The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: July 20, 2018

"Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good." ~William FaulknerThis week’s collection of articles from around the web begins with a couple perspectives on how to prepare for successful submission of journal articles. We then explore ways to develop an author platform, how to communicate with a supervisor, and some academic taboos. Finally, we look at why the Academy hasn’t taken control of publishing and a novel approach to self-publishing a journal article.

Whatever you are working on this week, let it flow and give it the chance to be great. As William Faulkner once said, “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” Happy writing! [Read More…]

How-to: Creating author pages on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads

Creating an author brandCreating a brand for yourself as an author can be one of the most challenging things to accomplish. If you’ve ever attempted to launch a website for yourself as an author or to penetrate social media channels to develop a following for your book, chances are you’d agree success is far from immediate.

The good news is that sites like Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads already have a significant audience and make it easy for you to announce yourself as an author to potential readers everywhere. Here we’ll explore the basic steps necessary to get you started on each. [Read More…]

Exercises in writing accountability – The TAA Writing Gym

TAA Writing GymThe TAA Writing Gym has officially opened its doors for the first time and we are excited to announce that 173 TAA members have committed to a six-week workout regimen in writing accountability.

From July 16 through August 26, TAA Writing Gym participants will be held accountable for their weekly writing goals by logging hours as they work on their individual writing projects. To support and encourage their progress, the gym provides weekly motivational writing classes, writing stations filled with exclusive TAA resources, and a listserv for communication with other gym members. [Read More…]

Pedagogy of the book and chapter questions

teachDoes the organization of the textbook relate to pedagogical approaches used to teach with it? I considered this question in relation to chapter organization in a previous post. In this post I will explore another part of the typical textbook chapter: questions.

Flip to the end of a textbook chapter, and you will usually find a list of questions, exercises, or other suggested assignments. Sometimes you will find additional learning activity ideas and resources on the companion website. Do they serve a purpose, or do readers flip past to get to the next assigned reading? [Read More…]

Creating videos: What should make the cut?

Video directorWe’ve all seen some excellent videos (and some really awful ones) for instructional purposes. It’s no secret that video is a powerful medium for learning, but as with any technology, it should be used strategically, and done in a way that enhances the learning process.

During his presentation on “Video Creation for Textbook Authors & Instructors” at the Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, Sasha Vodnik, author of video courses with lynda.com (aka LinkedIn Learning), shared his tips on what to include (and what to avoid) in your instructional videos. [Read More…]

How to write a cover letter for your academic journal article

Cover letterIn this age of electronic submissions and instant gratification, the simple courtesies of yesterday are sometimes lost in the speed of today’s processes. Regardless, most people agree that good manners never go out of style.

As a result, introducing your article with a well-written cover letter to the editor can be the catalyst to a favorable review and acceptance of your submission for publication. These tips can help you write a cover letter that sells your research to the journal editor. [Read More…]

10 Question conference retrospective: Views from a graduate student attendee

The Loretto Chapel

The Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, NM. Photo Credit: Susan W. Bontly

The Textbook & Academic Authors Association’s small, focused conference, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico June 15-16, was one of the most useful ones I have attended.  The cost was a really great deal considering all the valuable information provided by the presenters. As a first-time attendee and a graduate student, here my reflections on my experience.

1) What were some of the highlights and insights?

The presentations I attended were all on the Academic Track. The first day, I went to two sessions, and then I had three wonderfully inspiring mentoring sessions. I started with Dr. Meggin McIntosh (see more below) and then Dr. Katherine Landau Wright’s presentation, The Journal Article Writing MATE: A tool for beginners, which provided a very helpful tool for evaluating journal articles to use as models for writing and can also be used as a general article assessment or summarizing rubric. [Read More…]

A delicate balance: Humility and self-respect

FeedbackWhether you are a doctoral student wrestling the drafts of your dissertation or an academic author wrestling with the drafts of your book, you have encountered, or will, the often-intimidating presence and feedback of your chair or editor. As with any interpersonal relationship, it’s advisable to steer between abject obeisance and independent arrogance. Neither will get you what you want—approval of your dissertation or publication of your book.

In my academic editing and coaching profession, I suggest to clients that an optimum way to establish and maintain a good working relationship is a combination of humility and self-respect. Whatever your past accomplishments, humility before the perceived power of the chair or editor is required. [Read More…]

4 Tips for writing a literature review

library stacksLiterature reviews are common elements in academic writing, found in dissertations or theses, but also in journal articles, book introductions, book chapters, and even course exercises. Despite its prevalence in academia, the process of writing a literature review is often daunting to an academic author.

In her recent TAA webinar, “Demystifying the Literature Review”, Dr. Daveena Tauber, founder of Scholar Studio, shared four tips that can make the process easier. [Read More…]

How to incorporate accessibility throughout the publishing process

Digital AccessibilityIn his recent webinar, “Making Textbooks Accessible to Students With Disabilities”, Robert Martinengo, Publisher Outreach Specialist for the CAMI project at AMAC Accessibility, said that the issue of accessibility is even more important when it comes to digital products.

“The ability to navigate through a digital textbook is a critical component of accessibility,” he said. “Navigation is enabled by consistent and rational use of tags throughout the text.”

In addition to effective navigation, accessible manuscripts should also include these four elements, said Martinengo: [Read More…]

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