

What about you? What message do you have to share? Are you ready to take the leap and get started? If you are, feel free to reach out to me. Many people helped me along the way, and I would love to help you too!

About Debbie Tannenbaum

Debbie Tannenbaum is an Elementary School Technology Specialist in Fairfax County, VA. An educator with over twenty years of experience, Mrs. Tannenbaum is completing her second year in this role, where she supports both staff and students to integrate technology tools into instruction through both co-teaching sessions and weekly technology classes. Mrs. Tannenbaum is also an avid blogger and shares her thoughts and reflections on her website: Techy Notes. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram at @TannenbaumTech.