So, you want to write textbooks or resources?

Note: this is a re-run (or updated version) of a post from my previous site/blog, so if it feels a bit déjà vû, it’s not you: it’s me.

My path to writing textbooks and resources really began with a revision website years ago, so I would strongly recommend sharing resources online in some form to get your name known/ prove your value, if you want to build a career in textbook writing. These days, a lot of people start with a solid Twitter presence. Think about what your niche specialism is (mine was loving English Language, a subject that many English teachers felt under-qualified to deal with). How can you make best use of your experiences and interests? What are you passionate about that could make you helpful to others?

Here are some ideas for places to start or make approaches, in the world of English teaching although I will say that a lot of my work has come to me through word of mouth or via other connections. Also: being an examiner is a great way to build connections and expertise.

  • Submit to Teachit, bearing in mind that they’re looking above all for classroom-ready materials which don’t require explanation/ contextualisation and which fit the latest specs. Material you’ve used in your own classroom with your own students needs adaptation in order to be suitable for other teachers to use. Be warned: they can take a LONG time to get back to you.
  • Approach Emagazine, Mediamag, the English Review or other similar magazines with ideas for articles you could offer. Do not write an article without discussing it with them first, as you don’t know what they’ve got ready for the next issue. The best way to judge how to write for these (or any) outlets is to read and analyse their contents for tone, address, sentence length etc.
  • For broader teaching ideas, the TES is also worth approaching. Again, look at stuff they’ve published recently to model yours on first, and approach them with a pitch before going in too deep, to make sure they haven’t already got a piece on exactly what you’re suggesting just about to go.
  • If you have a blog/website, always cite this as a writing sample as well as sending any resources or articles you have produced or already had published.
  • You can approach publishers directly with a CV and writing samples as well as a clear statement of what you are available for writing. To find out who’s accepting submissions, the Writers and Artists Yearbook (published by A & C Black around July each year) is invaluable – start there and double check online for the latest info on submission guidelines.

What do you think?