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writing textbooks

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Joined: 20 Feb 2005
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 7:00 am    Post subject: writing textbooks Reply with quote

Hi all,

I just got my MA in May, and I've been working on accreditation at ESL schools ever since.

Working on accreditation has shown me that my training was well worth the money and effort, and I would like to take the next step: textbook publishing. My confidence at the moment is extremely high.

This weekend, I plan on preparing proposals for at least 1 publishing house (I'm still working full time, but I have time off until Tuesday.)

Does anybody have some tips to help me out? Should I aim for the best or try for a smaller company?

Also, I would also like to document my experiences with accreditation, as this seems to be a growing field in the post-9/11 ESL business. Should I start with this or do a textbook first?

My specialties in college were materials development, pedagogy, and CALL, and I did my thesis on VanPatten's Input Processing theory, which is, imho, the most effective theory to date. An IP textbook is certainly what I would be doing.

So, if anybody has some advice, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks in advance. Smile
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Joined: 31 May 2004
Posts: 144
Location: SE Asia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2006 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best place to get advice on this is at an ESL conference where plenty of publishers are bound to be present.

Some publishers have their own forms and format that they require proposals to be sent in on. Usually you can download them from their websites.

Basically, they will be looking for textbooks that are unique. After all, there's no point writing another 'Headway'. Business English books are growing in demand, though.

Finally, don't expect to make a lot of money. Dan Brown and JK Rowling didn't get rich writing pronunciation exercises. Confused

my site:
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Joined: 23 Dec 2005
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with material writing is the better I have got at teaching, the more of a waste of time I think most materials marketed commercially actually are. Which creates a problem if I want to write materials.

Publishers here in Japan are looking for the smallest amount of titles possible to lock in large sales for a particular part of the ELT market. THey are not looking for a lot of creativity (a creative approach might not be intuitive to either teachers or learners). Sure they use the word creative like it was very common, but real creativity isn't.

They also like materials that are rather formulaic. That is, each chapter more or less follows the same routine. Which is one of the biggest reasons why this whole thing always seems to clash with my teaching (I do some things routinely, but I try to build complexity into a term as a term progresses).

I'm interested in producing good supplementary materials (indeed, that is how I build the courses I teach, avoiding regular course books like the plague), but I wonder is it worth my time to do this if there is no market for them? It really does seem hard to get someone's attention at an ELT conference. You really can't assume that the person who is the salesperson knows anything about editing for that publisher or even that much about ELT. Sure, I've met some behind the tables at OUP or CUP who knew ELT , but finding those who bring together editing skills, contacts with editors, plus know-how about ELT in a particular market, that is rare.

And I just edited it to say a bit more: one thing I noticed is the proliferation of copy-cat exercises, and the one that is my biggest bane is the 'listening cloze'. How I hate them so much.
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