I pushed the button on the Kindle file.  I was supposed to be waiting until Tuesday. 

“Please be aware that it can take up to 12 hours for English and 48 hours for other languages to be available in the Amazon Kindle Store…” the popup said.  That’s not quite Tuesday.  But I accidentally pushed the wrong button for the paperback, releasing it early, so its Kindle cousin had to follow suit.

“Tuesday…” Jodi, the supercovermodel on my book, had said.  “You will release your book on Tuesday.” She gave me a ton of reasons why it was much better to release the book on a Tuesday than jump up and down the minute I receive the proof copies and push the button without thought.  Of course she is right, I know this to be true.

I’ve done this kind of stuff for other people but it’s so hard to obey it myself.

And my proofs came a day early.  I’d spent a year and a half writing this book and then another full calendar year sitting on it, letting it collect dust telling people things like “Soon,” when I really meant “I have no idea.” or “Never.”

“Why the delay?” Tons of reasons. Lots of feeble excuses… “The file was stuck in error status.” That excuse should’ve bought me a week or two of learning how to fix error statuses. “Waiting to see what happens.” What what am I waiting for?

“Because I might get excommunicated from education, and I need to pay the bills…” That’s the real truth.  I rewrote this book three times.  The first time was the draft.  The second time I thought I was done.

“There’s something missing… these couple of parts felt a bit flat,” three readers said.  Each picked off the places where I removed a story or two that might have been on the more controversial side.  My goal was never to identify people, schools, or situations.  It was to reflect on why it is that education is where it is, and lead the reader through one person’s story.  Mine.  Then maybe someone would want to fix things… for real.

“If you’re not going to write the truth, don’t write it at all,” said Kathleen Jasper, founder of ConversationEd.  I’d expect that from Kathleen, who told her boss to pound sand, and left public education to fix injustice. If you’re on the wrong side of an issue, she’ll tell you on national TV, that I know.  But she was right and others said the same thing.

So, I rewrote it again. I thought I was done.  “Good,” said another friend, “Now put it aside and do it one more time.”  And so it went until the book was edited, compiled, illustrated, formatted, and sitting collecting dust.

There’s usually something behind procrastination and delay.


Stepping in the middle of a controversial subject is never easy.  But this project wasn’t about me, it was about the issues, and the friends who supported me in making this book real.

So, I pushed the button a few days early.  And so the paperback version was live overnight with the Kindle soon to follow. If CreateSpace’s “It takes 3-5 days” was actually 12 hours, Kindle’s 12 hours would be more like one or two hours, I guessed.  It’s the opposite of football time, where the final two minutes can take up to thirty.

“Not going to listen to Jodi?” Kindle said. “We’ll teach you the hard way!”

The Kindle went live–with one big mistake.  Everyone who contributed was listed.  Except me.  “Illustrator, Erin Tyler.” “Photographer, Jodi Swanson.” “Foreward, Kathleen Jasper.” I never listed myself as the author of my own book.  The book, live on Amazon, had no author.

Maybe it wrote itself?

If I could have five or six more books that wrote themselves, I could be onto something… an incredible bookwriting process that even Oprah would acknowledge. I’d retire early, continue letting my books write themselves, and travel the world, sunset to sunset.

Kindle laughed. “Maybe you’ll listen to Jodi next time… Shoulda been Tuesday.”

So there it sits… a self-written book released four days ahead of schedule. Every possible facet of this book release has been botched up by me.  Hopefully I’ll mess up the next one a little bit less.  But even with my sub-par release bungles, the outpouring of support has been touching beyond belief.  Alumni, friends, people I see regularly and people I haven’t talked to in far too long showing their support and generosity.  I thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

While I’m trying to fix my files, please enjoy “Don’t Sniff the Glue: A Teacher’s Misadventures in Education Reform.” In 72 hours Kindle should forgive me and admit I wrote it… Like a good politician, I could let others take the fall like everyone does in politics, education, and policy today, but that would be wrong–because the truth is, everyone who had a hand in this project did no falling, only lifting.

I take 100% credit for messing up this book release.  And remain 100% grateful for every one of you who has liked, shared, read, and supported me on this journey.




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