Collaborative, Self-Published Ebook From High School Freshmen Hits No. 1 in iBooks for Poetry

[Press Release]

High School Freshmen Collaborate with Ebook Distributor Smashwords to Create and Publish Ebook Anthology
– Innovative Class Project to Help Finance 2017 Senior Prom

Los Gatos High School English 9 Honors students are collaborating with the Los Gatos Library and Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-published books, to create and publish what they believe to be the first self-produced ebook by a high school class.

Written by more than 120 freshman English students at Los Gatos High School, Windows to the Teenage Soul will be an electronic poetry anthology available worldwide on numerous websites through Smashwords, including Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, KOBO, and Apple’s iBook store. Proceeds from the book’s sale will be used as a fundraiser for the LGHS Class of 2017 to help pay for future events such as the senior prom.

LGHS English Teacher Tonya McQuade decided to tackle the project after meeting with Los Gatos Town Librarian Henry Bankhead, who was looking for ways to promote authorship in the community when he teamed up earlier with Smashwords. “Unlike the self-publishing of the past, when an author would pay to have an unsuccessful book printed, ebook self-publishing offers a new way for authors to get their books out to a worldwide audience that is thirsty for content,” Bankhead explained.

After a meeting with Smashwords CEO Mark Coker, an LGHS graduate who founded Smashwords in 2008, McQuade was eager to get started. “It is my goal every year to help my students discover the joy, beauty, and expressiveness of poetry,” she said. “Now, for the first time, they get to share that with a bigger audience.”

Over the past few years, the ebook market has grown significantly. More than a third of the book market is comprised of ebooks now, compared to the less than 5 percent in 2009, according to the Association of American Publishers.

Teamwork was an integral part of the project. Students served on five different teams: Editing; Layout and Design; Art and Photography; Marketing and Publicity; and Event Planning. “This project provided many new experiences for me and gave me skills that I can apply later in life,” Freshman Elan Friedland said.

The students hope their book will serve as an example for many classrooms around the world who wish to publish successful ebooks. In honor of the book’s release, scheduled for May 6, there will be a celebration at the Los Gatos Public Library, which will include presentations of various poems. Open to the public, the event will run from 6:45 to 7:45.

Preorders will be available soon at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/431588. The book will perfectly give, as the title says, a window into the minds of many young teenagers. Those interested can also find updates about the book on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Windows-to-the-Teenage-Soul/232897546908278

For more information contact:
English Teacher Tonya McQuade: Tmcquade@lgsuhsd.org
Smashwords CEO Mark Coker: mc@smashwords.com
Smashwords Marketing Manager Jim Azevedo: jim@smashwords.com
Los Gatos Town Librarian Henry Bankhead: HBankhead@losgatosca.gov

About Los Gatos High School:
Los Gatos High School (LGHS) is a public, comprehensive high school on the southern tip of Silicon Valley. The Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District consists of two comprehensive high schools and a number of alternative programs. The current enrollment is approximately 1,800 students. In addition to boasting a strong academic program, Los Gatos High School celebrates the nationally-recognized Wildcat yearbook and El Gato newspaper. Students participate in over 50 academic, athletic, performing arts, and community service clubs and organizations. Los Gatos High School is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Los Gatos High School is located at 20 High School Court, Los Gatos, CA 95030, and can be reached at (408) 354-2730. For more information, please visit http://www.lghs.net/.

About Smashwords:
Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks. Since 2008, Smashwords has helped more than 90,000 authors, independent publishers and literary agents release more than 300,000 titles. Smashwords gained international attention for its simple but radical idea: Provide a free service that enables any writer, anywhere, to self-publish their ebook in seconds and make it available for immediate sampling, sale and distribution to a worldwide audience. Smashwords provides free ebooks on publishing best practices that have been downloaded over 500,000 times. These titles include The Smashwords Style Guide (how to format and publish an ebook), The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (how to market any book and build author platform) and The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success (the 30 best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors). Visit Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com.

About Los Gatos Library:
Located at the Los Gatos Town Civic Center, the Los Gatos Library provides information services, access to library materials and digital resources, promotes lifelong learning, and provides educational support. The Library is partnering with Smashwords to reach out to local authors to make them aware of the free tools available for self-publishing. Once these works are available via library distributors such as Overdrive, 3M and Baker and Taylor, Los Gatos Library will have the ability to consider them for purchase as part of our eBook collection. Visit http://www.losgatosca.gov/index.aspx?nid=42.

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