Materials writing news and views, June 2020

Rushed off my feet. No time to put any news and views together in recent months. This one will be more views than news, and a bit loose.

So, what’s going on?

I expected loads more cancelled projects due to COVID-19. There’s been talk of some, but it also seems like there are plenty of contracts around. My usual ‘bug all my connections on LinkedIn until someone caves in and offers me writing’ has reaped the usual rewards. Having said that, I’ve been too busy to take most things on. New teaching role (see here), lots to learn.


There’s understandably a lot of worry at the moment for writers. The question on everyone’s lips seems to be…

Will pay remain this low?

Yeah, probably. Experienced writers love to reminisce about when royalties and other perquisites came as standard. When publishers’ demands were reasonable, when writers really did retire to the Cayman Islands… We’re talking back when Babylon Zoo topped the charts with Spaceman.

The problem for full-time freelancers is that they have to compete with people like me – teacher-writers. Most teacher-writers I know are like ‘as long as this writing pays me more than my hourly teaching rate then I’ll take it’. We’re not fussy. And unfortunately we end up writing well enough because we still have that ‘this will work in practice because, well, it did yesterday…’ type luxury. Not that everything does of course!

Blame us, we’re the ones that are driving the pay down. We are cheap, better than average labour.

Plus we remember all the lyrics to Spaceman. I’m sure that adds insult to injury.


I feel obliged to mention both of these small(er) scale publishers because there always seems to be a new/recent release doing the rounds. Prosperity have had a recent exam book out from Monica Ruda-Peachey, Express have a Business English book out among others (anyone got the link? I deleted my screenshot). Express are a tad alternative… I’ve seen an NLP resource from them before.

Alphabet Publishing, Shakespeare
Something really cool has just turned up in the post…

Can’t wait to review these. Watch this space.

Ah, spoiler – first impressions… best so far from AP. They’re coming up with some good stuff. Random comment, but the covers are getting better too.

The Dorothy Zemach self-publishing course is running next month (July 5th). That’s it, that’s the news.

Wait. You need to have prepared a resource to publish prior to taking the course. Ruled me out unfortunately. Was looking forward to this one, but I’ve given all my good ideas for books away to publishers for a little over my hourly teaching rate. Will have to wait until next year.

Authentic texts
Here’s Sue Kay (San Francisco Bay) on authentic videos. Nice post. She mentions the ‘Wow factor’ of video materials – go to Great Big Story for that, I still love that channel.
DLA get a mention at the end. I was glad to see they’re finally marketing their resources as ‘graded authentic’ now.

Raise Up
The B1 level resource is coming soon. Looks like Sergio Durand was involved in this one. He’s worth following on Twitter.

ELT Publishing Professionals
ELTpp have been keeping members amused/energized/connected with various events. Quizzes, Facebook meetups, Capoeira sessions, birthday celebrations. They’ve been pretty active, long may it continue.

ELT Teacher2Writer
They just updated their website. Check it out.

They also have new releases in the pipeline…

Monica Ruda-Peachey
Second mention in the same post! Speaking of ELTpp and it’s members, check out this newish blog created by Monica. Interesting insights, interviews, etc.

Online Education
Onestopenglish have launched a new methodology series related to online education. I’ve contributed something (I wouldn’t bother reading it, no puns). There’s a good resource in there related to wellbeing.

Rumour mill
Marek from TEFL Equity Advocates has been everywhere recently. Interview with Martin Sketchley (known as ‘Sketch’ to his former colleagues…), webinars for Pearson on native-speakerism, his article for OUP, and just generally around doing his (important) stuff. He’s dropped plenty of hints about a coursebook he is working on for NGL (Cengage, whatever) which embraces English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). Game changer? Watch this space.

Haha, mentioning NGL just reminded me of when we were using the ‘Life’ series at a school in the UK. I remember one teacher complaining about how ‘esoteric’ the book was. Such a great criticism for a global coursebook. Cuts to the core! I politely disagreed mind you, John Hughes is a personal favourite of mine.


Nearly forgot Clare Maas’ new post. Oh, now did I mention that IATEFL talk about inclusive materials in the last update? Here’s the follow up Q and A anyway. I asked a couple of questions, nice links in the answers.

If you only listen to one thing materials related this month…

More industry-related across the board than specific to writing.

DIESOL podcast

That’s all I’ve got, sorry. Bit out of touch. I’ll bounce back over the summer!

Categories: General, materials writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

7 replies

  1. Thanks for the mention 🙂
    Re: Dorothy’s course – every time I see it I get excited, then realise I need to get something basically ready to go, think I’ll do it next year, and still haven’t got anything…!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for sticking up for ‘Life’ Peter 🙂 In fairness we sorted a few things out in the second edition so maybe he was using first.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for the shout out for Dorothy’s course!

    Another friend recently asked ‘how ready’ does her material need to be and Dorothy replied:

    “What you need in advance is a concept, and *some* of it written. But you do not need the whole work complete. We get into formatting reasonably quickly, though, so you need at least a few pages to work on. But what you learn on those you could apply to future chapters or units later.”

    Hope that helps! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dorothy’s course this year is coming up again in 5 weeks! 🙂 Starts June 6th!


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