In last week’s shoptalk meeting of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, we talked about the educational market and working for hire. Members collectively asked and answered questions about these topics, which I’ve outlined below if you’re interested in working fore hire as a writer.
What materials are published in the educational market?
There are many opportunities to get your writing out there and get published in the educational market. You can write lesson plans, manuals, test passages, text books, test questions, biographies, and all different types of nonfiction educational material. Most educational writing is work for hire.
What does it mean to work for hire?
When you work for hire in the book publishing industry, you, as a writer, can propose an idea, but it’s more likely that a publisher/packager will assign you something to write that you will be compensated for upon completion.
It’s great to work for hire because it gives you a guaranteed income and publication credits. You also don’t have to worry about formatting your book, or artwork and photos that will accompany your text. (Keep in mind that you don’t receive book royalties and you don’t own the copyright on your own material, which you might have issue with as a producer of content.)
What is a book packaging company?
A book packaging company is a company that is hired by publishers to get specific books/topics produced by writers. They work as the middle man between you and the book publisher. They’re more likely to hire work for hire writers than publishers because they pay writers less so they can profit more off of publishers.
How do I find a work for hire company to send my work to?
Check out these websites/books for market lists:
- evelynchristensen.com/markets.html (Children’s author Evelyn Christensen has a page of links to publishers of educational material.)
- the-efa.org (The Editorial Freelancers Association)
- apbaonline.org (a trade group for book packagers)
- mollyblaisdell.com/wfh.html (
- aepweb.org (Association of Educational Publishers)
- NFforKids Yahoo Group (a listserv for the discussion of writing, marketing, and publishing nonfiction books for children)
- Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career by Nancy I. Sanders
Some more fun stuff about working for hire and the educational market:
- The biggest employers of work for hire writers are educational publishers and book packaging companies.
- Book packagers and publishers determine how the book will be formatted– meaning, chapters, word count, side bars, even the targeted reading level, will be decided beforehand.
- You don’t have to fact check when you write educational materials, but you do have to cite your sources when you submit.
- Writing for the educational market doesn’t pay very much, but adds to your writing experience as well as publishing experience, and can open doors to other publishing opportunities.