Pearson's English 4 IT = No URLs, No Web-work!!

Boy Doll by Misocrazy on flickr
When writing, even freelance, for a company whose size might just rival Rupert Murdoch's one needs to keep both eyes wide open.

Pearson is moving extremely aggressively into digital media - through sites like LiveMochaELLIS , LanguageLab and others* and in this world of I-WANT-FREE-FREE-FREE, authors may well soon find themselves with nary a penny if their materials are placed up on these sites without prior financial agreement.

Therefore the digital rights of my work had always been a top priority to lock down - I might blog and share materials for free (because u're my peeps) but writing is part of my income and rent and food must be paid for.    We live not in a Utopia.

Before the deep writing really began I expressed my concerns and an agreement was made between the Senior editor and myself that this would be dealt with separately, once the signing contract stage was entered into.

That however, was not the case, when the Pearson contract did eventually land in my inbox... More on this in the next posts on this theme.   Because...

I really have to first go backwards.

My baby has indeed been aborted, removed from its "safe" womb, :-(, but I do have to say that there were niggles and complications early on that should have warned me.   Things like stalling on providing an advance or a proper contract.   And while the issue of e-rights may have been the straw that broke the camel's back in this relationship, the day I absolutely flipped out, demanding my youthful editor be replaced with someone better qualified was when I was suddenly told I couldn't create any activities that would require the students to use their computers or the internet.

With the greatest respect, I replied, are you 404?   

No URLs, baby, I was told because, see they die.
Apparently once upon a time when they did allow URLs one of these led to a "dodgy" site.

Pearson, you see, you know the company which used to be called Longman Pearson - whích used to be Longman ...has um, um, um...  never... um, um, seen companies featured in their textbooks which have gone bankrupt post print run nor any pop stars who've popped themselves off after being the main highlight of an inane present simple exercise?

We never know what might happen to websites like wikipedia, duck-duck-go, Linkedin!
But that's all irrelevant, to be honest.  The "ruling" might have merit in a book aimed at general learners, but

according to the senior editor I complained to (begged for assistance),
(insert a quite proper but patronizing British accent)
while he impatiently swatted away my concern,  apparently

English for IT  

will be used to learn English by 
some people 
who don't have 
access to computers.   



You couldn't make this sheeeeeeet up.

*More on Pearson's digital empire
TechCrunch:  Digital Joint Venture Nokia and Pearson
Bookseller:  Pearson buys WallStreet Institute
Financial Times: Pearson's digital growth
Telegraph: Keep hold of Pearson as it goes for online expansion

UN declares access to the internet a human right

When I refer to the editors, in order to protect their digital footprints I am not mentioning their names.  As upset as I am I don't want to hurt anyone on a personal level - however the handling of this project was not  professional and at the very least some of the posts within this series may well serve as a list of things to watch-out for to those entering the profession of ELT writing.   

However, by not mentioning names it also puts me in a slightly difficult position as while I have strong criticisms of some of the editorial team, I also want to be very clear that the series editor of this project is in particular someone I have a deep admiration for and I was very grateful for his red pen which bloodied my textbook's content outline until we reached an agreement and had gotten it "right".  Thanks, D.

A fire in my belly

This is my blog and I am back.

Where was I?

Head down, working on new materials for Voxy - by the way, we're now >>> INCREDIBLY<<< at 250,000+ users!  Excellent, interesting, challenging work.  But then, I am working with a seriously talented team of thinkers and doers plus a brilliant, innovative boss I've never actually met but talk to weekly!  

Head down, writing a book aimed at IT students for Pearson.  But that's pretty much now over as despite finishing a week ago, after refusing to sign a ridiculous contract that would soon render me without the mere pennies promised we are parting ways...  too many unacceptable clauses, editorial digital illiteracy - a long story - so much more on signing away your creativity to publishing houses, book contracts, minimum-wage advances, the effect of global markets on royalties and oh, digital rights - coming soon.  

Dance with the devil, get burned? 

Think Wikileaks.  

Where am I?

Working at a great school with a wonderful team of teachers in the UK - we're working together in face-to-face sessions (so much more personal than the virtual), on professional development for European teachers.  

Wonderful site and great students.  Having a super time, more on that later.  

But! My various sites have informed me there's a great set of virtual sessions on this weekend at the The Reform Symposium.   Although I'm busy up to my gills, am going to try to change around my schedule and catch some of these, tho' luckily they'll also be recorded.

Where am I headed?

I'm off to do a Masters in September, gently easing out of social-media and other than Switzerland they'll be no more presenting at conferences for a while (though I do have a kick-a**e idea for IATEFL...hmm....hmmm €€€) but I do really have to turn my focus and attention towards the psychology of language learning, motivation and gaming mechanics.    It is a digital future after all.

So folks, to sum up, I'll be here, on the page, sharing whatever I learn with you.  I hope you'll still pop on over every now and then to say hey.

Talk soon,

p.s  I missed you all muchly and if you missed me, am sorry for being away so long!   I'm back and boy, watch-out, do I ever have a fire in my belly.


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