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What are Educational and Trade Publishers?

Recently there's been more talk about the educational market in some of my writing groups. Writers (and even readers) want to know what the difference is between writing for the educational and trade publishing markets. Both are traditional publishing models (not self-publishing). Educational and trade markets work with fiction and nonfiction children's writers.

Most people are familiar with the trade market and their publishers. An author has an idea. They work hard to write a great manuscript. Then they pitch it to a publisher (probably with an agent). An interested publisher invests in the book idea by paying the author an advance (with the possibility of royalties). Eventually the published book will find its way into bookstores, libraries, and most importantly, the hands of readers. 

The educational market is different. Educational publishers create books, curriculum, assessment materials, and more to be used in educational settings like schools and libraries. They use curriculum to guide them in coming up with specific topics "in house." Then they hire authors to write the content for their audience. The educational publisher typically owns the copyright but pays the writer a flat fee for their work. Royalties won't be earned. These books and materials are typically sold through publisher websites and book catalogs, not bookstores. Just like trade books, they eventually get into the hands of readers; librarians and teachers help make that happen instead of bookstores and parents.

The educational market provides an excellent way for children's writers to break into the publishing world, but few seem to know about it. That's why I call it the publishing world's best kept secret. Want to know more about the educational market? Here's a blog post devoted to writing for the educational market
Want to know even more? I teach a one-hour class about writing for the educational market. It includes more than a dozen hands-on activities to help you Get Published with the Educational Market. If you prefer a live class, check my schedule or contact me about teaching or mentoring.

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