Before I submit a proposal, whether it has been commissioned or is unsolicited, I look for a gap in the market. I always check out my local library and online bookstores to see if there is a book on the subject already and if there is how could I approach it from a new angle that would be relevant to the classroom today. If I do find a gap, I think why is it there? Is there a demand for the subject? And what would be another books ‘unique selling point’. Finding a new subject, or even better a new slant on an old subject is half the battle.
As in all forms of writing, it is important to study the market. I have been fairly successful with writing educational resources. Today I have over 80 books published. You can see them on my website here. I have to keep reminding myself – this is very good. Yet, the hardest thing for me about writing a proposal is explaining why I am the best person to write the book. I am not very good at blowing my own trumpet.
I suppose part of the process is, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, just like Susan Jeffers books says. Also, keeping in mind we can achieve anything if we really put our minds to it. I remember when I passed my Bronze Medallion (Life Saver’s swimming certificate) in 1994. I was asked to take over training the top swimmers for the Berkshire school’s swimming gala after the previous teacher died of a brain tumour. To do this I needed to have a Life Savers certificate. I saw this as a challenge and enrolled on the RLSS Bronze Medallion course.
When I started I could not even swim one length of the 25m pool. After the twelve week course I could swim 20 lengths in under 20 minutes and fetch a body from the bottom of the pool, fully clothed. To achieve this I had to go swimming at least three times a week, sometimes more. I was still on maternity leave and so had the time to do it but, my stomach muscles were very weak and I could not pull myself out of the pool when I started, I had to use the steps.
I got the highest marks in the group on the theory exam. But, it was sheer determination that got me through. And you know what? We went home with the relay trophy every single year, until I moved schools and stopped doing the job.