For academics: Are your kids growing up without you?

Work Life BalanceYou were probably thrilled beyond words (mono- and polysyllabic) when your kids were born and you witnessed the true miracle of those so-young lives. The kids grew older, and you hunkered down into your academic career. Maybe your feelings changed—you don’t love them any less, but you may see the children as distracters and interrupters of your work. After all, we have important completions of all the conference abstracts, articles, books, chapters, dissertations, even the course syllabi. And we need to complete all these projects for advancement.

Granted, children can be annoyances and disrupters. Most of the time, though, barring a fall from the tree house, they are bothering you because they want—no, crave—your attention. [Read More…]

Meggin McIntosh to present 2-hr webinar on marketing for academics

Meggin McIntoshImagine having people read your writing! Imagine having others interested in your work and talking about it! Imagine your efforts receiving recognition! Guess what?! You have to market yourself and your work and you don’t have to spend a lot of money or hire a PR firm.

Join us Monday, May 1 & 8 from 2-3 p.m. ET, for this two-part focused and practical TAA webinar, “Marketing? You’re Kidding Me! I’m an Academic! Marketing that Matters (Lessons from a Puffin)”, where you’ll learn: [Read More…]

10 Tips to help you evaluate an index for quality

The book you have spent so long writing and editing is almost ready to be published. It is in its final layout, and has been proofread multiple times. The one hurdle remaining is the index. Finally, you receive the index manuscript for review. While it may be tempting to give the index just a cursory glance before blessing it with your imprimatur, it is worth investing a modest amount of time to ensure that the index does your book justice. A complete and well-constructed index adds real value to your book by making its content more accessible to readers. How can you be confident that the index you receive is good enough for your book?

Trade vs. textbooks: 6 Key takeaways from my experiences

I am the author or co-author of three books. A textbook with a vanity publisher, two trade books with an academic publisher, and an upcoming introductory textbook.

My first book was the result of a publisher’s agent knocking on my office door and asking if I would be interested in writing a textbook. All the publisher asked was that I would require the book within my courses and sign away the copyright. I was excited to get started, so I barely even read the publishing contract. I now know this experience epitomizes that of working with a vanity publisher – the goal is to generate some revenue rather than produce the ideal product.  The textbook ended up being an effective tool within my course, but it wasn’t adopted anywhere else.

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 5): Key to textbook longevity, preparing for the next edition

A few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a six-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. The fourth installment focused on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors.

This fifth, and final, installment in the five-part series focuses on the more veteran authors, who share the key to their textbook’s longevity, what they have learned over the years, and their approach to preparing for a new edition.

Q&A: What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?

Q: “What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide :

“An author’s questionnaire usually comes from the marketing department to develop leads for reviewers of, contributors to, and especially adopters of your text. I suggest filling it in as completely as possible to make your contacts, colleagues, affiliations, and achievements known to the people who will attempt to market and sell your title. Also include any press (news articles) about you (and keep sending them). List your upcoming opportunities to promote your book, such as guest lectures, keynote addresses, interviews in the broadcast media, academic conventions, professional meetings, webinars, etc.

How to reimagine and redesign textbooks to reach and engage students

Are textbooks merging with online courses? Will textbook content increasingly be delivered in the form of digital modules that can be integrated into course learning systems? What does this mean for textbook authors and editors? How should textbook content be designed to work best in online learning environments? Since 2009, I have been working in […]

For academics: What to do when your partner wails, ‘I never see you anymore!’

When you’re furrowed-brow deep in your academic project, if your partner suddenly blurts out “I never see you anymore!” it’s time to stop, look, and close your computer. After such outbursts, many of my academic clients with partners in my coaching and editing practice have found ways to manage the complaints and restore a harmonious home. Here are some of the major methods my clients have used as they pursue the (successful) productions of articles, presentations, chapters for a volume, and dissertations.

Textbook development tip: Aim for good expository writing

The best way to ensure clarity is to write well. When editors mark passages “Not Clear,” they are not being stupid but are basing their judgments both on the perceived needs of your target audience and on standards of good expository writing. All good writing for any audience at any educational level has the same basic qualities, including clarity, concision, unity, coherence, and emphasis. Wordiness is perhaps the greatest enemy of good writing.

Bringing textbooks to life: Strategies for improving student engagement

Educator, editor and author Michael Greer, of Development by Design, shares his philosophy behind, and strategies for, developing textbooks that enhance student engagement and learning.

TAA: As an educator, editor, and author, you are passionate about bringing textbooks to life to provide more effective and engaging student learning experiences. What inspired you to analyze and rethink content delivery for textbooks and other course materials?