How to Write an Edu-book – Part 2

In Uncategorized by Alex Quigley4 Comments

In ‘How to Write an Edu-book – Part 1‘, I had the huge pleasure of sharing with everyone the approaches to writing an edu-book from two of the best edu-book writers around, Tom Sherrington and Mary Myatt.

In Part 2, I wanted to share my own edu-bookery. It is important to state that for me, regular blogging and writing separate to a book is an excellent mental work-bench for writing a book, offering me the discipline needed to write habitually and at length. Still, my book writing process is really quite specific and I have fell upon a helpful habit in writing my latest book.

  1. When I come to writing the edu-book, I first coin an over-arching idea. This last book has been vocabulary. I then break the book down into potential chapters that I can begin to note take for and research
  2. Once I have the core idea and chapter structure, I then delve into reading and researching for months and months – using my trusty moleskin note-book. I read, annotate, then copy up the most essential notes. Each reading session is about an hour in each evening, after I have finished my school work and have switched my email off (with weekend and holiday slots).
  3. Like ploughing a furrow over and over, I keep returning to my notes – adding to them – reading more and adding to them. Then I use a starring system with my bullet point notes so that my 4**** ideas don’t get lost and my 1* insights get eliminated.
  4. After I decide I have done enough research, I then transfer my notes into chapter-by-chapter Word files. Each act is a conscious repetition – reworking the ideas – re-reading the notes, so that the ideas are lodged deeply, ready to write.
  5. After such through-going planning, I then get to the act of actually writing. Happily, using my ample notes, it is very quick. My patient partner and family know that at least a half-term will be hit, before a longer summer-holiday spell is needed to get the job done.
  6. The editing and drafting….I hate that phase, but it has to be done. My draft typically doesn’t shift a great deal, but eliminating mistakes is pain-staking. I go back to an hour a night (often chocolate fuelled) until the book is done.


I’m not even going to mention the fresh hell that is indexing. Still, the act of writing a book – though difficult and downright masochistic at times – is massively rewarding when the book is opened in your hand, precious and real. When you can then share it with your loved ones – well, that makes it all feel worthwhile.

If any others edu-book writers wanted to share their experiences, I’d love to hear about it.


  1. Really interesting – I love reading about writers’ processes.
    Would also be interested in reading about the publishing side, being approached/approaching and the editing process.

    1. Author

      Interesting point. It was a little bit of a limited story for me, as I was approached directly. Said yes and then cracked on. The editing is interesting thought. More layers and steps to it than I had considered – at least with Routledge.

  2. Re: publishing, I think you usually submit a book proposal to an educational publisher (someone like Routledge, Bloomsbury, John Catt, Crown House, etc) which they will consider and perhaps also send out to independent reviewers who will advise on what they think, whether there is a market for what you suggest, etc.

    Editing is interesting – I had a brilliant copy editor who I never met but communicated with by email. She would suggest tracked changes and I would respond until, between us, we reached a version we were both happy with.

    I suspect it does vary from publisher to publisher, though.

  3. Key thing not mentioned is referencing
    Recommend using EndNote or something similar which allows you to cite while you write
    Also need the iron discipline of recording references as you use them
    Plus recommend sharing draft chapters with a wide range of individuals

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