How many of your customers would be very disappointed if one of your products ceased to exist tomorrow? How many would register it only momentarily before replacing it with something that, as far as they’re concerned, is more or less interchangeable? My guess would be that (in the majority of cases) they would be only marginally inconvenienced, and this is something of an inconvenient truth in ELT publishing. Right now, we’re witnessing Product/Market Fill, when what we should be aiming for is Product/Market Fit. What does that mean, and what can publishers do about it?
Frustration, anger, confusion, boredom and repetition are all hallmarks of bad user experience (UX); unfortunately, they’re often hallmarks of language learning too, especially when it takes place digitally. But bad UX is not the only reason digital language learning products fail – sometimes it’s the content, sometimes it’s the pedagogy, sometimes it’s the lack of human interaction. Bad UX alone fails to address the complexities of language learning. We need to start talking about bad learner experience (LX). Bad LX could be defined in a number of ways, but at its most basic it’s this: not only did you fail to learn something; you had a horrible time trying.
Publishers often seem to struggle to look beyond content as the primary driver of their products, while for tech companies it’s often not much more than an afterthought. End result? Products that fall flat, create poor experiences and don’t live up to their full potential. How can we move towards a more unified product-driven approach?
Since our last round up, more self-published and small press books have been released. It’s not an easy route, especially in terms of getting your book out there and into the path of teachers and students, so check out these titles. Manage Human Resources in English by Simona Petrescu This is a course of English … Read more
Getting into digital materials writing is still a goal for many. Good luck if you’re one of them and here are some tips to help. While not comprehensive, the list is the real deal and reflects the big changes happening right now in ELT publishing as a result of the rush to digital. It’s aimed more at those trying to get in as new writers, rather than established authors.
We’ve been watching Marcos Benevides and his team at Atama-ii Books for over a year as their series of Choose Your Own Adventure Graded Readers went from an idea to a crowdfunding success to an actual out-now-and-buyable books. This is the first in what we hope to be a series of posts looking at what happens behind the scenes to ELT Entrepreneurs during their journey.
You need more time to commission or write the next ELT blockbuster. Or just to share pictures of your lunch on Facebook. But where to carve out time from a hectic day? Microsoft Word. Documents start off in Word for most writers, editors and, sometimes, tech-forward start up founders. Here are some efficiency tips even … Read more
And so my interview with John Tuttle draws to a close with this final instalment. So far we’ve covered the evolution of the ELT industry and the how the role of publisher will continue to develop, and what the future may hold for ‘guru’ authors and the new generation of content writers. Now our conversation turns to adaptive learning and what lies ahead in the world of EdTech …
On the 9th June 2014, the following exchange was posted by a well-known ELT author in the ELT Writers Connected Facebook group. I’ve reproduced it here with his full permission, although he has asked to remain anonymous. It is a conversation with the manager of a blog that had been making copies of the author’s book available for illegal download.
Author: Am I right in thinking that you manage this site? If so please remove the illegal version of my book [REDACTED] from it.
Author: That’s your reaction?
In the previous instalment of our interview with former Deputy MD of Cambridge University Press, John Tuttle we talked about how the ELT publishing industry has evolved and some of the factors that have contributed to that evolution. In this post, our conversation turns to the role of the author in ELT publishing and how that might change over time.
A doctor and a teacher from the 19th century climb into a time machine (possibly built by a Silicon Valley dude trying to disrupt the past) and travel to the 20th/21st century. The doctor visits an operating theatre, where he witnesses triple-bypass heart surgery. He emerges from the experience in a state of rapturous wonderment at the achievements of modern science. The teacher finds himself, coincidently – this isn’t a set up – in a modern classroom, where he sees a chalkboard, some desks and books, and a fellow teacher in front of rows of children, dictating notes to them. However, he questions whether he’s really travelled in time at all – for surely, this classroom is almost identical to the one he left behind in a smog-filled Victorian metropolis?
There are few things that we at ELTjam enjoy more than mining Spotify’s immensely rich seam of content in an on-going quest to discover, share and devour copious amounts of well-crafted music. Spotify is on our desktops, laptops, phones and tablets; synced, sorted and ready to respond at any moment to a sudden musical impulse. … Read more
If authors are becoming contractors rather than partners, that changes the role of both author and publisher in a big way. But why is it happening, and is it yet reflected in how publishers work?
If the author is no longer a collaborator, then the publisher must take on that role and so in effect become the ‘master’ author to whom they subcontract the details. This would be analogous to those master painters of old who would paint the head and hands of a portrait, leaving the sitter’s clothing and the background details to be filled in by their apprentices.
The typical creation, development, production and publication of an ELT title is an often gruelling process. The sheer amount of meetings, emails, phone calls, emails, meetings and Word docs is overwhelming to the point of maddening. But … that’s the way books are born, right? The key project team (publishers, editorial, production) correspond with each … Read more