4 Steps to Write a Book

Who is Florence Price? is a book written and illustrated by the young musicians at the Special Music School at Kaufman Music Center in New York City. Lead by their teacher Shannon Potts, the middle school students were able to write and publish a book. I spoke with Shannon Potts and Executive Director of the Kaufman Music Center, Kate Sheeran, to find out how you can write a book too.

Who is Florence Price? authors stand with Shannon Potts (center left) in classroom

Find the Story

First step is researching. What is inspiring to you? Who has told this story before? Once you find the story and have you’re unique spin, Shannon Potts advice is, “if you find a story that hasn’t been told, you are certainly enough to tell it.” Now the real work begins…

Write the Story

Illustration of Florence Price while she completes her symphony

Once you find the story it’s time to get the words on to the page. Shannon’s students worked together to write Florence Price’s history. At times the students would have to learn how to take criticism when they saw their story changed by their peers. “Working collaboratively is more important than anyone’s ego,” Shannon says. This process is the editing stage and it’s very important to read and re-read your book before it’s ready to be published. Shannon adds, “Believe in yourself enough and know that you can tell a story is the way to approach [writing a book].”

Illustrate the Story

Students created this picture of Florence Price

Now that the story has been written, you can add pictures. The young musicians at the Special Music School would use construction paper to create images. Then they would use technology like an iPad to make small details.

Share Your Story

Students share their book Who is Florence Price? for the book launch

Finally your book has the words and images. You have worked with others to make your ideas a reality. It’s time to celebrate and let others read your work. Kate Sheeran shared the student’s work on social media where it gained the attraction of Schirmer Trade Books. Even if your book isn’t published, you are still an author! Keep up the great work.

You can listen to Who is Florence Price? during ICAN’s Audio Book Tour at 5p PST on February 17th and again at 8a PST on February 20th.