An attempt to explain the main elements of my job to my family and non-ELT friends…
This could be desk-based research (online focus groups, reading blogs, etc.) or it could be in-market research (meeting teachers, observing lessons and running face-to-face focus groups). It might occasionally involve BETT or IATEFL. Whatever the method, it’s really important to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of ELT, and what teachers and students want and need from their learning materials.
I commission authors; my more senior colleagues commission titles or series. When there’s a bit too much work for me to manage alone, I also book in freelance editors to work on discreet areas of a project or act as a ‘second eye’ to make sure that the materials do what they are supposed to do (and are pedagogically sound).
In the first instance, this involves working with the author(s) to develop learning materials that fit all the requirements outlined during the research phase of the project. It also means working with a cross-functional team (art editors, designers, audio producers, video producers, developers and copy editors) to shape the final product! Depending on the materials, I could be attending a photo selection meeting, working on location for a video shoot, or rubbing shoulders with the young and talented at a London recording studio. Recording studio celebrity spots so far: Bill Bailey, Omid Djalili and Sylvester McCoy.
Making sure that everything runs smoothly: manuscripts go in and out on time, deadlines are met and the final product gets to the market ready for promotion and the new academic year.