Nope! Turns out textbooks aren't just written by laymen; they're written by laymen who don't give a s**t about the subject. Once I worked on a textbook about Canadian accounting. Not even Canadian accountants give a s**t about Canadian accounting. The problem is that the experts generally have more interesting stuff to do than write basic, tedious textbooks on the subject. Low-level textbook writing isn't exactly glamorous work. The company that hired me to write textbooks (for enormous, major publishers!) did so for exactly one reason: I have a B.A. in English. That's it. End of requirements. And I wasn't a special case.
Todd Warnock/Digital Vision/Getty Images
"I was B.A. Baracus one Halloween."
"Do you want intro to chemistry or Russian lit?"
While my degree almost certainly qualifies me to write articles for the most prestigious dick joke-themed websites, I'm probably less prepared to expound on the nuances of phlebotomy, even though I've totally done exactly that. The fact is, every word you're reading in that high school-level textbook was probably written by someone who is only a couple years older than you with approximately the same dedication to the subject matter. You're taking that class for a passing grade; they're writing that book for a paycheck.
"But you're working for a textbook company," you might be saying, "surely there were special resources available?" Yes, sometimes I was given some help, but the vast majority of the time, that "help" was just another textbook, most likely written by another textbook freelancer (a different, less attractive version of me). More often than not, all I got to work with was an outline, and outlines by their very nature do not contain content, just a list of subtitles that will fill out my chapter. I still have to find the information myself, and since I'm no expert on interdisciplinary research practices in the modern nursing profession (another actual topic), then here I go a-Googling; a-Googling I go.
"If it's good enough for Yahoo! Answers, it's good enough for Vassar."