Materials writing conversations #14: The Packager’s Price Is Right!

Completely imaginary.

Host: Okay, let’s see who our next contestant is…

Announcer: PETE, COME ON DOWN!

Pete: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! *runs down from the studio audience*

Host: Give him a big hand! Pete, you joined us with such enthusiasm – I’m sure there are plenty of packagers out there ready to take advantage of such naivety. What’s your specialism, niche, whatever?

Pete: Hi! I specialize in sneaking puns into coursebooks, and mentioning Bognor Regis.

Host: Oh, the irrelevance and lack of pedagogical value! You’ve got a good writing career ahead of you!

Pete: Thanks…?

Host: Okay, so let’s take a look at our next prize!

Announcer: Be the envy of absolutely no aspiring ELT author anywhere, by taking on this digital authoring contract! Create digital resources for twenty units of a coursebook. Forty activities for each unit, covering vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, all the skills plus viewing, critical thinking, mindfulness activities and more! The publisher decided to spring it on existing authors at the last minute, but they all jumped ship. Now it’s been outsourced to a packager, who will oversee your work on a digital authoring platform that’s full of glitches! Get frustrated by glorified gap fills. Feel underpaid and undervalued! You can suffer from plenty of silly syntax errors – if the PRICE IS RIGHT!

Host: Okay. So, there it is. A digital authoring contract. Now remember, the ‘price’ we are looking for is the fee the packager is offering to the freelance author. Get it right, and you win that contract. Your guess can be under as much as you like, but not ONE PENNY OVER.

Okay, so, let’s go to Keith first. Keith, what is it you do again?

Keith: I’m a struggling ELT author, between projects at present.

Host: Okay, so… any project will do?

Keith: It will. It would. Anything.

Host: You’re sounding a bit beaten down there, Keith.

Keith: I am.

Host: Recent projects have squeezed the life out of you, haven’t they?

Keith: They have.

Host: This is not the YES/NO game, Keith! *audience laugh* You’re playing for that contract! So… What’s it worth? What fee will they offer?

Keith: I’ll say… 10,000 pounds?

*The audience burst into laughter. Close ups of really exaggerated chortles and a group of project managers at the back of the studio audience doing thumbs down signs*

Host: Whoa, whoa. Okay. Look. Now… ha ha… Now settle down everyone. Now Keith might not be too far off here. I mean, there are a lot of activities to write, and you have to factor in that the work will overrun so much that this could be Keith’s livelihood for 6 months maybe even 8! I mean, he’s so depressed he’s unlikely to get any other work, so… Keith – ten thousand – are you sure?

Keith: Well, it would be nice…

Host: Okay, ten thousand it is. Sofia! We’ll go to you next. You’re a freelancer, right?

Sofia: That’s right!

Host: Oh, she’s playing the YES/NO game too! You’re on the wrong show both of you! *audience laughter*

Sofia: *Eye roll* Yes, I’m a freelancer.

Host: And, you specialize in digital materials development?

Sofia: I do – Yes, I do.

Host: And I hear you’ve done lots of training on different digital authoring platforms. Can you tell us more?

Sofia: Yes, well I recently completed my Avallain Training

*audience ooooooooooh*

Sofia: After having read Pete’s review of the Avallain training

*audience aaaaaah*

Sofia: And lots of other tools, erm, lets see… There was the EdApp training, then –

Host: Okay, so you’re skilled. That’s what the packager needs but… will the price be right? Do you want this project, Sofia?

Sofia: Yes!

Host: How much?

Sofia: This much!

Host: You’ll have to explain the gesture for the purposes of Pete’s blog



Sofia: 7000 POUNDS!

*audience groan*

Host: Okay. Well it could be. Sofia says seven thousand. Okay, so finally, Pete. Pete, you’re an author, right?

Pete: Yes.

Host: You’re learning. *light laughter from the audience*

Pete: Thanks.

Host: And… There’s never really been any ‘good old days’ for you, have there? The fees have always been quite low.

Pete: No, I wouldn’t say that.

Host: From packagers, I mean. Packager’s offers, not the ones directly from publishers…

Pete: Oh, yeah. Shocking. Like, utterly diabolical sometimes.

Host: Okay, Pete. Best not do yourself out of work. Remember, you’re live on TEFL TV.

Pete: Oh yeah. Packagers? No… The fees are great! Really fair! No complaints at all.

Host: Pete, what’s it gonna be? What’s that contract offer?

Pete: Hmmmm.

*Various audience shouts, all around the 1000 pounds mark*

Pete: I’m gonna say… 300 quid.

*a ripple of applause*

Host: Okay. Remember, you can be under, but not ONE PENNY OVER. You’re sure? Only 300 for all that work?

Pete: Yeah. Sounds about right.

Host: So, let’s reveal the fee for the digital authoring contraaaaaaaaaact… Iiiiiiiiiits

324 pounds and 52 pence, after local tax has been taken! That means…. PETE! You’ve won the contract and you’re into our SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN for a chance to win a signed photo of Jack Richards!

Pete: Ummm… But I don’t really want the contract, the signed photo maybe…

Host: Here’s your contract, sign it! It’s all that’s out there for a writer with your limited ability.

Pete: Well… Can I include puns?

Host: Do what you like. It’s the digital add on! No one will use it anyway.

Categories: General, materials writing

Tags: , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. Surely the title of this post should be renamed to “Deal or no deal?”. Great post once again Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

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