Educational Best Practice Award

The author-editor relationship is fundamental to a work’s success – and no more so than in educational writing, where so much depends on clear briefs, workable schedules and constructive feedback.

The Educational Writers Group has worked in partnership with key educational publishers to set out our Author-Publisher Guidelines, which aim to help guide the author-editor relationship.

Having outlined our expectations for best practice, we now wish to recognise those editors who have shown excellence in the way they have collaborated with their authors. Learn more about the award.

If you have worked recently with an editor who you feel has demonstrated best practice in their relationship with you as author, find out more about the award below and how you can make a nomination.

The author-editor relationship is profoundly important for the success of individual projects and an author’s career more generally – yet at present, there is no way for an educational author to publicly recognise those editors who have made a real difference to their working life.

In response, we have developed the opportunity for individual authors to commend those editors who deserve recognition. It is hoped that this award will encourage best practice across the industry.

Awards can be offered to commissioning editors (sometimes known under the title of ‘publisher’), desk/copy editors or development editors. The editors can be freelance or in-house.

The award’s focus does not rest on the financial terms that you, as an author, are offered, although acknowledgement could be made for an editor who takes an author’s concerns seriously, shows flexibility and/or negotiates with colleagues to secure a better deal, and who ensures that contracts are issued promptly.

Rather, the award’s intention is to celebrate particular examples of best practice in the working relationship, for example: excellent communication regarding specifications and schedules, constructive and thoughtful feedback, and prompt attention to any issues that arise throughout the publication process.

We aim to reward those editors who have proven themselves to be open, friendly and professional, who have gone the extra mile to offer support and who have generally shown consideration in their dealings with authors.

How do I nominate?

You will need to send us your and the editor’s contact details along with a citation of a minimum of 200 words for the editor (no more than 500 words). The citation can be a list of bullet points, highlighting the features that make your chosen editor special. See the example nomination below, courtesy of Libby Mitchell.

There is space on the form for additional information you feel may be relevant.  An optional paragraph of why the editor deserves the award would be appreciated for publicity purposes. Please download and complete the form below and return it to [email protected].

When do I nominate?

This scheme operates on a rolling basis, so members can nominate whenever suits them from – so you could put forward an editor’s name immediately after working with them on the project, or you could wait until nearer the March deadline to decide who you most wish to recognise.

We would prefer early nominations to boost interest in the award and to help sustain it throughout the year.

How many awards can I grant?

Each EWG member can nominate one editor per year.

At present, the award is open for those projects which were published or are due to be published between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Who is the scheme open to?

SoA members only.

The author and editor must have worked together on a full-length work for learners and/or teachers, and the award will be tied to this particular project. By way of example, this would include materials for English Language Teaching, textbooks and resources for school curricula and for Higher Education.

What happens next?

  • The committee will review the citation.
  • We will let you know when we have sent the editor their certificate.
  • We hope that participating authors will be willing to be interviewed for pieces for our Group newsletter and the SoA blog.

With thanks to Libby Mitchell for this example.

From the beginning the editor:

  • had a clear plan of what she wanted us to write
  • had an experienced, specialist freelance editorial team on board
  • offered us a royalty deal 
  • was prepared to listen to our concerns about the contract terms and get changes made accordingly 
  • organised one short meeting at the beginning of the project (authors, commissioning editor, project manager) and all other communication has been done by email
  • letters, emails and briefing documents are clear and well-written
  • consulted us about timing before giving us the schedules
  • had an open and supportive approach to getting the work completed, given the tight deadlines 
  • asked us to write a sample unit but this has been used at the first unit of the book
  • has been responsive to us during the writing and has said that we should contact her at any time during the writing if we have any concerns
  • has been open, friendly and professional at all times