I am interested writing educational materials. I have also written picture books, easy-readers, and early chapter books, although as yet unpublished. I am well-educated but I’m not a teacher. Is the educational market for teachers only?
No, the educational market is not for teachers only. However many teachers do write for the educational market, which means you will be competing with their knowledge and skills. You must be familiar with school curriculum for the various grade levels, especially vocabulary.
According to Elaine Grannis in her article, Freelancing for the Educational Market: “[I]f you have studied what the needs are, and know the national standards for curriculum, you have a chance if you are able to place them in the right format. The format today is guided reading.” Her article also provides links to curriculum standards, suggested books to read, and a general overview of the freelance opportunities in the educational market.
Writing for the Educational Market by Barbara Gregorich looks like an excellent reference book based on an interesting technique called branching. Here’s how she described it: “[O]f all the educational writing I did, the assignment that intrigued me the most was that of writing branching stories. In order to figure out how to branch a story, I wrote single sentences on a long roll of brown wrapping paper, boxed each sentence, and drew connecting lines (branches) between various sentences, hoping to end up with a story that had one beginning but five or six different endings — all the while listening to Baroque music because I had read somewhere that Baroque helps the mind solve mathematical and logical problems. One of these stories, ‘Crandall the Hermit Crab’, is reproduced in Writing for the Educational Market, along with its branching chart.”
Barbara Gruber and Sue Gruber are teachers who conduct online courses for teachers. Over the past 20 years they have developed and sold over one hundred fifty products to educational publishers. Their article, Secrets of Success — Writing for Educational Publishers is a step-by-step guide to creating products from good ideas and how to present your product to educational publishers.