Do you like to write? Are you passionate about a certain subject? Have you had teaching experience? Do you like to research? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you might want to find out more about a career as a textbook writer.
The Textbook Publishing Market
Textbook publishing is a dynamic field that’s currently experiencing radical changes., according to University Business. For years several companies dominated the market and controlled prices so students might need to spend up to $1000 in books for a single semester. Factors such as rising student loan debt, poor economic conditions and even government intervention began to break the hold the publishers had on the market. Enter a mushrooming open resource movement comprised of learning packets, e-books and other innovative learning materials that are free or very inexpensive.
What Does a Textbook Writer Do?
The tasks and responsibilities of textbook writing vary between and within subjects. Traditional textbooks require a systematic approach starting with an outline that the publisher will probably want to approve first. With the outline in hand comes the research and writing. Again, the publisher will want to review the work in phases as it is produced. The type of writing depends on the audience, topic and medium. Traditional textbooks are reference resources that contain mostly content, but for write e-books and learning guide packets, the writing is lighter. Since open educational resources are replacing traditional media, another opportunity exists which is to compile materials in different forms and formats.
What Background Does a Textbook Writer Need?
The number one requirement necessary for textbook writing is excellent writing skills. Writers who want to write for all ages and grade levels need to be able to flex writing styles accordingly. But for those who would rather focus on a single age/grade level, then the writing style must be consistent, such as writing college textbooks. A teaching background is important, though not always an absolute necessity.
Why Write Textbooks?
As with anything, there are good and bad reasons for writing textbooks. High on the positive side is the professional recognition that comes with crafting a respected book. If you are already a teacher, it might help cement your position on the faculty, or help you achieve tenure in higher education. Writing also gives you the chance to research and explore something that interests you, and plus, you become an expert, according to Times Higher Education. One reason not to write textbooks is to make money. The amount of time put in versus the compensation will not make you rich.
How Does a Textbook Writer Find Work?
How you find works depends on experience and background, but generally you need to have a well-thought out idea developed into a dynamite proposal. Current teachers may already have relationships with textbook publisher reps who can help writers get in contact the appropriate editors. For those that don’t, it’s easy to find the appropriate editors with a little Internet research.
Related Resource: Educational Consultant
Finally, a textbook writer is someone who has passion for writing, research and the topic at hand. As an adjunct to existing work, it is rewarding and often, the high point of a career for writers and educators.