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Thread: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

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    Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Have you done this yourself or know anyone else who has tried?

    With a lot of the text books available today I look at them and honestly feel I could do better myself. I also note that there isn't a really good low level email English text book on the market yet (Paul Emmerson's book is too high a level for the majority of business English students).

    However before I start slaving away at my PC can anyone tell me if this is a viable course of action. How many proposals do publishers receive each year? What percentage do they accept? How lucrative is it - can you make a reasonable amount of cash as an EFL author?

    All comments appreciated.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    A fellow teacher and I considered it last year. We actually approached a couple of publishers. We were very keen but the attitude was "publish a book and we will think about trying to sell it for you". You can't devote that amount of effort, especially printing, without some advance. Also the rumours of commissions to purchasing officers is a bit scary

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    My dad has written about 30 Australian history text books.

    I can tell you that it's a LOT of work. The rewards aren't all that high. The satisfaction level is though...

    I've met his publishers a lot. I.e. been to dinner with them, been involved in the odd meeting. (I helped with research on a couple of the books). I can tell you for a fact that they get countless proposals. Countless. Very, very few ever make it to actual publication.

    That's Australia.

    Things may well be different here.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Go the Tigers. Are you Wests or Balmain?

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwiling
    Go the Tigers. Are you Wests or Balmain?
    Balmain mate

    Though I used to always love the Wests side of Tommy, Dallas Donnely and co. when I was a kid. Merging with the Maggies was perfect for me

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Yep. Every rebels second team right?

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    There's definitely a market for text books for subjects like geography and world history with appropriate language for esl learners and a Thai oriented content, for students in bi-lingual programmes here.

    As far as English language textbooks, there are plenty of excellent ones already out there. Go to DK books near Petburi road and have a look.
    Last edited by robitusson; 8th July 2007 at 22:19.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    My Dad used to write all his own history and geography textbooks. It was the only way (he said) he could have up-to-date books. Personally, I think he liked the challenge. His books on middle-eastern politics were great. I wrote more of a booklet (only 25 pages) on essay writing. It makes my life easier when I teach writing. I am also compiling an anthology of American literature, but that's more for fun than for publication.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Publish and be dammed

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    I would, but it isn't finished. I have to complete the commentary.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    I have written 60 reading books so far in thailand to teach the early stages of reading. the problem with textbooks here is they are not bought for the children's current level of learning but rather what would look good for the parents. a new student of mine who came from a 2nd tier international school in Phuket said her class P5 were working from an M1 textbook. fine she said for here and her 3 american friends but the other 22 students couldn't read more than 10% of it. the problem i see before the textbook is the lack of reading materials and simple books for kids to take home. they don't read a lot in Thai. I too reckon I could write a better textbook but probably no one would by it. Also we forget that principals have specials deals with book companies that probably involve little back handers and cuts for both. I think a principals first though when choosing textbooks is whats in it for me.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    It's something I have thought about many times. It would be great to have a set of textbooks that had a Thai focus.

    Putting the hard work required aside, there were two other main issues as I saw it:

    1. Who's going to pay you to have a 6 month-1 year sabbatical to write the book?

    2. Books aimed at the Thai market must be inexpensive, so unless it was adopted country-wide there's little money in it.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    There's definitely a market for text books for subjects like geography and world history with appropriate language for esl learners and a Thai oriented content, for students in bi-lingual programmes here.
    There might be a market, but thre is no inclination for those in charge to put their hands in their pockets to pay for anything!
    Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    There are plenty of places to find publisher's trends. You migh be surprized to learn what is hot and what is not in books from year to year. First-time authors classically have a hard time getting published. And if you send a hundred queries with your sample chapter, some young editor might steal your idea.

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    Re: Writing a text book - is it worth the effort?

    Quote Originally Posted by bet
    1. Who's going to pay you to have a 6 month-1 year sabbatical to write the book?

    2. Books aimed at the Thai market must be inexpensive, so unless it was adopted country-wide there's little money in it.
    precisely, sums it up well. If you really want to write a book, do it for your own satisfaction: it won't be a moneyspinner.

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