Presented!

So I guess I should really write a blog. I’ve been meaning to but with one issue or another it always becomes a time suck. Well here we are, still in limbo.

The first edition has been finished and in shops for a while now. Sales are trickling in but we really need to spread the word more and more. However, slowly it is happening. We are still a few weeks off writing the reviews to add to the next edition. Right now, students are gearing up for the midterm tests. So, it’s all very busy.

In May, I had the opportunity to present the book in front of a prefectural English teachers meeting, which definitely generated some interest. It’s also funny how different the stage looks from in front of the glaring lights and how hard it is to judge if the microphone is working. Still, after sitting through a two hour lecture in Japanese, the brief ideas of what I wanted to say to the group flitting through my head, I actually made a bit of a mess of this. However, I got the message across. After the presentation, which was only a few minutes, many of the teachers looked at the book and one of them even bought a copy right there.

With that done, there isn’t much on the horizon until we start the project with the next lot. S unless we have a staggering increase in sales or the book spontaneously combusts or something, we’ll keep our head down.

Please share news of this project with anyone you think might be interested.

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Delivered!

A quick update for you. It’s still spring vacation and I’ve been enjoying throwing off all the stress of this busy year, and most of that has come from this project! However, I went into school to discuss next year’s lessons and I was pleased to see that our order of 65 books arrived. It’s great to see the finished, final version. The cover is all glam and corrected. Even the interior looks much better but I did nothing to that. It’s just psychological.

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So, we’ll be getting those signed as soon as students return to school and shipping them off to our Indiegogo backers. We also need to discuss what we are going to do with all those copies. Some will go in our library, the rest will probably go to other schools.

We also discussed doing the project again this year, with the new second grade. We’ll create a bumper second edition that will feature 200 more reviews. That’s double what we have now!

So, audience, you’ve barely had time to digest the first edition, but we want to know: for a few dollars more, would you be willing to buy a bigger, new edition next year? Leave your comments below.

Publishing

Good morning, afternoon, good evening and good night, depending where and when you are reading this.

Again, its been a while since I could last sit down and write a full blog post, so I hope you have been following our Facebook page. A lot has happened too. So where to start?

First of all, after finishing the book I sent it to Amazon to check. They had a few minor quibbles which I fixed, and then we ordered our proof copy. It arrived within three days! I was totally surprised, but it was also great to see it.

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However, we spotted straight away that there were a few problems. For some reason, the front cover was a lot lower quality than the back cover. Perhaps it was something to do with how I imported each part into the full cover template, but I corrected it by copying the procedure I had done for the back cover. Also, I had previously misspelled the Principal’s name and had corrected it (I remember doing it!) but it was wrong again in the book and some of the contents pages were wrong. So I corrected those again and sent the new file to Amazon.

Meanwhile, with some physical copies of the book we were able to show the students what they had accomplished. So yesterday, I visited some classes and let them have a look. They seemed very impressed. I think a high number of them had either not believed it would happen or had given up on it because it had taken so long.

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I don’t blame them really. The whole process has been much longer and more difficult than I expected. Mainly this was because of Japanese laws of copyright and safety concerns about the students (which is why there are no names or pictures of them in the book)

Lastly, and perhaps the best news as it shows that others have finally understood the importance of this project, I want to tell you about a meeting that took place yesterday.

Our school, Mukaiyama, is a model school in the prefecture for advanced English teaching which the BOE hopes that all high schools will soon adopt. So it is the job of one of my teachers to report on classes, projects and materials to important figures in education around the country. Yesterday, he had one such meeting and, with a copy of the book to show, he talked about our publishing project.

He says (I wasn’t there) the members were very impressed and the lead advisor mentioned that it was an important achievement in all of Japan, so he wants to help promote it and tell people about it. It looks like the project might finally get some of the support it deserves!

Stay tuned for more information. The final book is with Amazon now and approved. We are just writing for it to appear in the online stores. We are told it will take about a week!

Happy New Year Delays!

20130108-100030.jpgChristmas lights here in Sendai.

Hello! And a Happy New Year,

The new term has started. All the students and teachers at Mukaiyama wish you a successful and productive new year!

I’m afraid that the winter vacation proved to be busier than I expected. So I wasn’t able to complete the book on time. As such, our new target for sending it to the publishers s the end of January. Please don’t be concerned. This doesn’t affect the quality of the book at all, we just want to make sure we finish a quality product.

It’s coming along nicely, though its important to me that we have a finished product before the end of the school year (March, here in Japan) as I fear some of the students will forget about this project!

That’s it for now. I’ll resume more regular updates as I get settled back into work!

Scatter-gories

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Afternoon all,

Now that I have (nearly) all the reviews safe on my USB, and laptop, and the other teacher’s USB and laptop, I’ve started to think about putting them together into one file to make the book. It’s the dreaded formatting stage. It’s presented a number of quandaries.

For example, movies, music and the like can be easily grouped together. What of the traditional subjects like fireworks, kimono and mochi? Yes, I can put these all in a ‘traditional Japan’ section, but some may seem out of place.

Then there are the people. Should I have a separate section for people or should I put their articles next to the products they made, such as a director with his movies in the movie section?

It’ll keep me thinking and maybe I won’t have a solution until I finish the book completely. However, if anyone reading has a suggestion, please leave a comment.

See you again soon

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Fundraising ends!

The EndDecember 1st, 2012
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