Although I developed the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks from 2008 thru 2012, I’ve actually been designing math worksheets since the mid-1990’s. I had made my first math worksheets for my own family back then. As a physics instructor, I saw a need for students to improve their math fluency through good old-fashioned practice, and so I created math workbooks on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, long division, percentages, decimals, negative numbers, algebra, and trigonometry.
These workbooks feature old-fashioned practice. They aren’t modern workbooks that aim to entertain students with pictures. They’re just loaded with plenty of problems. They have many more problems than most students will need, but that’s far better than having too little practice. The additional problems don’t affect the price of the book, but may come in handy for teachers or parents with more than one child, for example.
Note that these are workbooks, not textbooks. It would be great if you could get a textbook for the price of a workbook. Wouldn’t it? But the focus of these workbooks is to provide practice. The more advanced workbooks do include a page of explanations and/or examples at the beginning of each part, but keep in mind that this is intended to serve as a brief refresher – they aren’t intended to teach the material.
You could complain that these workbooks provide too much practice (it would be a shame to get more for your money than you need) or that these workbooks don’t teach the material as well as a textbook or teacher. Fortunately, most customers realize that what they’re buying is ample practice and appreciate that the explanations or examples provide a refresher, but don’t expect the workbook to replace other forms of instruction. They supplement the course, but don’t replace it, which is what any workbook is intended to do.
You can find some free math worksheets on the web. Many parents and teachers get their worksheets this way. Many parents and teachers also appreciate the convenience of having the worksheets organized in a book. Some parents and teachers would also spend much more money on ink cartridges or photocopies than the cost of the book.
Speaking of photocopies, the copyright statement allows parents and teachers who purchase or borrow from a library one copy of the workbook to make photocopies for their own children or students. This is very convenient for teachers and parents with multiple children. My goal is to help students improve their math skills; not to force teachers and parents to purchase more copies than they really need.
I have co-authored a handful of full-color math flashcard e-books, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and trigonometry. The flashcards are full-screen on most devices. The addition and multiplication flashcards first appear in order for students who are just learning. It’s easy for them to follow the pattern in the beginning. They should be trying to understand and memorize at this point. The second half of the book (and the entire book for subtraction and division) has the cards shuffled out of order, which tests their memorization. Immediately following each card is the answer so that students can quickly check whether or not they are right. Unfortunately, it’s an e-book, and not a game. Therefore, the cards always appear in the same order. If you’d like flashcards that appear in random order, there are many flashcard apps available for smart phones (some of which are free). It’s not about me selling my own books; it’s about helping the students learn. So I have no problem recommending that you explore math flashcard apps.
A couple of books are geared to basic chemistry and astronomy concepts. The astronomy books focus on the most basic concepts of astronomy. These are not intended for advanced students. Kids and adults who aren’t familiar with the basic concepts may appreciate these basic astronomy books. They include many full-color illustrations (unless you buy the one black and white edition) and help with pronunciation (except for the 40-page paperback – the longer paperback and Kindle editions all help with pronunciation).
The chemistry book is both detailed and conceptual. Unlike most chemistry textbooks, it puts the computational aspect of chemistry aside so that students can focus on understanding the ideas. The conceptual coverage is quite detailed, though. This can be useful to students, to help them understand the main ideas in addition to the math that they are learning in class. It can also be helpful for anyone who would like to know more about chemistry without having to learn the math in the process.
THE FOURTH DIMENSION
I love the idea of a geometric fourth dimension of space. My books on the subject of the fourth dimension are my endeavor to try to share my passion with others. These books are conceptual and visual, but don’t require an advanced understanding of mathematics. Yet they are very detailed without being highly mathematical. This makes the books accessible to a very wide audience, while the detailed information would also attract readers with stronger backgrounds in mathematics.
My original books on the subject, The Visual Guide to Extra Dimensions, Volumes 1 and 2, are the reason that I began publishing books. I had finished writing and illustrating these in 2008, when I chose to share them with the world. I opted to self-publish these books when I discovered a link to CreateSpace from Amazon’s homepage. When the sales ranks climbed to 5,000 in March, 2009 (shortly after Volume 2 was released), I was pleased with my decision to self-publish and amazed at the supportive readership. Strangers emailed me to thank me for publishing these books. It was quite a feeling, and gave me the confidence to continue self-publishing.
A Visual Introduction to the Fourth Dimension is my modern color work on the fourth dimension. My original books read with a somewhat encyclopedic tone and appearance, whereas this color book has a more creative style to the writing. (The Visual Guide to Extra Dimensions is black and white.) A Visual Introduction to the Fourth Dimension is available as an e-book or in paperback, while my others books on the fourth dimension are only available in paperback.
Since I teach physics, it’s only natural that I also have a few physics books. I have two introductory textbooks, which are geared toward advanced, independent students. An Advanced Introduction to Calculus-Based Physics (Mechanics) covers the first semester of physics with much detail and a strong calculus component. It also teaches the calculus as part of the course. The explanations are clear and detailed to help independent students, yet the audience is advanced students who like to figure things out. The approach is based on understanding the material by learning fundamental concepts very well, and the coverage is extensive. A Guide to Thermal Physics is a somewhat more advanced textbook for independent learners.
My Creative Physics Problems books simply contain numerous physics problems with answers to selected problems. The problems are highly creative; most contain monkeys or bananas. The creativity helps to engage student interest in this difficult subject. The problems are also quite involved; although they sound interesting, they aren’t simple problems. There is a better selection of traditional, involved, highly algebraic problems (like projectile motion and Kirchhoff’s rules) than in the recent editions of many modern textbooks.
My mom and I have coauthored (which means that my mom did all of the hard work) several word scramble puzzle books. This includes Teen Word Scrambles for Girls, Christmas Word Scrambles, Golf Word Scrambles, Fun Word Scrambles for Kids, Song & Artist Music Word Scrambles, a few positive word scramble books, several word scramble books with a hint of chemistry, and a few unique word scramble books (like Spanish-English, French-English, and Pig Latin). The Christmas and golf word scramble books are visually quite appealing (even though they are black and white). My favorite is the Negative/Positive Antonym Word Scrambles Book, which is designed to help practice turning negative thoughts into positive ones.
The chemistry-themed books are great for word lovers, even those who absolutely hate science. It would be a shame if the thought of chemistry scared them away, since you don’t need to know anything about chemistry or even like any part of it to appreciate these word puzzles. On the other hand, if you love chemistry, then you may appreciate finding a word puzzle that somehow relates to it.
The idea behind the chemistry-related word puzzles is that all of the words are made up of symbols from the periodic table. You don’t need to know anything about the periodic table at all in order to solve the puzzles. All this really does is add a fascinating dimension to the word scrambles. Since many of the symbols have two symbols (like Cr, Pt, La, Be, and Dy), this allows the word scrambles to make use of a vocabulary of longer words without increasing the difficulty of the puzzle. This turns out to be perfect for people who love to solve verbal puzzles, even if they don’t like chemistry. Unfortunately, if you just whisper the word “chemistry,” many verbal puzzle lovers will take off running. 🙂
We took this concept a step further to make VErBAl ReAcTiONS word scramble puzzles. Even the name of the puzzle is made up of symbols from the periodic table. We made all of these word scramble puzzles look like chemical reactions, even though you still don’t need to know anything at all about chemistry to solve the puzzles.
GOLF AND CHESS
Finally, I have a few log books that relate to my favorite hobbies – golf and chess.
A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers is a two-volume how-to guide that is packed with detailed information and step-by-step instructions. Much of the information in Volume 1 is specific to Microsoft Word 2010 (which is very similar to 2007 and 2013) for Windows. In contrast, the ideas in volume 2 are neither specific to Microsoft Word nor Windows – these ideas should be quite helpful to anyone. Volume 1 is geared toward formatting and publishing your book or e-book. Volume 2 covers packaging and marketing; it also reveals a couple of valuable formatting tips, such as how to use different headers or page numbering styles on different pages and how to use a touch of HTML to improve the e-book formatting.
You can find plenty of free information about self-publishing here on my blog, just by clicking on the pages under the Index on the sidebar to the right. This includes Cover Design, Blurb, Editing/Formatting, Marketing, Writing, and Publishing. Some topics from my books can be found on my blog, but just in terms of concepts – the writing, organization, details, wording, presentation, structure, etc. are vastly different. The books also contain information that isn’t on my blog and vice-versa. I don’t mind at all if authors enjoy the blog contents free and never buy the books. Please feel free to recommend this blog to other authors if you feel they may find the information to be useful. Many authors and aspiring authors find the paperback books to be handy when it comes time to implement the instructions. The information is organized much better in the books and the books are more comprehensive, plus it’s convenient to lay the page right before your eyes. Also, more customers find my books than discover my blog, so the books help me reach a much wider audience. (I hope that they will check out my author page and discover the supplemental material posted on this blog to enjoy in addition to the books.)
In March, 2014, I updated and expanded my original self-publishing book, How to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon.com, which was first published in May, 2009. This guide covers some information about writing and developing the concept in addition to editing, formatting, publishing, and marketing. New sections have been added to cover e-book formatting and publishing, paperback formatting has been expanded, the marketing chapter has been revamped, and the previous content has been significantly updated and expanded. Overall, the book increased in length by over 60 pages.
Formatting Pages for Publishing on Amazon with CreateSpace is specifically geared toward formatting a paperback book for publishing at CreateSpace. It collects many handy details together, like formatting headers and footers, having Arabic and Roman numeral page numbers, and allowing for images to bleed. Much of this information can also be found in A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers; the difference is that this book is entirely focused on paperback formatting, while my other book also covers e-book formatting, publishing, and other topics.