Writing for Educational Packagers: Is It for You?
Monday, I turned in the rewrites on my first work-for-hire gig for an educational packager. Educational packagers put together series books for educational publishers. They recruit authors to do the writing.
To work for a packager, you submit a resume and writing samples. Then, you wait.
If they like your samples and have a series that matches your interests and expertise, you get an e-mail. That’s when the serious work begins. From the date of initial contact to final deadline, I had six weeks to research and write the book, chosen from their topic list. I had another week to do the rewrites which were minimal.
The deadlines are tough but the money is good. I hope they contact me again.
Here are five things to consider before applying for this kind of job:
- Are your interests varied enough to write a book on someone else’s topic? I lucked into a series on ancient cultures. The list included two cultures that I’m deeply interested in, but I would have written about any of them if it meant getting the experience. My background is anthropology. Ancient cultures in general intrigue me. A sports book would be a less comfortable match.
- Do you have access to the resources you need? It doesn’t matter if you go to a local university library, use Google scholar, or an online catalog, you have to have access to something. The reality is that with a six week deadline you need to be able to access and request resources NOW.
- How quickly can you write? My final word count was 14,500 words. This means I researched, wrote and did 2 rewrites on almost 15,000 words in under two months. I’m not going to lie – it wasn’t easy, but I write hard and fast so for me it was do-able. That isn’t the case for everyone.
- How long do you have to let something rest before you can approach it with fresh eyes? You can’t put this kind of project aside for a month before you finalize it. I wrote the manuscript from chapter 1 through chapter 9 and then started again at the beginning with the rewrite. By the time I reached chapter 9, chapter 1 was no longer fresh in my mind.
- How well do you deal with an editor’s comments? Step 1 in this job was to rough the first chapter and an outline. When I wrote the complete draft, I had comments back and, not surprisingly, I had things to fix. I’m not shy so when I had questions, I asked. I looked hard at what they wanted and, the few times their fix wouldn’t work, still addressed their concerns.
This type of work isn’t for everyone but I love research. I can pound out 4 adequate pages before I take a break and I’m not afraid to ask questions or tackle academic primary sources. If this sounds like the kind of assignment for you, polish your resume and check out the listings at Evelyn B. Christensen’s EducationalMarkets for Children’s Writers.
To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards and her work, check out her blog, One Writer's Journey.