publishing

Materials writing news and views, August 2020

*Opens hands expressively* Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s update.

*Does cup holding/triangle hand thingy in front near belly* My name’s Pete, and today …

Ahhh you’ll get what I’m going on about in a minute.

New releases

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Finding work as a writer

I haven’t shared any tips for new writers for a while, not since my post on how to find commissioning editors. So, here it goes.

There’s nothing wrong with building connections at big publishers like Pearson, Macmillan, CUP, OUP, NGL (Cengage, whatever). It’s good to aim high and you might well get lucky. However, there are loads of other companies/organisations you can write for in ELT. If you aren’t getting much luck with the bigger publishers then why not look elsewhere?

Here’s a list of possible avenues for you to explore. Note:

  • this is not a list of endorsements
  • this is not comprehensive, it’s just some ideas to get you started

If you’d like to add any more ideas for fellow newbie writers then please do so in the comments.

The Content Station

‘Your trusted educational publishing team…’. This lot are easy to find on LinkedIn and active enough. The couple of times they’ve contacted me has been for editing rather than writing so if that’s your bag then maybe drop them a line.

Yeehoo Corporation

They produce a magazine called Phoenix English. They are often looking for copy – mostly churning out graded texts. The mag looks okay so this could be a good portfolio builder.

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Free lessons on Onestopenglish

Onestopenglish is still free at the moment. This is a great opportunity to make the most of their awesome resources. There’s so much available on the site: lesson plans, articles related to methodology, resources created by the Onestopenglish community… they’ve also been teaming up with institutions like NILE recently to provide tips for teachers.

I’ve written a few resources for site over the past year which I hope you will find interesting and useful. Most of them are for the Everyday Life series. They’re print-and-go adult General English resources, complete with teacher notes and student worksheets. These are often task-led and typically suit 1 – 1.5 hour lessons.

Everyday Life Lesson Topics:

Exercise

Minor illnesses

Typical dishes

Fake news

Superstitions

Star signs

Getting to work

Describing your neighbourhood

Article /resource for the Online Education series:

Parents as Temporary Teachers

Lesson Share Winning Resource:

Instant Coffee, a Black Mirror inspired short story with resources (for approximately three hours of class time)

Feedback on any of these resources is most welcome! I hope they come in handy for your own lessons.

Materials writing news and views, February 2020

I’ll hopefully keep this update going this year. Bit busy at the moment so here are a few very quick updates and some useful links.

New releases

Express Publishing are promoting a new book English for 21st Century Skills (Mavridi and Xerri), which comes out Spring 2020. Lots of different contributors, looks good. No link on site yet.

All levels of Language Hub (Macmillan) are out and promo in full swing by the look of things on social media.

Shout out to Jen Dobson, who has written the course ‘Getting Started with Early Childhood English Teaching’ on Language Fuel.

The new global product for teens from the British Council, Secondary Plus, will be rolled out here in Thailand in May. Project-based approach, academic/exam skills add-ons. Looks pretty polished for a first version. It’s already being used in Europe. I’ve had a sneaky peak. Thumbs up. Info here. Disclaimer – had a bit part to play in these, that’s it. (more…)

Materials writing conversations #4: the artwork brief

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

[Researched photo: someone sunbathing]

Comment (design): Can you be more specific? E.g. male/female, etc

[Researched photo: an image to match the phrase ‘I enjoy sunbathing’. A male, perhaps…]

Comment (design): Can you be more specific? Is the speaker male or female?

[[Researched photo: an image to match the phrase ‘I enjoy sunbathing’. I’m not sure if the speaker is male or female. I have requested that the speaker is male, but I don’t know until this is recorded. Maybe the best thing to do is stick with a generic reference to sunbathing, e.g. an image of a bottle of sun cream]

Comment (development editor): Given issues with appropriacy, perhaps a male would be better? (more…)

Materials writing conversations #3: natural, authentic speech

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

Editor: So, do you have any suggestions for the pronunciation stage? We were thinking of, maybe, catenation.

Me: Right. Okay, I can do that. If it appears in the listening text I mean.

Editor: What do you mean?

Me: Well, just… if catenation is a feature of the text. Like, if catenation is actually used by the speakers in the dialogue.

Editor: Well… it will be. If we decide it’s the main pronunciation point for this spread then…

Me: Hang on, can we back up a bit here? Aren’t we doing things backwards? (more…)

Materials writing conversations #1: Pork

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors…

Editor: I think your ideas for the ‘British food’ lesson are great. The listening works well. It’s just…

Me: Just…

Editor: …you mention a fried breakfast. I probably wouldn’t.

Me: Why? Oh… wait. The sausages, right?

Editor: Yeah. And the bacon…

Me: Right.

Editor: …and the black pudding.

Me: Okay… Can’t we just say sausages and bacon, but not mention they are pork? I mean, you can get chicken sausages, turkey bacon… there are veggie or vegan substitutes for both too. I’ve had them. (more…)