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JOHN AND SARAH FREE MATERIALS (C) 1996

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HOW TO GET YOUR TEFL BOOK PUBLISHED

This article was donated by  Stuart Tipping who is the sales manager of  a publishing company in Britain. It contains some basic good advice if you are a language teacher and you are thinking of publishing a book.
 
 

HOW TO GET PUBLISHED

One of the unfortunate repercussions of fewer ELT publishers in the market-place is that it has become more difficult for first-time authors to get published. Publishers invest a lot of money in promoting established authors. They expect their authors to be loyal to them.

HOW DO I BECOME AN ELT AUTHOR?

The easy answer is: produce sound practical materials which are well-written, well presented, and which show a sound grasp of the theoretical issues as well as an understanding of the problems of the classroom.

ARE GOOD IDEAS ENOUGH?

No. Thousands of teachers have good ideas for material. There is a huge difference between a good idea and a book.

SO WHAT IS A BOOK?

In publishing terms, a book is a product. It has to have a size, a shape, a design, and a place in the market. There has to be a need for it. If sufficient teachers and students are prepared to hand over money for your ideas, then you have a book!

HOW DO I START WRITING?

Lesson 1: go to an ELT bookshop and study what is available and ask the staff what sells well and why. 
Lesson 2: write for your own classes. Be generous and give your materials to colleagues and get their reactions.

MY CLASSES LOVE MY STUFF

Great! The easiest material to teach is the material you write yourself. The real test comes when someone you have never met uses it. Does your material depend too much on your presentation and your personality? if you are working in a UK language school with small multi-lingual classes, can you imagine it being used by a non-native speaker teacher in a regional Spanish city in a class of 30 teenagers?

SHOULD I SEND IN THE FINISHED BOOK?

No! Whatever you do, do not spend ages polishing your book and sending it to a publisher complete! If you do, it will invariably be sent back with a note saying that it is very interesting, but 'does not fit our list'.

BUT I'VE GOT LOADS MORE STUFF

If you have a filing cabinet or suitcase full of your material, stop and think! You may be sitting on the new blockbuster. If you send in a well-presented proposal and mention that you have lots of other material, a good editor should come and see you. Every editor would love to discover the next great ELT author!

THERE'S NO 'E' IN GRAMMAR

Editors are allergic to writers who spell grammar as 'grammer'. If you are orthographically challenged, don't forget to use the spell-check!

GUARANTEED SUCCESS?

Definitely not! There are very few full-time ELT writers. You should see writing first of all as a professional interest - something for weekends and evenings - a supplement to your teaching. The most successful books in ELT are not necessarily the best. Your first book may not be a runaway success, but you will gain the trust of your publisher if you hand work in on time, re-write when they ask you to, and craft your work carefully.

THE FIVE BASIC STEPS

1/ Write an outline, mentioning why your book is new and the ways in which it differs from existing books on one sheet of A4

2/ Write as detailed a contents list as you can.

3/ Write two or three sample units in full, and if you think it necessary, the introduction.

4/ Include a stamped addressed envelope.

5/ Before putting it in the envelope, re-read it and ask yourself if it is well-presented, clearly written, and shows writing talent!

This article was written by  Stuart Tipping.
His contact details are as follows.

LANGUAGE TEACHING PUBLICATIONS

114a Church Road, Hove East Sussex,

BN3 2EB, UK

Tel: 44. ( 0 ) 1273 736344

Fax: 44.( 0 ) 1273 775361

e-mail: LanTeaPub@aol.com

 

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JOHN AND SARAH FREE MATERIALS (C) 1996