Episode #200: Road to Awesome Authors

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Join me for a live (recording) of the 200th episode of Out of the Trenches with Darrin Peppard, Dan Wolfe, Ashley Hubner & Melissa Wright. My guests were all previous guests on Out of the Trenches and are all Road to Awesome (RtA) authors.

Ashley Hubner: Ed Consultant who builds instructional effectiveness with districts. Author of Foundations of Instructional Coaching: Impact People, Improve Instruction, Increase Success, published September 2022.

Dr. Darrin Peppard: author of Road to Awesome, published in July 2020. Former principal & superintendent, now leadership speaker and consultant who coaches leaders in improving their school culture & climate as well as growing dynamic leaders.

Melissa Wright: HS Math and dance teacher in New Brunswick, Canada. Inducted into Jostens Renaissance Hall of Fame this past summer. Author of Inspired: Moments that Matter, published July 2022.

Dan Wolfe: an Assistant Principal at Sunray Elementary in Pasco County, FL. Author of Becoming the Change: 5 Essential Elements To Being Your Best Self”, published June 2022His principles are to Serve, Lead, Inspire. For more information on Dan, his book, blog, podcast and other podcasts he has been on please go to www.becoming-the-change.com/8258-2/.

(Unable to attend due to illness) Debbie Tannenbaum: Elementary School Tech Specialist in Fairfax County, VA. Speaker, blogger and author of TRANSFORM-Tech Notes to Make Learning Sticky, published in May 2021.

Getting your first book published and how the process looked for you.

DP: someone said, “Just tell your story. Put your pitch out there! Someone will want to read it! Click To Tweet”. He’d met with a different publisher. Then made a connection with Code Beaker, May 2020- book was live 2 months later. Overnight to the next day, having a contract.

DW: started with his blog. Pandemic happened. What better time to go ahead & do it. The writing part flowed for him. RtA took a chance on him. He’d gotten 50 rejections. Threw pitch out to Darrin. He & Jess helped him promote. He’s been on 16 podcasts.

MW: process started over COVID. Took different turns. Didn’t submit a complete book. She had a pitch. Took 1 ½ year after contract was signed, until it was published.

AH: had fully written book. Left public ed, went from TX to FL. Had a lot of life change. There was no guidance for her to coach. She decided to dedicate it to instructional coaches who had the same role as her. Her advice was how to lead PD. Wrote every day over the period of a month. She met Jillian DuBois who suggested she reach out to Darrin. A lot of self-reflection. Toolkit for instructional coaches.

For those who have had their book published for over 6 months, what are your take-aways from the book launch, what would you have done differently to promote your book? What are you currently doing to promote your book?

DW: still promoting it. Learned thru Darrin that Canva is a great promo tool. Praise pieces. Ask anyone who’s bought it to promote it. Topic is always going to be relevant. He’s putting himself out there.

MW: had quotes out there before the book launched. Not everyone sees all your posts so you can reuse. Heard from those who had previewed book, non-educators have read it.

AH: was on several podcasts. Reached out to community in edupreneur space. FB groups in edupreneur space. Last night she launched Confessions of a Coach book study on FB. A few districts have got her book for their coaches.

DP: promoted during working as a superintendent. He got out & spoke @ conferences, first 1.5 yrs it was virtual. Authors miss that piece to turn your book into a workshop, keynote. You’re going to talk about that book for the next 2 yrs. Your msg becomes so sharp. BEEREDU was one of the first ones he was on. Convos about having your website- drive traffic to your website to collect email addresses. He & Mike Nagler will do a breakout session on “From Idea to Published” in March. You want to sell on your website. Not just family & friends. He’ll give away copies if someone wants to have him speak @ school.

Darrin, why did you get interested in starting the educational publishing company RtA? communication with other publishers. He thought he’d self-publish. When book was 4 months old. Code Breaker helped him get started. 18 mos ago. A point in his superintendcy he figured he’s want to do something different.

Talk about how you and your wife, Jessica, tag team to review, edit and publish books.  Ideas come to Darrin. People pitch books- what are your goals for the reader? What do you want ppl to get out of your book? When they get the contract, talk about how to fit it into their timeline. It’s no longer about him & Jessica. It’s about fitting into other RtA books. Queue is like drag race. Dive into document. Deep in editing- mostly Jessica. They’re in it every day. Cover, etc is mostly her.   

Where can people find each of you online?

DW: Book focuses on SEL-where you are today is different than 6 months. Cover has image of butterfly. We become the change in our own lives. Has written 800 blogs for Becoming the Change blog. Remember your why.

MW: journey as educator from 1st year teaching until now. Wants ppl to see themselves in the book. Positive or negative moments that can change their trajectory. Last chapter- find someone in their life that’s inspired them.

AH: Impact Ppl, improve instruction, impact cuss. Starts with building relationships. Knowing your teachers, help them improve instruction the CR. Happy teacher makes a happy Classroom. 

DP: Road to Awesome, Journey for Kids. So many incredible authors. Left superintendent to grow leaders, He’s been able to watch ppl grow as entrepreneurs. He’s proud to be the leader of RtA family. He learned so much about us. Roadtoawesome.net also listen to his Leaning into Leadership podcast. 



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