The company I work for publishes textbooks and supplementals with lots and lots of leveled readers. I can walk into a room and be surrounded by a few hundred little books that someone had to write. I don't hear huge discussions on freelancers, only the occasional "I need a proofreader. Someone good. Someone fast. Please! Does anyone have any proofreaders I can contact?" wafting by my cube. (Okay, that's only happened once, but yes, as a matter of fact I did have some proofreading contacts.)
I work in a completely different department than those who produce those little books. So I pop my head over the cube and ask, "Where does the manuscript come from?"
"From the vendor," comes the reply.
I walk around the cube wall, eyebrows raised. "Vendor?"
"Sure," the voice continues. "We don't write anything here. It's all vendors like..." The voice went on to name a few, including spellings and pronunciations. Very helpful, that voice. It's amazing what you can find out if you just ask.
So, in the interest of learning more. I will send you to a couple of articles I read recently on working for hire. The Work-for-hire question at The Writing for Children Resource Site discusses the pros and cons of write-for-hire work. And Jenna Glatzer talks about writing for hire in Book Packaging: Under-explored Terrain For Freelancers. She mentions some book packagers as a jumping off point, as well. I believe those 'vendors' in my story might also be known as book packagers.
And to start us down that road, check out Tighe (pronounced Tie) Publishing Services, Inc. (TPS), a full-service educational development house.
Have you worked with an educational development house? If so, can you tell us about your experience?