Lesson #1: I could fulfill a niche and a need.
Well-versed in researching, querying, and pitching as a writer, I repurposed these skills to craft my own class. I read the blurbs in the program guide, then created my own blurb and title. (Picture Books 101: Hard Work but Lots of Fun.) Similar to a writer's pitch, I gave a brief, enticing view of the class and what the participant would gain. I created a bio that focused on my years as a teacher, librarian, writer, and Gahanna resident.
My cover letter (query) to the director of parks and rec explained how a well-educated suburb like Gahanna needed to provide residents with literary options along with the robust senior, camp, and children's offerings. A month later, the assistant director contacted me, and I replied w/links to my blog and some posts from the GROG. Before my face-to-face interview, I created a possible 6-10 week syllabus for his perusal, too.
Lesson #2: Use your writing chops to your advantage.
At our interview, I referenced my book talking "job" at indie bookstore Changing Hands. (I volunteered but could take home any book I wanted to read and return; I received 20% off all inventory.) I offered to add a program for seniors if the writing class did not suit Gahanna's needs. Just as we authors need an inventory of polished stories to offer agents/editors, I needed a few class options for the assistant director to consider.
Lesson #3: The Comparisons Continue
Gahanna City is "my agent," they take a percentage of the revenue generated by the class, and they help w/publicity, BUT, I have to do my part, also, to make the class viable. I advertise via Facebook, here with this post, through library friends, and my school library professional organization.
Yes, just like publishing your first book, the work is all up front before the payoff. However, once I create the class content, I can teach this class for other organizations or offer a winter class for those ready to move beyond an introductory class.
Lesson #4: I took a risk and made a bold move.
I am a pre-published writer. I could think I don't have enough to offer, but I do. I am a successful educator; I know books from my library days; I know beginning writers' needs from my English teaching years; I have an agent, Jodell Sadler. Also, I understand those newbie fears and problems since I faced them and still do at this juncture in my career.
Last Lesson in this "Kat Chat"
Believe in yourself. Make opportunities happen. Seize your day, NOW.
Shameless promotion: The new program guide is not yet up for fall, but if you live in the Columbus area, check out registration for my class and contact the Gahanna Parks and Recreation Department.