On Saturday 14th January, I hosted a Meetup for the Materials Writing Special Interest Group of IATEFL. The idea was to enable some informal networking for anyone in the area who is involved in writing ELT materials.
One of the activities we did involved editors/publishers and teachers/writers posing questions for each other on posters, and then adding their individual answers to the “other side’s” poster.
To share some of the insights beyond our cosy meetup in Germany, I’ve decided to type up the questions and answers here on my blog. So let’s start with the questions posed by editors and publishers:
How regularly would you like to have contact with the editor(s) of a project you’re working on? And what’s the best way to keep in touch?
– by email, or phone calls at pre-arranged times.
– by email, not via CMS!
What makes a schedule achieveable?
– advanced planning
– involve writer in negotiating deadlines
– time of year – respect teachers’ other commitments during term time
What characterizes the optimal brief?
– sample of how material should be submitted, or a template
– realistic and clear
– not too many stakeholders
– best to talk through together, not just send document
How can we help you find out more about the target audience?
– provide contact o teachers/schools/advisors
– set up focus groups
– provide info on curriculum, or previously published materials
How can we encourage teachers to use our materials?
– poss. make videos of example lessons showing how the materials can be employed or adapted
– specific materials in terms of students’ content learning (rather than general textbooks), e.g. for us on literature/linuistics/culture studies
– make mix & match units available
– attractive design for learners – put less on a page instead of cramming in as much as possible
– make them adaptable
– provide pdfs
What can a publisher or an editor do to make you want to keep working for them (besides pay you lots of money)?
– regular work
– reasonable workload & deadlines
– no projects at busy times of year
– pay in advance for work, rather than on the basis of books sold
– make communication as efficient as possible
– show appreciation & respect for writers’ time and work