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  • Writer's pictureLaura Schaefer

Find the Non-Obvious Places to Be Awesome

There are *always* more opportunities to be creative in your content than you may initially believe.

Don't overlook non-obvious places to be awesome.

Here's an example: in 1996, I was the editor of my high school yearbook. (Of course, I was...I've always been a bookish go-getter). These were back in the days where we physically pasted page items on cardstock to do our layouts instead of using a computer. It was actually kind of fun.

Anyway, for years and years and years, it was the editor's job to include teacher photos in a four- or five-page spread in the middle doldrums of the project. This was the part of the yearbook that few people would ever even glance at, right?

I said, "What a waste. I think we can do better here."

So, I had my staff ask all the teachers in our school to submit their own high school senior photos to us. About half of them came through for us. We included these older images in the layout alongside the educators' current photos.

It was a hit!

This "little something extra" made me feel as if I'd left my mark and done a good job.

I took this exact same energy into my career as an author when I gathered up vintage tea advertisements in the aughts to include in my first middle grade novel, The Teashop Girls (2008).

It worked again.

That book sold almost 30,000 copies!

People want something new and fresh and visually interesting when they're reading, even if that new and fresh thing happens to be a print tea advertisement from the late 1800s or an image of their calculus teacher from the early 1960s.

People want to be surprised.

So, how can you make your own book new, fresh, and most importantly...totally YOU?

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