A Self-Publisher's Dream Come True

It was a cold Thursday evening in November of 2013. I remember because I was driving to choir rehearsal--always held on Thursday evenings.  While AlfredMusictrying to concentrate on the road, my mind was racing after reading and rereading this email from Philip Johnston:

"Having read some of your articles at 88pianokeys.me, here's what I can't get out of my head, and what should be circling in yours:

You really—in a don't even stop to think about it, just do it, because you'll regret it one day if you don't and you're good at this—should turn your writing into a book.

Your thoughts on iPads springs to mind as an example of exactly the sort of information that music teachers everywhere should be reading."

As Johnston has been a respected source of inspiration for me for years in his books The Practice Revolution and The Dynamic Studio: How to keep students, dazzle parents, and build the music studio everyone wants to get into, I was completely stunned by his unsolicited encouragement and was immediately convinced that yes, I had to write a book. OK, I'm a pushover I admit, but this kick in the pants was the needed boost that catapulted me into the world of writing "for real."

Screenshot 2014-07-16 10.43.53

So, I made time to write a book about using the iPad in my teaching. It was easy because of the subject matter--what is there not to like about the iPad and apps? And it was easy because I was writing about what I do.

The hard part? Finding someone to publish a book the way I imagined it. Discovering Tom Folenta (after mzl.hhqqeabm.175x175-75seeing his SimpleTec Magazine) to help me make the physical book a reality was like striking gold. We worked well together and his distinctive eye for design and formatting made The iPad Piano Studio anything but typical. The physical copy combined with a digital edition and QR codes within the book that offer a link to a growing library of videos and blog posts developed an unprecedented hybrid-experience. With a fear of the topic becoming quickly out of date, this option to continually update content inside the book was literally a dream come true!

Recently, a dream--that I purposely refused to even consider because of the extreme odds--became a reality. Alfred Music, the world’s largest educational music publisher, asked to distribute my book. Gulp, really? Most likely the invitation was extended because the Alfred Premier Piano Course is now collaborating with JoyTunes, the developers of the award-winning and student-motivating iPad app called Piano Maestro. Read all about it here: Alfred's Premier Piano Course and Piano Maestro. My book helps to bridge the gap for those interested in integrating the iPad and apps into daily lessons and looking for support to get off the ground and running.

With the frequency of the requests to play Piano Maestro (look for a free code in the top menu!) in my studio, E.L. Lancaster and fellow authors of the Alfred piano course made a wise decision to connect their books with the app to assist learning and teaching in the Alfred-s-Premier-Piano-Course-Lesson-1A-With-CD-978073902357021st-century piano studio. My students (and their parents would agree) can't stop playing Piano Maestro. As I like to say, when you gamify, you solidify. Using apps to aid students in their practice is not only savvy but smart.

It feels strange to write about me and the success of my book. Honestly, timing had a great deal to do with it. My upbringing encouraged a life of faith, hard work, and serving others. Sharing this beating-the-odds experience here gives me a chance to publicly thank those who have made this self-publisher's dream come true.

My heartfelt thanks goes to:

  • A gracious God that remains steadfast despite my shortcomings
  • Chuck, my sacrificial husband serving as father, cook, housecleaner and editor
  • Mom, Joanne Alberda (check out her artwork) for her ongoing encouragement and editorial support
  • My three sons, and in particular Chase who worked diligently on the book's grammatical details
  • Bradley Sowash, my business partner and particularly good friend who has seen me through the ups and downs of writing and publishing
  • A 90-year-old adult student who provided the perfect last sentence
  • Tom Folenta, my extremely creative co-publisher that put up with my determination, drive and frequent impatience
  • Wendy Stevens, an inspiring creator, marketing guru and dear friend
  • E.L. Lancaster, Vice President and Keyboard Editor-in-Chief of Alfred Music Publishing, who approached me with the idea of Alfred Music distributing my book. I have admired him and respected his work for years.

screen shot

There are many more to acknowledge and of course, I can't forget to thank those who have purchased it and share their enthusiasm for The iPad Piano Studio. It is my hope that all who own a copy will find it a resource that continually generates support and encouragement for a tech-savvy AND smart music studio.

One more reason for writing this post: if you feel a nudge or get a huge kick in the pants to embark on a dream--do it and be careful, your dream may turn into a reality--even one that you would never let yourself imagine.

Stop by your local music store to purchase your copy or order it here.

Leila:Book 3

Don't forget to LIKE The iPad Piano Studio Facebook page.

iPad Revolution-Book-Comp-4 2