VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR: Interview with Education Expert Hal Lanse

Hal W. Lanse, Ph.D., is a premiere teacher trainer in New York City, specializing in middle-grade and young-adult literacy. He is the winner of the 1997 Frank W. Dilley Award, Walden University's annual prize for outstanding doctoral dissertation. Dr. Lanse, a consultant with the UFT Teacher Center, trains teachers in current literacy research and shows them how to turn the research into daily classroom practice. He has also taught many parent workshops for the United Federation of Teachers. Lanse lives with his son, Kenny, in New York,NY. You can visit his website at www.readwellthinkwell.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Dr. Lanse. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’m a longtime literacy instructor and teacher trainer. I suppose I’ve been writing since kindergarten. Then of course I had to write a masters thesis and doctoral dissertation. That was my fist taste of high-level writing. I published my first (long forgotten) children’s book in 2000. Now, my first
nonfiction book has been published. This one seems to be doing well. Then
publisher has just asked me to submit a proposal for another education book.


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Read Well, Think Well is a book for parents who want to help their children
develop good reading skills. Over the years, I’ve given a lot of family
literacy workshops. Parents always ask for a good book where they can learn
more. Unfortunately, the books on the market were all bursting at the seams
with educational jargon. Finally, I decided to write a parent-friendly book
on my own.


What kind of research was involved in writing “Read Well, Think Well”?

I have a lot of research at my fingertips. I belong to several professional
organizations and I receive their literature. I read many books on education
and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been trained by a number of leading
literacy experts.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

None. The publisher emailed the cover to me and I was instantly charmed.
It’s really eye-popping.


Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

At first it was an uphill battle, because most publishers said: “Great
concept, great outline, great sample chapter, we won’t touch it.” Why?
Because I didn’t come armed with the all-important (drum roll) NATIONAL
PLATFORM. At the 11th hour Adams Media contacted my publisher. They had
faith in my mission to help support literacy across the country. And so,
Read Well, Think Well was born.


For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

After I signed the contract, the editor gave me two months to write the
book. Nine months later it was published. The whole process took just under
a year. Thanks heavens I’m not an anaconda. They don’t eat while they’re
pregnant!


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

Irene Goodman is my agent. She’s fantastic. She believed in my book and
persisted until we found a publisher. I couldn’t have done it on my own.
Irene worked very closely with me on the proposal and it made all the
difference.


Do you plan subsequent books?

Adams Media has asked me to submit a proposal for a companion book. If all
goes well, Write Well, Think Well will be underway very soon.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

I’m a give-me-a-deadline-and-put-some-pressure-on-me-and-I’ll-work-on-it-day-and-night-til-I-get-it-done-so-please-give-me-some-coffee writer.


If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A promotional tour with Barack Obama. Hitch you’re wagon to a star, they say.


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Publishers offer little in the way of promotional support, especially with
newer writers. If you don’t self-promote, then your book will die a quick
and quiet death. I’ve used some of my advance to hire two publicists: one to
set up a radio tour and one to set up a blog tour. (It’s all tax deductible,
I hear.)


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Believe in your vision and surround yourselves with others who believe in
you.


Thank you for coming, Dr. Lanse! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

You can find me at: www.readwellthinkwell.com. You can buy my book from any of the online or brick-and-mortar booksellers. It’s on Amazon, B&N and all
the rest. If you happen to be in Brooklyn, NY on September 14th, you can buy
the book directly from me at the Brooklyn Book Festival.
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