Edupreneur Resources, Podcast Articles | Oct 9, 2022
Why I’m pulling some of my books out of print and rewriting “Awakened”
By Angela Watson
Founder and Writer
I’m in the final stages of prepping a second edition of my book, Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching.
It’s being released in November 2022, and I wanted to give you an idea of what will be different and why. I also wanted to give you a little insider knowledge into the publishing world and how I make decisions around my books.
From a technical standpoint, the second edition of a book counts as a brand new book: it has a new ISBN number, new links, and listings in online retailers, etc. As a general principle in publishing, a book should only be released as a second edition if readers who already own the first edition would benefit from owning the second. In other words, it needs to be different enough from the first edition — to have enough updated content, new ideas, and so on — to qualify as a separate book.
This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a second edition of a book and it’s been a really enjoyable process, as you’ll hear. I’m also creating an audiobook version which I’m very excited about — there wasn’t one for the first edition. Audiobooks are extremely time, labor, and cost-intensive to produce, much more so than written books. And unfortunately, they’re the least profitable due to the percentage that Audible takes and the pricing structure they use. I only make a couple of dollars off of each audiobook sold.
However, I’m still excited about the audiobook version of Awakened because I think the book really lends itself well to that format. I think this book is denser in places than my other books, for example, in places where I’m talking about cognitive distortions, and I want to be able to use my voice, expression, and tone to help you parse the information and connect to it.
(Of course, I am reading it myself because so many of you are used to my voice from the podcast and it would feel weird to hear someone else reading it!)
There are also a lot of places where I give example scripts of healthy self-talk and language you can use to reframe your thinking, and hearing that in my voice, spoken over you and into you, I think can be really powerful. So I’m glad to be able to offer the audiobook as an option.
I’ve published a total of 5 books so far — technically this second edition of Awakened counts as book #6. I started my own publishing company back in 2008, called Due Season Press and Educational Services. It’s technically the parent company for my business — anytime I do speaking, keynotes, or professional development, that’s the company I do business as. It covers both publishing and PD — hence the “press AND educational services” in the name.
I wanted to let you read (or listen to an excerpt from the audiobook version) of the Awakened second edition that talks about choices I’ve made around updating books and removing books from print.
One of them will be the devotional companion to the first edition of Awakened, as I’ve shifted the content around and rewritten so much that the devotional would only align with Awakened’s first edition. So, the devotional will be out of print soon. But, it’s currently free to read via Kindle Unlimited!
What follows is the preface in the second edition of Awakened, in which I explain what’s changed and why:
Listen to the audio below,
or subscribe in your podcast app
Sponsored by the Truth for Teachers Playlists
The toughest part of writing a book — at least in my experience — is the finality of it all.
When my thinking changes about something I explore in a blog article, podcast episode, or social media post, I can add an update or disclaimer. I can change it, delete it, or post a follow-up.
But a book requires me to be really, really sure about an idea and my explanation of it before putting it out into the world. Printed copies of the first edition of this book are forever and still remain in tens of thousands of homes and classrooms all over the world.
And yet … if I wait to publish until I’m absolutely certain that I know everything there is to know about a topic and I’m 100% positive that the information will never change, then obviously I’d never write any books. Some works age better than others, but there’s no way to write a book on teaching or mindset that won’t eventually become dated.
Though I think many readers haven’t considered it this way, every book is ultimately a snapshot in time. It captures the author’s research and understanding within the context of their learning so far … and that learning continues every day that we’re alive. Everything we create is a product of our time, lived experiences, and understandings.
All the authors I know regret some of the things they’ve put into print. Some wish they could change their wording in a certain spot, or add and remove specific examples.
Once you’ve released your ideas into the world, you no longer have control over them, and people will apply them in ways you never imagined (both positively and negatively).
So when you have a long legacy of work — I started blogging in 2003 — there will eventually come a time when you either put your head in the sand and ignore your old cringey stuff, or you deal with it.
In 2021, I decided to take my first book out of print. It was called The Cornerstone: Classroom Management That Makes Teaching More Effective, Efficient, and Enjoyable, and published in 2009. Frankly, I don’t want teachers buying classroom management advice that’s well over a decade old, and there were a couple of chapters that I feel are problematic and reinforce negative stereotypes.
When I pulled The Cornerstone, I’d already taken the most relevant parts of that book and developed the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek program. This is an online, self-paced course with downloadable resources, printables, audio resources, and more.
40 Hour has been available since 2015, and I have a team of people who check for outdated links and add more current resources every year. We also did a major overhaul to the entire program in 2020 to reflect pandemic teaching as well as user feedback about how I might better organize and format the materials.
I’m much more comfortable with creating online courses because I can add new resources as education changes and as I grow both personally and professionally
But with this book, Awakened, a second edition felt like the best way to update my ideas.
I wanted to create an update which reflects not only how the world has changed over the past eleven years, but how I’ve changed as a person, as well.
Looking back now in 2022 at the version of Awakened I first published in 2011, I can see three distinct phases in the path toward becoming who I am currently. The first phase was driven largely by my understanding of the Bible and my Christian upbringing. The second phase was driven by cognitive-behavioral therapy and neuroscience.
Over the past few years, I’ve entered a new phase of personal development that’s fueled by a more holistic mind-body approach. I’ve also explored how many of the problems we attribute to our own personal faults are actually coping mechanisms or learned behaviors. Our mental health is not developed in a bubble and is greatly impacted by societal expectations, as well as systemic and institutional structures.
Through all these stages of my personal development, I can see many common threads, and I think you’ll notice them as you read this second edition.
This time around, the book is even more centered on non-attachment to expectations and outcomes, along with non-judgment toward yourself and others.
You’ll find a heavy emphasis on letting go instead of trying harder; of unpacking behaviors and thought processes and releasing the ones that aren’t serving you well.
The goal is to be the observer of your thoughts and choose the perspectives that align with your values and how you want to feel. This includes building an awareness of our biases — including prejudice and stereotypes — but also confirmation bias, recency bias, and other things our brains do to help us stay alive that create all kinds of distorted, inaccurate thought patterns.
Radical acceptance is another running theme in the book: accepting what is, so you can work to make peace with, adapt to, or create needed change from a place of clear-headed insight. There are some parts of teaching (and life) right now for which cultivating a neutral emotional experience is probably the best-case scenario, and I share many healthy reframing strategies that don’t aim for a positive outlook.
These were all principles in the first edition of the book that I’ve developed much more fully in the second.
So what’s been removed?
I’ve taken out references to religion and spiritual practices that some folks found distracting and that no longer reflect my own beliefs. These mentions were intended to be inclusive but had the opposite effect in some cases, and prevented me from encouraging public schools to utilize the book with their teachers.
I’ve also removed or edited paragraphs that could be perceived as toxic positivity. I’ve been super careful not to imply that if you’re unhappy in teaching, it’s your own fault, and if you just think differently about your circumstances, everything will be great. You’ll see more acknowledgments about the need for systemic changes and tips for how to advocate for better working conditions without burning out.
Perhaps the biggest change is an acknowledgment of the mind-body connection, which frankly I didn’t understand at all when I wrote the first edition. I heavily reworked multiple sections of the book to address listening to our bodies and intuition, and responding when feelings arise not from thoughts but from trauma that is stored in the body. While I’m not an expert on these realities yet, it felt important to acknowledge them and guide you toward other resources where you can learn more.
One of the best parts of creating this second edition has been seeing my own growth as a writer. I think you’ll find this book flows better, has more natural and less stilted language, and explains concepts more clearly. At least, I hope so! I’ve had almost twelve additional years of regular writing and publishing experience since I wrote the first version of Awakened, and it’s been really rewarding to see how my voice as a writer has evolved.
I re-wrote this book in large part for myself: I wanted to once again feel comfortable having this book exist in the world with my name on it. But more so, of course, this book was written for YOU.
Teaching has not become an easier profession over the last decade. As I write this, we are in our third school year that’s been impacted by the pandemic, which has created a roller coaster of unpredictable, uncertain, and unstable teaching and learning conditions. We’re seeing a greater number of teachers resign, retire, and walk out than ever before in my lifetime.
Changing the way you think cannot fix all the problems in education. But for those teachers who have decided to stay — or want to stay, or need to stay — your mindset is an aspect of your work that you have a great deal of control over.
Your mindset is worth attending to so that you can live the best life available to you and show up as the best version of yourself for your students.
I kept the title and subtitle of this book the same because I do still think of mindset work as an awakening. Each new “aha moment” and realization about what’s working in my thought patterns (and what’s not) brings me to a greater level of contentment and peace. Awakened is still a fitting title because I want you to experience those moments of new insights and possibilities, too.
And, even though so many other things are different now than ten-plus years ago, I do still believe that changing your mindset can transform your teaching. More than that, it can transform the entire way you live your life and bring you into better alignment with who you really are.
Thanks for taking this journey with me, whether it’s for the first time now or a decade after the first time you read this book.
This second edition is a snapshot of where I’m at right now … and I can only hope to have the kind of life experiences and personal growth that would lead me to write a third edition in another ten years.
This process of transforming our minds to live with full integrity and authenticity never ends. I’m glad you’re here with me on the path.
Thanks for reading this excerpt from the second edition of Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching.
I’m so grateful for your support of me and my work!
The Truth for Teachers Podcast
Our weekly audio podcast is one of the top K-12 broadcasts in the world, featuring our writers collective and tons of practical, energizing ideas. Support our work by subscribing in your favorite podcast app–everything is free!Explore all podcast episodes
Founder and Writer
If you are a teacher who is interested in contributing to the Truth for Teachers website, please click here for more information.