Sunday, 13th of September
There are many authors who love writing for the educational market to supplement their income while writing for the trade market or as Simone Calderwood said:
‘writing for the educational market is your bread and butter and writing for trade is the cream on top.’
This session benefited from the experience of Simone Calderwood, Senior Publishing Editor at Cengage, with over 25 years experience in the publishing industry and Pamela Rushby who has many books published in the educational market and the trade market.
Simone talked about the Nelson/ Cengage’s PM series which are used in guided reading sessions with primary school children.
Here are some things to consider when writing these types of leveled readers:
• Sentence structure
• It has to be meaningful
• the story has to have a beginning, a problem and a satisfying ending
• Stay away from the supernatural such as ghosts, anthropomorphic characters and violence
• A tie to curriculum is also important
In the early years children are interested in stories that feature family, pets and friends and as children get older stories can broaden, for example friendship troubles.
Stories that focus on sustainability and include diversity, multicultural perspectives, disabilities and special needs are also sought after.
Authors are given a brief that include a word-list. Simone and an educational consultant receive the submission and if it is accepted the stories go to an editor and finally the illustrator.
Pamela talked about how she loves writing for the educational market in Australia and overseas. She showed several of these publications.
Pamela’s favourite part of writing for the educational market is the research. She also shared some insights in how to approach an educational publisher and talked about the importance of joining professional groups such as SCBWI, writer’s group such as Write Links, subscribe to Buzz Words and Pass It On, and attending workshops and conferences.
In regards to briefs Pamela said:
• These can be very general.
• Make sure the payment is worth your while. If you have an agent you can use them to negotiate
• Usually the publisher will hold the copyright and will pay a flat fee
• Royalties are more lucrative for the author (Cengage provides royalties)
• Briefs are a competition
• Send outlines, ideas, proposals. This could require a lot of research, but if you are not successful hopefully you will be able to recycle the material
• Sometimes briefs are extremely specific
The best brief is one where an editor approaches you directly and asks you to write a specific book.
Pamela flagged a new area in educational publishing; that of the short text for comprehension exercises.
She finished with these
Seven Ways to Make an Editor Love You:
• Stick to the brief
• Stick to deadlines
• Don’t argue about changes unless for a good reason
• Proofread your work before submitting and check against reading levels if these are being used
• Be professional (not high-maintenance)
• Use the internet, it has made research so much easier
• Send an email or card to thank the editor afterwards
There was a brief discussion around the importance of poetry (yet it is), fiction and non-fiction (these are balanced equally) writing for the USA market (e.g. mom vs mum) and the importance of PLR and ELR in writing for the educational market.
Pamela Rushby has worked in advertising; as a pre-school teacher; and as a writer and producer of educational television, audio and multi-media. She currently freelances as a writer of children’s and young adult historical novels, and also writes fiction and non-fiction for educational publishers. Her historical YA novels have won the Ethel Turner Award for young people’s literature in the NSW Premier’s Literary awards, CBCA Notable Book, and short listed in the Queensland Literary Awards. Pam has also written children’s television scripts; hundreds of radio and TV commercials; documentaries on Queensland dinosaurs, Australian ecosystems, bilbies, the Crown of Thorns starfish and Chinese terracotta warriors; short stories; and freelance journalism.
Story by Yvonne Mes http://www.yvonnemes.com