Career paths in ELT publishing Part Two

Summary: How an ESL teacher can get into publishing Part 2

Although many people find the fact that how to break into the ELT publishing world is rather opaque and difficult frustrating, the fact that it can rely on personal contacts and being in the right place at the right time as much as they standard of things you have written can also work to your advantage. In fact, you might even be able to break into the business without ever presenting your ideas on paper. A comment by someone in my recent workshop at the Tokyo Expo/ ELT Bookfair reminded me that the way I first got the idea of writing my ideas down and getting them published was by putting my ideas into a workshop plan and then having people who attended say I should get them published. By giving your workshops on a wider stage than I did, you might even find that the person giving you that feedback works for a publisher...

Example Two- The Workshops Man
1.    Attend as many internal and external workshops as you can
2.    Get more involved by asking questions both during and after the workshops and volunteering during brainstorming etc. If you talk to the presenter after the workshop or at any other time during a conference, make sure you give them your business card, and if it doesn't seem too pushy you could get their input on any workshop ideas you have.
3.    Start giving internal workshops at your school, even if your school has never had workshops for teachers and that means you have to organise them from scratch. If you are nervous about giving workshops even with this limited audience, write the whole thing out as a full article, edit that down to short workshop notes and practice it with a friend or family member.
4.    Expand the audiences of your internal workshops by inviting teachers you know from other schools, opening it up to teachers of other language etc.
5.    Write up your workshop notes so that someone else could give the same presentation another time
6.    Expand and polish up your PowerPoint slides and workshop notes and turn them into a short article for a small publication like your school’s newsletter for teachers, a SIG (special interest group of a teachers’ association) newsletter etc.
7.    Give the best of your internal workshops as a small external workshop, e.g. at your local chapter of TESOL or IATEFL
8.    Talk to any publishers present and get them to come to your workshops
9.    Give workshops at larger and larger events and publish the subsequent polished up articles in more well known publications.
10.    By this time someone should have asked you to write at least a couple of articles on the same or similar subjects for them. If not, possible responses can include trying to make the topics of your workshops more publication friendly, specifically mentioning at the end of every workshop that you are looking for writing work, getting feedback from any publishing people who attend on whether you really have a publishable idea, and specialising more and more until you are the one expert on a particular subject.

If you really are in a rush to get published, you might want to try some of the more direct approaches described in the other articles. Otherwise, you might be surprised how often indirect approaches like this one work.

Copyright © 2007

Written by Alex Case for

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