If you go into schools as an author, or to deliver writing workshops, or to perform community work based around literacy and writing, Make Our Book may be able to help!
MakeOurBook.com is free for anyone to use. From setting up a book project to using the classroom management and parent communication tools, the entire platform is free and there is no obligation to buy at any point.
We are very keen to work with people who share our love of creative writing in schools, and want to be part of the magic of making children into published authors. (Read about an interesting BookTrust report for more benefits). So if you want to be a Make Our Book Ambassador, you can use our platform for free as well, and even use it to cover your costs.The Planner in the 2017-18 Pack
How does it work?
Essentially, you are the project manager and the school is the project team. You are responsible for the overall plan and keeping everyone on track. The school is responsible for doing their assigned tasks. You can use the Planner in the 2017-18 Pack to agree responsibilities.
- You create an account on makeourbook.com, providing the school's name, and have a poke around. See if you find the website intuitive or not, and then let us know if you need guidance and training.
- You arrange with the school a date to go in. You run your creative writing workshop, ensuring that each child is going to write a piece.
- The school will have to provide ample time for children to finish their pieces – they won't finish it in the workshop itself. Even if they do finish, they are measured on their ability to review and improve their work, so plan for them to have more time after your workshop to perfect their work.
- Either the children, the parents, the teachers or you will have to type the pieces into the website. The school can use their ICT facilities and lesson time for the older kids to type in their work. The school can send access codes home to parents who can help type up work. Make Our Book works well on phones and tablets, as well as laptops and desktop computers. Don't underestimate how slowly children type – but part of the point is that this is a great chance for them to gain experience.
- You use the website to download PDF proofs to check on progress, and to make sure the writing is up to scratch.
- There's a feature on the website to write and download letters home, so the school can ask for and receive in parent's orders. This is best left to the school but you can check progress via the website.
- Then it's over to us. The school says how many copies they want. Since they collect the money from parents (in the same way as they would for a school trip) they pay us, and give you and the PTA any share of the proceeds that you've agreed.
- Then we arrange the printing and the books are delivered to school in a few weeks.
What about money?
As we say, the entire Make Our Book online service is free to use. Make Our Book Ltd makes its money when parents and families – and sometimes the school itself – optionally buy printed copies of the children's book, as a keepsake. We take a mark-up on the cost of printing and delivery.
The cost per book varies based on the number of pages and the number of copies required. For 200 copies of a 120 page book, the cost is £10. Read more about pricing.
So for 200 copies of a 120 page book, you have to sell the book to parents for at least £10, to cover the Make Our Book costs. It's then up to you how much you additionally charge, and what you do with that money. Here are some examples:
How do I sign up as an Ambassador?
Fill in the sign-up form on the home page – you'll be taken to a new project where you can click around and get familiar with how Make Our Book works. There's nothing else you need to do to be considered an Ambassador.
- Do I have to sign up as an Ambassador and let you know what I'm doing before I go into a school and plan to use Make Our Book?
- What about the rights to the book? Can I print it myself?
- Can I work with more than one school on more than one book?
- How do the school and I arrange the money?
- How do I suggest this to schools?
- What if we do the project but the parents don't want to buy the books?
No, but we might be able to help you in your planning and publicity if you tell us what you're doing. You don't need to let us know, though: sign up for an account, plan your session, use Make Our Book to produce the book, and then get the school to place the order for copies through the website when you're ready.
The copyright remains with the authors, as per international copyright law. However, by using this website you accept our terms, which means the school agrees to license us the exclusive rights in the print and ebook editions that the Make Our Book system creates, throughout the world. It's against our terms and conditions for you to download the PDFs of the book and print it yourself, although you and the school are at liberty to agree to and produce another expression of the writing, such as a hardback that you typeset yourself, or photocopied sheets. There's nothing in the system that will stop you from doing it, but it's not in the spirit of the enterprise and, if you do, we won't let you use the platform again. For more information please review our terms of service of this website.
Yes, you can sign up for as many accounts as you like. And for each organisation, you can run an unlimited number of projects.
The school will collect payment from parents in the same way as they collect money for school trips. You should ask the school to send you your agreed cut of the money. They will also pay the Make Our Book bill and transfer any PTA money to the appropriate fund. Use the Planner in the Pack (pictured above) to agree up front what the arrangement is so there is no confusion.
The one-page summary is a good start. When talking about dates, don't suggest particularly busy times of year such as Y6 SATS exams in May. Pre-Christmas and Spring are good times, especially to tie in with Book Week and World Book Day.
There is no minimum order, so, worst case, you could order a handful of copies for the school library. We've always found that parents are willing to prioritise spending money on a book, particularly if they are reassured about its quality – so mention that it is professionally published in the letter home. The letter home template in MakeOurBook.com includes a preview of the child's writing (as pictured) and the cover so it is quite appealing.