Packager vs Publisher

Yesterday I commented on the fact that I write for a book packager. Then I realized that perhaps not all of you are familiar with that term. Let me explain.

Writing for a packager means producing a wide range of content.
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I write for Red Line Editorial. When a publisher has an idea for a series, they can contact Red Line or another packager. Red Line then puts out a call to their various authors. “We are working on three new series — transportation, foods, and communications.” They list the books in each series and their authors get to claim various titles, usually no more than two per series.

After I turn in my manuscript, it is edited in-house at Red Line. Sometimes but not always the publisher in question seems to be in close contact. “The publisher wants us to do it this way, not that way.” But other times the comments are all from Red Line. Red Line also runs the book past a content expert. I get comments back from this person as well. Then I do my rewrites and turn the finished manuscript in.

I’m not paid by the publisher. I’m paid by Red Line.

But when the books come out, they come out from the publisher. My name is on the cover, but like Red Line I am a contracted worker.

Although I have books from Abdo, Capstone, North Star, and Brightpoint Press, I didn’t work directly with these companies. I worked for Red Line.

Why work for a packager? I get to do a greater variety of books and write on a greater variety of topics than I would if I worked directly for a publisher. I also get more assignments since Red Line is always signing new contracts.

This type of contracted work is usually on a tight deadline. So if you are good at quickly diving into a topic and creating an outline before getting to work on your draft, working with a packager might be a good match for you. You can find a wide variety of educational publishers, including packagers, on Evelyne Christensen’s site.

–SueBE