Placing Student Work in the World – Part Two [Self-Distribution and Self-Publication]

Having looked at the importance of MAKING PROJECTS MEANINGFUL by giving them life outside of the classroom, we now focus on how those projects can be given life in the world.  There are three main ways students can take their work beyond the classroom:

  1. Submitting Written Work
  2. Self Distribution and Self Publication
  3. Submitting Media Arts

In this article we will look at four accessible ways students can self-distribute and self-publish their pieces.

Distributing the work through a guerilla art campaign


Taking their work into their own hands can be one of the most engaging ways students can interact with, and have an impact on their community.  By putting their work out into the world all by themselves, they can observe reactions, see engagement, and choose a targeted location for their pieces.

Keeping it Legal
A key priority for any teacher should be to never put their students at risk.  Ensure that you understand the local laws about postering and displaying of works in public spaces.  In Toronto the laws are straight forward, and can be FOUND HERE.

Useful Resources – Retro Heroes

This article is about the Guerilla Art campaign that turned Neighbourhood Watch signs into something talked about, and actively discussed.  It demonstrates the impact that a local artist can have on a community.

Reclaiming Public Space through Guerilla Art

These articles explains how Guerilla Art can be used as a form of protest in an effort to reclaim public space.

Assignment Ideas

  • Create a poster that connects themes from a text to an issue that is directly affecting your local neighbourhood, and place the poster in a number of locations in your area.
  • Choose a symbol that best defines your feelings about a local community.  Write a passage explaining the importance of the symbol, and how it connects to your neighbourhood.  Then, place the symbol around your area.
  • Choose three colours that connect your local community to an issue you have studied in class.  Explain the importance of the colours, and the text-to-world connection you are making through them.  Then, obtain a quantity of yarn to yarn bomb an area so others will think of those colours.
  • Optional Extension: create a “Museum Label” and place it beside your works to give further information to viewers.

Adding something to an online store


There are few students who couldn’t use a few extra dollars in their pocket.  Whether they create successful pieces that sell hundreds or thousands during their first attempt, or just learn how to create an online store to use later in life, the experience of taking your work and selling it to others can have a staggering impact on their creations.

Simply knowing that one other person thought enough to spend fifty cents, or fifty dollars, on your creation can be a huge boost to student self-esteem and help point them in a direction for future success.

Useful Resources

Red Bubble
Red Bubble is an easy to use storefront that allows for the creation of all number of products from stickers, to phone cases, to t-shirts.  Students can upload their creative art pieces, and instantly see them applied to a variety of products.  By distributing the links they can sell their work to the masses.

Society 6
Similar to Red Bubble, students can apply their art to a number of different products.  They can then sell their work by sending the link to their product to their desired audience.

Google Play Store
Although there is a small one-time fee of $25.00, having a Google Play store can be a huge leap forward for teenage developers.  The number of students who have created strong apps, but who haven’t taken the leap to put them on a store is staggering.  Giving them the confidence to turn them from amateur developers into professional developers is something that can stay with them for a lifetime.
Students looking for a free way to bring life to their games can be found here. offers a number of tools to help developers create the perfect storefront for their product.

Assignment Ideas

  • Any assignment where students develop an image can be applied to Red Bubble or Society 6.
  • Students should design a logo that encapsulates the symbolic meaning of their unit of study.
  • Create an app that would be helpful for a character in one of the texts you have been studying; explain how the app would aid them in their journey.
  • Create a simple game that allows players to engage with a small part of your unit of study.

Self-publication and self-distribution


A number of publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts.  If students have created a larger format piece, they can attempt to seek publication from one of these publishers.  The trick is finding who is accepting what at what time.  Luckily there are a host of websites that aggregate that information quite often.

Useful Resources

Students who are looking to self-publish their own texts need look no farther than Blurb.  One of the go-to sites for Print on Demand services, Blurb offers students a host of tools that allows them to take their work from Computer File to hard copy masterpiece.

Toronto Public Library – Asquith Press
The Toronto Public Library has a small-press service that can be extremely affordable for students looking to make multiple copies of their texts.  By showing students the actual ins and outs of self-publishing, and engaging them to take all the steps to go from text file to text book they will have the skills required to self-publish in the days ahead.

MS Word – Booklet Printing
There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing with a printer, photocopier, and stapler.  And there are few cheaper ways to self-publish.  By using the MS Word Booklet Printing option, it will reformat an already written Word File ready to be printed as a booklet that can be stapled together in the middle.  Students can photocopy however many copies they want, and then sell them, or distribute them wherever and whenever they desire.  This is a cost effective way to build up a small collection of chapbooks and novellas.

One suggestion: Print the cover on coloured paper.  This small distinction can add a level of quality and professionalism to even the most amateur of text.  You may also want to invest in a LONG ARM STAPLER to help with the binding process.

Assignment Ideas

  • Write a collection of poetry that explores the impact your unit has made on the student.
  • Have each student create a short story, and self-publish the entire collection.
  • Write a novella that is inspired by the events of your current unit.
  • Develop a “survival guide” that would aid people that are featured in your text.

Consignment through a local establishment


Interacting with the local community can be an important way for students to understand the process of selling their items.  This is by far the most terrifying technique, but also one of the most empowering and lucrative.  By asking local shops to sell items based on consignment students will be creating community partnerships and building upon a pre-existing brick and mortar location that will allow for their work to be seen by the public.

Useful Resources

Selling Products on Consignment
Information on consignment selling can be found here.  The ups and downs and things to watch out for are all laid out in an easy to understand way.

Local Stores
A number of different shops will take your products based on consignment.  Small book stores are great for this.  Comic book stores are often willing to sell your work based on consignment too.  Some convenience stores may be willing to put your work on display for you, and pay you when it sells.  The key thing here is that you will have to ask, and be ready to face rejection.  Still, it can be a nice way to engage with your community.

Assignment Ideas

  • Use a BADGE MAKER to create pins that relate to your unit of study, and ask local shops to sell them for you.
  • Create small-press comics and ask your local comic shop to sell them for you.

What’s Next

In the next section you will learn about three more ways to put student work into the world.  These next three pieces will look at how to put media arts out into the world in a professional and accessible way.

First Steps

Type of Publication Projects

Creation and Publication Project

Creator Spotlights

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