Where do my materials writing opportunities come from?

Here are some true stories behind how I’ve been offered /ended up getting involved in certain ELT writing projects. Not all of these have resulted in paid work – some are just offers that fell through, things I turned down for some reason of another, even some things pending! I won’t state which, obviously. I have mentioned some of these on social media before (old LinkedIn posts, etc), but I’m kinda collating them here because…

a) they might give you some new ideas for how to search for work

b) they might be of general interest to other writers

c) lots of them reinforce the whole ‘social media/blogging is really useful’ thing that I always harp on about.   

Anyway, here we go…

  • I wrote a blog post related to teaching English through football, which I shared across social media. An editor got in contact (3 years after I originally posted it) asking my availability to write a more substantial resource on the topic.
  • I wrote a blog post about teaching during the pandemic, which I shared across social media. A resource website read it and (about a month later) asked if I could contribute to a series on online education.
  • A publisher got in contact with me directly through my blog, asking my availability to write a coursebook series. I didn’t notice, as their contact request went to spam! ALWAYS CHECK YOUR SPAM! Luckily, they followed up on LinkedIn, then I saw the original request.
  • An ex-manager at my school changed careers, joining a publisher. They approached me to work on various projects.
  • A publisher got in contact via LinkedIn offering me a big project. They said that a colleague had worked with me before and I came highly recommended. I’d never worked with their colleague. I was honest. They didn’t seemed to care as they thought I was good fit anyway. Phew!
  • I tweaked my LinkedIn profile to say I was interested in writing digital resources. A publisher got in contact directly though LinkedIn to ask if I could write the digital resources for a new series.
  • I contacted a teacher (well, senior leader) who worked within the same network of schools. I originally asked for teaching work, but there wasn’t any. They later tagged me in a post on LinkedIn about a writing opportunity which they knew related to my interests. I struck up a convo with the publisher and it went from there…
  • I updated some in-house resources as part of my role in a teaching centre. I was recommended for further writing roles.
  • I wrote a blog post about how to contact commissioning editors on LinkedIn. A publisher commented on the post and invited me to collaborate with them. That led to a book, actually.
  • I won the One Stop English Lesson Share competition. I was offered the chance to write for the site off the back of it.
  • I worked with a great editor. They recommended me to another publisher a couple of years down the line. Twice!
  • An editor I’d worked with recommended me to another editor – same company, different product.
  • I connected with an editor on LinkedIn, shared details of my writing, and they passed them on to a colleague as my experience fit that particular project.
  • I registered with an ELT consultancy company and was asked to be involved in a project.
  • I had an idea for a series of resources. I contacted a resource site and they took it on.
  • I applied for a writing role after seeing it advertised internally at my teaching centre.
  • I shared a link on social media to resources I’d created for a publisher. Another publisher thought I’d be a good fit for a new project related to a similar topic.
  • I applied for something through ELT Publishing Professionals.
  • I shared an example of a humorous text I’d written for a published Secondary resource (via LinkedIn). A publisher got in contact about writing teen resources that were fun and engaging.
  • Another writer shared a link to a random writing opportunity they’d come across and thought I’d be interested in. I applied.
  • I saw an ad in a Facebook group and applied.
  • I saw a packager’s promo post on LinkedIn for something else – not a specific project. I speculatively messaged them and got involved in another project almost immediately.
  • I posted my availability on LinkedIn. I was approached within a week to write a sample.
  • I posted a resource I’d written about teaching YLs on my blog/on LinkedIn. A publisher got in contact via LinkedIn. It came to nothing as the project was shelved. They kept my details, and got in contact about another project nine months later.
  • A publisher contacted me totally out of the blue on LinkedIn and asked me to write a sample.
  • I speculatively contacted an editor on LinkedIn. They asked for my CV, then got in touch down the line (this has happened more than once).
  • I posted my availability as an ELT blog writer on LinkedIn, as I realized it could be another source of income for a writer. So far I’ve received about seven expressions of interest and one offer.
  • Someone in my teaching centre, who was involved in in-house product development, needed something done on the cheap so they asked a teacher…
  • I joined the BBC talent pool and was approached through that.
  • I’ve signed up as a provider/vendor thingy for lots of publishers. This occasionally ends up in an email asking about availability.

These were the examples I could think of kinda ‘top of my head’, but there might be more. I know some sound similar but all sliiiightly different I think…

Looks like I’m recommended every now and then. It’s always reassuring that someone, somewhere thinks I do an alright job. Beyond that, lots of opportunities have popped up through LinkedIn in some way – says a lot. And there’s been some luck, obviously. But I guess there’s been some shameless self-promo in and around that which has *maybe* helped on the luck front, haha.

Anyway, the repetition there probably says it all. Blogging helps, but I think the way you share the posts is really important (you know, generating interest, inviting comments, etc). I have no idea what a good amount of ‘impressions’ or ‘engagements’ is for social media posts and tbh, I’ve posted things before which have well under ‘1000 impressions’ according to LinkedIn but clearly the right person has seen it. I could learn more about that though – maybe it would help get noticed? Who knows. I find social media promo a bit ‘meh’, so the idea of reading/learning more about it doesn’t feel that exciting. At the moment, anyway.

By the way, on the social media sharing front, thanks all for your help with this. MUCH appreciated.

So, over to you. How have you come across / got involved in some of your writing projects?

Categories: General, materials writing

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. Thank you for this post! It gives me a lot of hope and motivation to keep on creating. I love thinking of lesson plans and new activities based on already existing tasks or authentic materials. I hope that one day I’ll be able to write about my writing adventure, too.

    I think that it takes one right person to stumble upon your materials to get into publishing. And of course, except for this luck, immense skills (which you obviously have!).

    Good job and I hope that more opportunities are coming your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers for reading and for commenting! Yes, you need some luck, but you can help make your own! I know it sounds cliched and all, but as you said you never know when someone will come across your work and show interest, so keep putting it out there!

      I’m adding a link to it here in case anyone stumbles across it, and on LinkedIn

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing. Like you, I too do lots of networking and promote my work as much as I can through exposure to social media. It’s a lot of effort with little results, sadly. But I will keep at it because writing is what I enjoy doing. Thanks for sharing this. What’s the BBC writing pool?

    Liked by 1 person


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