Janet in Gila

Reflections on academic writing: Three insights

What do I need to write now? What will I write next? Who is expecting what from me, when? What related tasks do I need to complete, such as finalizing figures or posting to social media? How many commitments can I fit into each busy day? These are some of the questions that usually percolate through my mind. In this December Abstract post I committed to take some time for reflection. Here is the story, and lessons learned. It seemed essential to step away from my home office workspace. I did so by taking a two-week road trip through the American Southwest. Instead of looking at a computer monitor, a panorama of mountains and desert unfolded before me. … [Read More]

writing

Find your article writing MATE in the “Most Awesome Tool Ever”

Are you a beginning author looking for help in developing academic articles worthy of publication? Do you find the process of organizing your academic journal articles challenging? Perhaps you’ve been successfully writing and publishing articles but are looking for a tool that can help you get better results, faster. In her presentation at TAA’s 31st Annual Textbook and Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, Katherine Landau Wright shared the “Most Awesome Tool Ever” – MATE – that she developed with TAA member Patricia Goodson to help anyone learn how to write for academic journals. … [Read More]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 4: On writing proposals

In my experience, proposals are more difficult and nerve-wracking than writing the book. When I work on my book, I think about the strengths and about what I can offer to people through my writing. When I work on a proposal, it’s hard not to think about the possibility of acceptance and rejection, which is rather more stressful. In writing, I find it crucial to hold on to my ideas as a foundation and focus first, before considering other people’s interests. But for a proposal, especially, I have to speak to someone else’s interests. It’s all well and good for me to believe that I have great ideas and that everyone could benefit from reading my book, but, realistically, the editor at a publishing house doesn’t much care about me; they care about their job and about finding books that … [Read More]

Special features of TAA award-winning textbooks: From the awardees

At the 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, TAA members Al Trujillo and Dave Dillon hosted a panel of textbook award-winning authors to share features that they considered instrumental in the success of their books. The panel consisted of Karen Morris, co-author of Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Law: A Preventive Approach, 8th Edition, Kathleen P. King, author of Technology and Innovation in Adult Learning, and the authoring team for Calculus for the AP Course, 2nd Edition, Michael Sullivan and Kathleen Miranda. Below is a summary of the textbook features they felt were most significant in the achievement of their 2018 Textbook Excellence awards. … [Read More]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 11, 2019

The new year. A time for resolutions and habit forming. Hopefully this year, writing is a habit you are working to develop. In the words of Lawrence C. Connolly, "Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I'd never get anything done." While this may be true, we hope you find inspiration and resources to further your writing in the following collection of posts from around the web. We start with some non-writing new year's resolutions and academic trends before exploring the balance of work and research as well as of work and home lives. We continue the collection with online resources to identify and highlight women experts, examine the joy of kids for the teacher-scholar, and address the double-bind theory of scholarly publishing. Finally, we revisit the … [Read More]

Writing and publishing for everyone; Not just the 90%

Authors need to consider accessibility when creating materials and choosing a publisher, but how can they this when it is such a misunderstood word? Accessibility, in regard to publishing, means making content available in alternative formats for individuals with visual impairment or learning disabilities. People may conjure up Braille as making content accessible to people with disabilities or learning issues. Publishing, however, has progressed so much farther than this. Using such technical standards as ePub3, HTML5, alt text, and other specific initiatives, publishers can make their content accessible to a growing audience. … [Read More]

Can I help you in any way? Courses and workshops

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well. In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on a question about textbook writing courses or workshops. Recently one of our visitors came onto the chat “looking for textbook writing courses or workshops that could help [them] to develop [their] textbook” and asked, “Could you suggest … [Read More]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 3: Write the proposal before the book?

Before I started the proposal process for my book, I had written a complete draft (as well as two almost-complete early drafts), and also hired an editor to check that draft. I had, in short, a pretty mature draft. But the questions publishers ask about the completeness of the draft, led me to wonder whether that was the best plan for seeking publication. Common proposal questions ask: “When do you plan to finish the book?”, and “When can you deliver the manuscript?”, which seem primarily relevant for proposals written by people who have not yet completed their book. … [Read More]

Beyond time management: Three principles for greater writing productivity and satisfaction

For our writing productivity and fulfillment, indisputably we need time management, self-discipline, and all the pomodoros (Cirillo, 2018) we can muster. Sometimes, though, as ardently as we apply these, they don’t seem to be enough. Here are three perspectives that may help you through. They are “laws” described simply and eloquently by author, speaker, and spiritual and practical teacher Deepak Chopra (1994) in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. … [Read More]

Can I help you in any way? Essay writing

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well. In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on questions about strategies for writing academic essays. … [Read More]

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