Publishing EFL material

anyone know of any English publications/publishing companies in Taiwan that employ foreigners for editing/writing purposes? are they all in Taipei?

Click here and scroll down to the “employers” category.

If you want to impress potential employers, I do suggest you start your sentences with capital letters.

If you are writing Kiddies stuff then there is one place in Kaoshiung.

Melody Publishing.

I’d like some advice from some of the people here who either work in the publishing industry or have published a book themselves in Taiwan. I have a children’s book designed for the Taiwan market that I’d like to peddle.

First, let me tell you a bit about the book. Originally I wanted to teach some of my students at the buxiban where I work some of the old fables and legends from ancient Greece. Many of the students found the storybooks popularly used to teach English in Taiwan “hen wuliao”, so I decided to try and let them read stories that were more interesting. I picked up a copy of Aesop’s Fables at Caves, but I found that the language was in places too ornate and archaic for my students’ level. So in my spare time I rewrote the fables using simpler, more straightforward language. Essentially, I simply took the basic plot of the stories and wrote them in my own words, designing the presentation for an audience with a quite limited English vocabulary (that of a 10 to 12 year-old). So far my students are enjoying reading and discussing the stories, and can easily read & comprehend the fables with a little bit of work & help. I designed 100 fables (shooting for a nice, even number) and will probably entitle the book “100 Fables of Aesop”. It will be thin book containing approximately 11,000 words. Most of the fables are quite short, some only a paragraph long. I’m surprised that someone hasn’t done something like this before - necessity was the mother of invention in this case.

Oxford University Press had a series of short one paragraph stories based on humorous anecdotes and traditional stories (many from the middle east). The stories are written mostly for adult students but I have used some with elementary school students.

Pearson has already done what you’ve done.

Pearson

Ladder is working on a series of 100 chinese fables or idioms for young EFL readers in Taiwan and Mainland China. These will be available on CDROM (animated) and in book form.

Do a search on Google and I’m sure you’ll find more. To be honest, I don’t think you have any chance with your series. The market is saturated with readers right now. You missed the boat by a few years.

Yes, and…? Are Aesop’s Fables included?

[quote]Pearson has already done what you’ve done.

pearsonatschool.com [/quote]

Err, no he hasn’t, or only did a half-assed job of it. Skipping the Spanish-to-English chaff, I find only “These ten memorable stories, based on Aesop’s classic fables, help beginning readers and ESL students learn English through animal characters that bridge all nationalities and cultures.” 10 stories? That’s all? I’ve seen plenty of these books peddled in Caves and Eslite that only have one story with a bunch of pictures thrown in it. It took me about 8 hours or so to knock off 100 stories. If that’s the best Pearson can do, well that’s not good at all.

[quote]Ladder is working on a series of 100 Chinese fables or idioms for young EFL readers in Taiwan and Mainland China. These will be available on CDROM (animated) and in book form.

Do a search on Google and I’m sure you’ll find more. [/quote]

Did that search on Google and couldn’t find anything on what you mentioned. Link, please. Before I knocked off this book, I did try a search on Google for Aesop’s Fables. None of the versions I found were satisfactory for my needs. Anyway, I wouldn’t exactly get my hopes up for the Ladder CD-Roms - if they’re anything like the “English magazines” and “English storybooks” I have to teach here in Taiwan :unamused: they’ll be pretty useless. The vast majority of the material the EFL industry churns out is garbage that any idiot could pump out in 15 minutes. Writing English textbook material is a hell of a lot easier than teaching English in a buxiban, I’ll tell you that - you try both and tell me which one’s more stressful. I’m not exactly impressed by the material I see peddled as EFL product around here. I can write better than 90% of the hacks in the Taiwanese EFL industry - it’s no great difficulty, it’s a job that anyone with native English fluency can do with a little effort, same as teaching in a buxiban. So, what I’m looking for is advice on how to go about pitching this junk I knocked off in a few hours. I’m sure that with the publishing industry in Taiwan, like most industries, success depends more on knowing the right codes and guanxi than actual competence or talent (I mean, sheesh, look at the so-called English books you browse through in Caves - anyone could do better than that!)

Anyway, what I’m talking about is a low-key, local little venture. The books you linked to aren’t available in Taiwan, and if they were, would be overpriced. Lots of foreigners publish little textbooks with little publishing companies available only for the domestic Taiwanese market. I’m not competing with giant multinational corporations with overpaid hacks like this Pearson guy, anymore than Hartzell and Poagoa are - we’re all just big fish in a little pond. Many Taiwanese schools like to obtain their textbooks from little local publishing companies with locally produced material because it’s cheaper. I’ve seen English teachers who could barely write their way out of a Bad Hemingway/Faulkner contest knock out thousands of copies of crappy English textbooks. So, I can’t do any worse than the rest of y’all at this scam.

[quote=“mod lang”]I’m sure that with the publishing industry in Taiwan, like most industries, success depends more on knowing the right codes and guanxi than actual competence or talent (I mean, sheesh, look at the so-called English books you browse through in Caves - anyone could do better than that!)

Anyway, what I’m talking about is a low-key, local little venture. The books you linked to aren’t available in Taiwan, and if they were, would be overpriced. Lots of foreigners publish little textbooks with little publishing companies available only for the domestic Taiwanese market. I’m not competing with giant multinational corporations with overpaid hacks like this Pearson guy, anymore than Hartzell and Poagao are - we’re all just big fish in a little pond. Many Taiwanese schools like to obtain their textbooks from little local publishing companies with locally produced material because it’s cheaper. I’ve seen English teachers who could barely write their way out of a Bad Hemingway/Faulkner contest knock out thousands of copies of crappy English textbooks. So, I can’t do any worse than the rest of y’all at this scam.[/quote]

Mod,

I work for Caves and have two suggestions.

Firstly, you are right that much of the locally published EFL material is inferior to that from overseas, even when written by good foreign authors. The end product seldom looks like the author’s vision because of the constraints we publishers are under. Sadly, the books are not written for the students. I get to review plenty of book proposals, and if I had a dollar for every time an author has said their work is

There are some very good books being put out on a small scale. We are using a set of phonics books written by a guy here in Kaohsiung that are outstanding. He doesn’t even try to market them island wide(though he does have several schools that use them) because they are a bit ugly. But the phonics series really works. It’s sad because the best material out there doesn’t get the exposure that it should get.

[quote=“mod lang”]
The vast majority of the material the EFL industry churns out is garbage that any idiot could pump out in 15 minutes. Writing English textbook material is a hell of a lot easier than teaching English in a buxiban, I’ll tell you that - you try both and tell me which one’s more stressful. I’m not exactly impressed by the material I see peddled as EFL product around here. I can write better than 90% of the hacks in the Taiwanese EFL industry - it’s no great difficulty, it’s a job that anyone with native English fluency can do with a little effort, same as teaching in a buxiban…[/quote]

Care to put your money where your mouth is? I’ll gladly put you through the process of proposing your materials to be published on the local market. Reread Soddom’s post very carefully and PM me should you like to submit or have some questions.

You could be right. Perhaps with all your schools you could act as an intermediary sales agent and run workshops to promote the ‘good’ materials. This could be a boon for you if you played your cards right.

Can I get in on this bet also? Let me think a bit and will PM you, if that’s okay?

Please do, DB! I’d be more than happy to.

Other threads about publishing EFL/ESL material:

[Publish my own book?
[Publish my own book?

Anybody want to merge?

Iris :notworthy: :notworthy:

Joy has already published a children’s version of Aesop’s Fables.

Mod Lang,

Try Crane.They advertised less than a month ago looking for exactly the kind of material you are discussing.