5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Todney Harris, author of Battle Grounds: America’s War in Education and Finance

JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Todney Harris, author of Battle Grounds: America’s War in Education and Finance
(Friesen Press)

Hello America! I just thought that I would take a moment and explain the reason why I decided to dedicate myself to writing this publication. First, let me introduce myself. I am an African-American male who has dedicated my life to servicing America’s youth as an educator.

I have learned a great deal about education and the children of America during my career. My specialty is the content area of History and related subjects. I have worked at both the middle level and at the high school level. I can state for the record that I have enjoyed my career and the interaction with the youth for the last thirteen years. During this time, I have seen changes in this wonderful country of ours that has had a definitive effect on education. These changes in America are the inspiration for this book.

The reason why I have written this book is due to the fact that America’s economic classes (lower, middle and upper) as well as America’s most important institution education, focuses and revolves around the economic philosophy of capitalism. The economic social structure and educational structure in America was created due to the growth of industrialization in this country.

The book focuses heavily on economics and it’s role in the American educational system. There are probably a few people who are wondering why a teacher in America would write a book that talks about America’s economic system due to the fact that I am not a college professor or a teacher of economics.

In essence, I am serving as a primary source. I am speaking in a forthright manner regarding the effects of economics on our educational system. It is my hope that everyone enjoys the reading. I also hope that my thoughts that I have written are taken seriously.

Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write Battle Grounds?

Todney Harris: I would have to say cumulative experience and knowledge of the profession. I have witnessed the changes in education over the last ten years, and I just wanted to speak out about the crisis that has escalated within the world of education.

JP: What sets Battle Grounds?

TH: My book is about reforming the educational system. I speak truth. I do not sugarcoat or omit information that parents, politicians and fellow educators must be knowledgeable about.

JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to Battle Grounds?

TH: Hello and good day fellow authors! I am pleased to write a few words regarding the process of publishing and marketing self-published books. Let me begin the conversation by stating that I heavily emphasize having your publication professionally reviewed prior to publishing. It is a worthy investment and helps to ensure author credibility. With that in mind, let’s address some tips.

First, control your product! Prior to publishing anything online, make sure you own your domain names to establish control of your product. Your name and the name of your book should take priority when putting your work out there for the world to see. After purchasing the domains, you can create your websites from templates that are very easy to manipulate. WordPress and Go Daddy are online sellers that offer templates for all types of genres. Once the websites are officially published, make sure that they are registered with the major search engines. Use key words and or phrases that will allow your book to appear in the links that consumers are researching.

Next, take the time to target your market. It is very important to locate the venues, online media, publications, organizations and any other outlets that will best help promote your book. Having a target market in mind when you approach social media will make all the difference. Through these online resources, you can establish relationships with people who advertise and publicize the types of genres that you have written. On a personal note, I have learned that Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and the blogs and personal websites that I have created have been quite successful in promoting my ideas and establishing relationships. I have met people who are not only interesting in purchasing my book but who are also interested in sharing information. One technique that I have found especially useful is linking or bundling together social media sites. No matter what site a consumer is using, any one of my accounts will lead to another.

I cannot stress enough that you need to reach out to people whom you meet via social media! A phone call goes a long way in establishing a personal relationship. Involve the people you are going to need for promotion. Since the traditional model of publishing is losing its dominance, it makes sense to establish relationships with those online organizations who read, review, edit and publish books. One of the greatest ways to do this is through blogging. I have established relationships with fellow bloggers. I have written guest posts, read and reviewed books myself, and used those services to advertise my book as well. Once again, relationships are everything!

In closing, keep in mind that the best results come from the best organization. BE PROFFESSIONAL at all times. Please take the time and invest in yourself. Any online tool that you use must be of the highest quality. If you do not take the time to do this, you will seriously compromise your credibility. Do not even think about putting any product online that is not complete! Remember, the success of your product depends upon how you represent yourself. I try to emulate the processes of major book publishers. Follow the “model” that major publishers use for their successful authors in order to become one yourself.

JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish Battle Grounds America’s War in Education and Finance: A View from the Front Lines?

TH: I needed two years to properly research the information that was necessary for the publication. During that time, I created and outline and wrote according to the topics or chapters in the outline. As I conducted and completed research about a particular topic or chapter, I wrote! The editing and revising of the book was also a part of the two-year time period.

JP: What’s next for Todney Harris?

TH: PUBLICITY! I hope to utilize all methods and means to publicize my thoughts. This book is too important to fail. I only wish that I had an agent and a traditional publisher to get the legitimacy and press advertising that I deserve.



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