In this post, we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author AnnMarie Thomas, author of Making Makers: Kids, Tools and the Future of Innovation.
AnnMarie Thomas is an associate professor of engineering at the University of St. Thomas, and holds both master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering. She became involved in the maker movement, which is a movement that emphasizes the democratization of creating things or concepts due to the reduced cost of, and increasingly easy to use, manufacturing devices and tools, when she served as an executive director of the Maker Education Initiative for a full year.
Where writing about the maker movement was concerned, AnnMarie Thomas began by writing some articles for magazines involved with the maker movement. She also, over the course of time, interviewed seventy makers throughout the country, asking them about their childhood, with the intention of writing the book. It was after her stint as an executive director that she decided to write her book out for real, as she didn’t want it to go “stale,” which, according to her, would have been unfair to all those who had told her their stories.
AnnMarie went with Maker Media, which published a magazine to to which she had contributed, as her book’s publisher, and this made the creative process of publishing somewhat easy for her, as she and the Maker Media people she interacted with had common ground, in the form of the maker movement. That said, as this was the first time she had written a book “with zero equations,” she couldn’t help but feel uneasy as she wrote it. The deadlines the publisher gave her were also added incentive for her to finish her book, as were the deadlines she had given to her friends whom she promised to allow to read parts of her book along the way.
Marketing the book was also relatively easy, given her involvement with the maker movement. AnnMarie would be interviewed on radio in cities where maker faires were being held, which helped draw attention to the maker movement and the maker faires concerned, and a batch of her books was also distributed to the participating makers at a maker faire in New York as a gift for participating.
AnnMarie had no benchmarks for her book, other than that those who had told her their stories were comfortable with the way she told these, and she noted that her book has had an impact on the way at least one teacher taught her classes.
Creating a book, according to AnnMarie, is part of the maker movement, and her advice to those who want to write a book is to get started because, as she says, “You’re not gonna finish if you don’t start.”