Two types of university friends you may have never thought of (part 1)

librarianGraduate students on the road to doctoral Oz often feel more isolated than a vegetarian at a barbecue. Especially if you have a laissez faire chair and committee, you may believe you’re abandoned and unloved. You’re not. In my work as editor and coach for struggling dissertation-writing students, I know well that many other people in the university community can comfort, calm, and care for you. Here I’ll remind you of two types who can help ease your dissertation traumas. (Next post: two more.)

Librarians Love You  

Even in this age of access to many online databases, librarians can help you greatly as you plow through the dissertation. Once you recognize the immense resources at their keypads, you can enlist their aid to save yourself time, effort, and digital runarounds. [Read More…]

Download a sample of TAA’s newest book, ‘Writing and Developing Your College Textbook’

Writing and Developing Your College TextbookWriting and crafting a textbook and attending to authoring tasks is a time-consuming, complex—some would say monumental—project, even harrowing at times. The updated and expanded third edition of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, will guide you through the nuts and bolts of the textbook development process, and provide essential background information on the changing higher education publishing industry, as well as how to choose a publisher, write a textbook proposal, negotiate a publishing contract, and establish good author-publisher relations.

Subscribe to our email list and we’ll send you a 17-page sample of the book. Pre-order a copy and get 15% off and an invitation to an exclusive online Q&A with the authors. Books will ship the first week of December. [Read More…]

5 Things to consider when negotiating your textbook contract audit clause

One of the most important provisions in your textbook publishing contract is the audit clause, which will specify the conditions for how and when you can request and conduct an audit. In the absence of an audit clause, some publishers will still comply with a request to audit, although they are not contractually required to do so.

While the large publishers have calculated and paid royalties to thousands of authors, contract terms can vary, automated royalty systems have limitations, and the accounting teams at publishers are made up of human beings who can make mistakes. If an author wants a better understanding as to the calculation and accuracy of his or her royalties, the best course of action is to request a royalty audit.

Three new writing templates added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library

Three new templates have been added to TAA’s Templates & Samples Resource Library – a grant requirements matrix template and writing collaboration planning and progress templates.

The grant requirements matrix template was contributed by Erin Comeaux, a grants coordinator with Pasadena ISD, and Jennifer Travis, a professor of mathematics at Lone Star College-North Harris, who use it to keep track of each grant requirement, as well as the solicition/RFP page number or URL, paragraph number or URL, and who is responsible for drafting each requirement, to make sure all the grant’s instructions are being followed.

9 Questions to help you discover your writing working preferences

It’s hard enough to start, much less continue, our writing, scholarly or otherwise. When we ask ourselves some important questions and act on the answers, we can more easily sneak up on the current project and get started.

The questions and answers are completely between us and us, and we have the best and only answers. Whatever other advice we’ve read or heard, however loudly others swear theirs is the only way, it’s our own answers that matter.

For my own writing and that of the dissertation- and article-producing clients I coach, I’ve found the following questions are the most crucial and tell us what we need to know about our working preferences. Answer the questions below and others that may arise to diagnose your perfect work environment.

Learn how to respond to reviewer feedback
Join us 10/27 for TAA webinar on manuscript review in the humanities

After peer review but before publication, even the best manuscripts typically require revision. When you are faced with readers’ reports, it’s key to understand clearly the feedback you’ve been given and then to proceed in a way that responds adequately while making the most of your time and retaining the core intentions of your work.

Join us Thursday, October 27, from 3-4 p.m. ET, for the TAA Webinar, “Manuscript Review in the Humanities: Embrace Criticism and Stand Up For Your Ideas,” led by Katie Van Heest, PhD, of Tweed Editing, where you will learn how to respond to reviewer feedback on journal articles and book manuscripts.

Academic grant writing tips from a pro (and lessons from a rookie)

A grant is a great tool to help you build or enhance your project or program, said Erin Comeaux (the pro), formerly a professional grant writer for Lone Star College System, and now a grants coordinator for Pasadena Independent School District in Pasadena, Texas, and Jennifer Travis (the rookie), a professor of mathematics at Lone Star College-North Harris, during their presentation at the 2016 Conference in San Antonio in June. The two recently partnered to write Travis’ first grant proposal.

Q&A: How to write for student learning vs. faculty content

The following Q&A is based on a TAA webinar presentation by Michael Greer, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Development by Design, entitled, “Bringing Textbooks to Life: Strategies for Improving Student Engagement”.

Q: Laura Frost, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Whitaker Center for STEM Education at Florida Gulf Coast University:

“One of the problems with producing a textbook that helps the student learn is that the faculty member is the person who is selecting the textbook and the publishers know this. Do you have any suggestions for authors who are interested in writing for student learning vs. faculty content?”

Why you shouldn’t sign a work for hire agreement

One of the choices you can make when publishing your textbook or other instructional text is to sign a contract that simply assigns to the publisher the copyrights in your work or to enter into a work for hire agreement, in which you and the publisher agree that the publisher will be legally considered the author and sole owner of your work for copyright purposes. A significant consequence of work for hire agreements is that you don’t have the benefit of the right of termination under copyright law, said Stephen E. Gillen, an attorney with Wood Herron & Evans, and author of Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts.

Trends in college textbook publishing: 5 Tips for navigating the digital transition

Many college textbook authors are experiencing declining print unit sales and diminishing royalty checks. Regular price increases previously helped college textbook publishers offset shrinking print sales, but that strategy is no longer effective. Consequently, some publishers are cutting budgets to offset revenue shortfalls. They’re also diverting remaining investment resources into new digital products and services that offer a measure of protection against the depredations of used, rental, and pirate competition. As a result, those publishers are rebranding themselves as software or learning science companies and setting very public goals to eliminate or scale back their print publishing programs in favor of fully digital product models. What are the key forces driving college publishers’ online publishing strategies? What are some steps higher education textbook authors can take in response?