Sponge Chats – Materials Writing and Publishing with Sue Kay and Karen Spiller from ELT Teacher 2 Writer.

This blog post is part of the Sponge Chats video series.

Earlier on this week, I had the pleasure to sit down with two very well-respected, almost household names within ELT, Sue Kay and Karen Spiller. You most likely recognise these two lovely ladies from the ELT Teacher 2 Writer series – they, alongside Karen White, are the brains behind one of the most useful series of books for English language teachers, especially materials writers. I actually have one of their books – How to Write and Deliver Talks, by Lewis Lansford – and I found it very useful and helpful when planning and preparing my workshops (I know that I need to review it – I will some time in the future, I promise!). I encourage you to check out their other titles.

They are both also involved in ELT Publishing Professionals, a website that acts as an online directory of materials writers (you can sign up and start to build your profile!) as well as a place where materials writers can develop (they have a CPD strand in which they hold webinars, etc. focused specifically on materials writing and editorial processes).

Sue is most well-known for her course books, including the Inside Out and Focus series. She shared her thoughts on her journey into materials writing and some of the challenges she has faced, as well as some advice for teachers looking to make similar moves. She also spoke about tight briefs (no pun intended) and the importance of communication.

Karen, on the other hand, is an extremely experienced publisher, having worked in the publishing world since before the turn of the century. She shared her insights into what goes on behind the scenes and how course books and other materials come together – and how much work goes into them. She also mentioned the importance of networking and she gave us an answer to Emma Heyderman’s question!

This Sponge Chat was extremely eye-opening. It was great to have both Sue and Karen share their opinions on various points in the process, and share their advice for other ELT professionals. If you are thinking about moving into either the materials writing or editorial world, I am sure that you will find value in what they both have to say.

I hope you all enjoy this one – I know I did. If you have any questions, comments, etc. please let me know and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Also, remember to share and give us a like on YouTube and Spotify – it means a lot!

Sue and Karen’s book recommendations


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