We write with teachers in mind. Everyone at Red Bus Books is an experienced, dedicated teacher. Many of our books were borne out of a gap we spotted. We write for each other, and for the many thousands of teachers who we know will benefit from this.
How do you approach cover design?
One thing we are lacking as an organization is good graphic designers. We know our books are a little rough around the edges, but we do what we can.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
We've all been inspired by writers such as Scott Thornbury, Jeremy Harmer, and other ESL professionals. They've guided us to where we are now, and we want to pass on some of that.
What do you read for pleasure?
Educational texts and research has become bed time reading for all of us over the years.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
We're new at this, and we're trying to promote through our website and Facebook page, but marketing isn't our core activity.
Describe your desk
We meet as and where we can. This is sometimes in a school, sometimes in a cafe or restaurant, sometimes in a quiet bar where we can thrash out ideas.
When did you first start writing?
We all started developing materials early in our teaching careers, and each individually saw an opportunity to use this. Red Bus Books is our attempt to make a difference by doing what we all love.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Our first book came about as a result of our founder's trip to Kenya. Rob volunteered for six months in a rural primary school in the central province of Kenya and saw first hand how teachers lacked any access to training and development opportunities. Many were simply left to their own devices, and a three-month government training course wasn't sufficient to cover even a small proportion of what they needed to educate Kenya's next generation.
Many were unsure of how children learned to read, and textbooks were old and outdated. We wanted to provide a resource that was effective and practical. We wanted to combine recent research, along with our own experience, into something that was concise and readable. We appreciate that teachers don't always have time to read a full textbook, or can't take the time off to take a training course. That doesn't mean that they can't learn. We wanted to create a 'guide', rather than a book. And we wanted to combine this with real-life tried and tested classroom activities that they could apply in their own classrooms.
We created the first in a series of 'Teaching Guides' - 'Literacy Skills' - to do just this. Seven short chapters which don't compromise on quality, and an appendix of good activities that teachers can use in class. We're proud of our first creation, and there are many more to come.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
There's a lot of competition to get into ESL publishing, and that can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing. We love teaching, and don't want to give that up. This is a hobby, but it's us using our hobby to create something worthwhile.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has given us a platform to distribute what we create, and raise money for our other projects.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
We've all seen first hand how what we create benefits our students, and we want to spread this.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.