The main difference I’ve found between writing educational resources and writing fiction is… you get commissioned to write educational books. This means I know my work is going to be published before I’ve written the book. It is also a more of a group effort than writing a novel, with input at each stage of the books development.
I was a teacher for many years and this background in education is beneficial, as I’ve studied most subjects in depth and know what is required in a classroom situation. I can also write to match the targets of the National Curriculum.
When I tell people I was a teacher, the first thing they ask is what did you teach. I usually said, “Children.” But, then I felt guilty for being flippant and would say, “As a primary school teacher you name it, and I have taught it.” Now I say, “As a writer you name it and I’ll write it.” This is very true. I love research and so if I don’t know anything on a subject I will spend time finding out about it.
I prefer it when the publisher rings me up, or emails me, and says we’ve got an idea for a project. This really gets me to focus. Turn around times are quite fast in comparison to fiction and the books are published within a few months of submitting the final draft of the manuscript, which is actually good as you get to see that final product really quick. None of this hanging around waiting for two years. Even so, it is still important to get started on the next book before the one you have just written is out.