product-market fit

What could ELT publishers learn from startups about product-market fit?

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?

we need to talk about learner experience design

We need to talk about LX

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.

product

It’s not about Content or UX, it’s about Product

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?

indie ELT books

Another round up of Indie ELT books

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

Ten tips for getting into digital materials writing

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.

ELT Entrepreneurs – Marcos Benevides

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.

#elthack: 10 Microsoft Word hacks all ELT writers and editors need

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

Why everyone is stealing your stuff

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.

Pirate: lol

Author: That’s your reaction?

Narratives of change in education

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?

What can ELT learn from Spotify?

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

The editor’s dilemma

The editor’s lot is not always a happy one. Do your job well and no-one notices; make a mistake and suddenly everyone’s looking right at you. But here are a couple of tips that might help.

Three keys to making outsourcing work

Outsourcing is well established in publishing but is often poorly understood and managed. How do we get the most out of outsourcing? How do we work effectively with external partners? And how do we protect our teams from a real danger of outsourcing?

Loyalty vs. Royalties: Author as collaborator or contractor?

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.

Ahead in the Clouds: Cloud-Based Publishing and ELT

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