Continuing with the theme from Sophie’s last post for BookMachine on interesting English Language Teaching (ELT) Publishing start-ups, she interviewed Karen Spiller, freelance ELT project manager about her most recent venture with fellow ELT professionals Sue Kay (ELT author) and Karen White (freelance ELT project manager).

What is ELT Teacher 2 Writer and who is it for?
ELT Teacher 2 Writer puts English Language Teaching (ELT) teachers, who are aspiring authors, in touch with publishers looking for new authors. It also offers an online training course in all the skills and areas new authors need to consider while they are preparing their material for publication.

How does it work?
Teachers who would like to become writers, and those who are already published, sign up, free of charge, to the ELT Teacher 2 Writer database by completing a form. The form asks very detailed questions about their teaching and writing career to date, including ages taught and countries and market sectors in which they have experience. Teachers can also express an interest in other areas where they would be interested in collaborating with publishers (piloting materials, writing reviews, doing promotional talks, etc), give details of any publications they’ve already worked on, and add any other information that publishers might be interested in. The database is available to publishers to search for free, to find new authors.

How can publishers benefit from ELT T2W?
For some Publishers just having access to the database is enough. Publishers are always looking for new talent and these days they need to increase their pool of writers to accommodate the increasing need to produce multi-component, multi-level courses on ever-faster schedules. The days when the same author wrote the Student’s Book and then moved on to the Workbook and then the Teacher’s Book are long gone. ELT T2W allows publishers to search for teachers/writers with experience in specific markets, sectors and age groups. However, publishers can also make use of our extensive expertise and knowledge of the ELT industry to find specific writers for their requirements. We can use our knowledge of the industry to select potential authors from the database and we can then work with the writers to prepare a sample matching the publisher’s brief, and submit that to the publisher for consideration.

How else does ELT Teacher 2 Writer help potential authors?
One of the issues that the ELT Teacher 2 Writer team identified is that there is very little training available for people who feel they have great ideas and results in the classroom and want to turn their materials into content for publication. Teachers might be very experienced in dealing with and delivering material in the classroom, but writing it up, going through the editorial process and seeing the finished product on the shelf is a long process. We’ve drawn up a course of modules covering core writing skills, component-specific writing skills and skills for different markets, which will be written and presented by leading ELT authors and publishing experts to offer training in this area.

Can you explain more about how the training element of ELT Teacher 2 Writer works?
The course is modular in format and works on a pay-as-you-go model. The modules will be available to download from our website on a self-study basis in your own time.
Something that we are also getting a lot of feedback on is that as well as the modules being valuable for new and established authors, we’re also seeing editors and other professionals within publishing houses expressing an interest too. Editors can benefit from getting the view from the author’s side of the fence too!

What are your feelings on self-publishing and teachers using self-publishing tools to produce their own materials?
That’s an interesting question actually, but whether you self-publish or use the collateral of the larger publishing houses skills in editorial and marketing, it is still content that is the key element. If the content isn’t appropriate for the market, it won’t matter who produces it, it won’t be a success.

The ELT Teacher 2 Writer model benefits everyone. Publishers will be able to increase their pools of authors and save time on author training. Teachers will be able to get some insight and training in the writing and publishing process, thereby making themselves and their materials more attractive to publishers. It’s a virtuous circle! If you are a teacher or writer looking to let ELT publishers know you’re interested in working with them, sign up to the database at ELT Teacher 2 Writer now.