About Dionne Soares Palmer

Freelance writer specializing in college textbook supplements and other educational materials for adult learners.

Creating a companion site for your textbook: What to consider

Companion sites can enrich the learning experience for readers by offering valuable features that can’t be shared on a printed page and/or might be too costly to include in an e-book. There are many factors to consider when planning or developing a companion site for your textbook. In a recent TAA webinar entitled Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials & Companion Sites, Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer, consultant, and founder of Vision2Lead, offered detailed advice for authors interested in creating companion sites for their textbooks. [Read more…]

How to leverage technology to benefit writing collaboration

mobile educationAlthough collaborative writing projects can present challenges in terms of communication, work flow, and organization, there are several technology tools available that can help increase productivity and the overall success of the project. Kathleen P. King, Professor and Program Director of Higher Education & Policy Studies at the University of Central Florida, Orlando discussed this topic in her 2016 TAA conference presentation, “Leveraging Online Learning Technology & Environments to Benefit Research Group Writing”.

King’s first piece of advice is to consider the person in the group that has the hardest time adjusting to new technology and choose a tool that will fit their comfort level. This may mean that you use a more familiar option such as Skype or Google docs to aid in your collaborations, rather than some of the more advanced options. In group collaborations, the project’s success is dependent on all group members feeling comfortable with the technology tools used. [Read more…]

How to find and work with an illustrator

academic writingIllustrations are an important part of many textbooks and peer reviewed papers because they can help explain concepts in ways that photographs can’t. According to Joanne Haderer Muller, a board certified medical illustrator and Chair of the Board of the Association of Medical Illustrators: “Illustrations have many advantages over photographs. For example, illustrations can show readers an average, rather than a specific, example of a concept, procedure, animal, or anatomical arrangement. They can show detail that may be lost or hidden in a photograph, can help explain things at a molecular or cellular level, and can show how a process unfolds over time to really explain the author’s message.” [Read more…]

6 Tips for selecting the right textbook publisher

Selecting the right publisher for your textbook is key to the success of your project, so it’s important to find a good match.

Allen R. Angel, author of A Survey of Mathematics with Applications (9th Edition), and an algebra series, now in its 8th edition, and Patricia Heyman, author of International Cooking: A Culinary Journey (2nd Edition) share the following 6 tips to consider when comparing publishers: [Read more…]

How to establish author order when collaborating with multiple authors

collaborateWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s contribution, and thus author order. For example, Christine Beveridge and Suzanne Morris, the authors of the July 25, 2007 Nature article entitled “Order of merit,” recommend using a multi-criterion decision making approach, which involves the following steps: [Read more…]

How to navigate the peer review publishing process

Success CompassWhen an author submits a manuscript to a scholarly journal, the manuscript will face one of three basic responses: accept, reject, or revise and resubmit. Samantha Elliott, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education (JMBE), and Jeffrey Arnett, editor of the Journal of Adolescent Research, offer the following information to guide you through the different responses you may receive from editors.

Accept/Accept with Minor Modifications
Manuscripts that fall into this category are exceptionally strong papers that received glowing peer reviews, and the only modifications needed might include clarification on certain points, or formatting issues specific to the journal. While this is every academic writer’s dream response, it is a very rare occurrence. If this happens to you, Elliott recommends that you celebrate, and then take a good look at the feedback you received to find out what impressed your reviewers. You can use this feedback to help shape future manuscripts.

[Read more…]

5 Approaches to writing group success

Writing GroupWriting groups offer their members a wealth of benefits. In fact, studies indicate that membership in a writing group can actually help boost your publication rate. In an examination of the publication rate of 48 female medical school faculty before and after participating in a writing group, Sonnad et al. found that the professors’ average publication rate increased from 1.5 papers per year to 4.5 papers per year after joining the writing group. Cumbie et al. also describe increases in productivity among writing group members, reporting “significant and positive writing outcomes in the form of manuscripts submitted for publication, abstracts submitted for conference presentations, [and] grant proposals developed.” [Read more…]

How to determine author order when collaborating with multiple authors

Determining author orderWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s [Read more…]

6 Tips for a productive summer break

Time managementSummer vacation can be a great time for academic writers to get ahead on their writing projects, but all too often professors and graduate students find themselves scrambling to get something—anything—finished as summer comes to a close, and wondering how the summer slipped away from them.

Your summer vacation doesn’t have to end that way. Noah Shusterman, assistant professor at Temple University and author of the Chronicle of Higher Education article “Planning a Productive Summer,” and Tanya Golash-Boza, associate professor at the University of California, Merced and author of the blog post “How to Have a Productive Summer by Working Four Hours a Day,” offer the following six tips for maximizing your writing productivity over summer break: [Read more…]

How MOOCs can offer opportunities for textbook sales

MOOCThe rapid rise in popularity of massive online open courses (MOOCs) may benefit students and textbook authors alike by increasing access to affordable higher education for students while creating new opportunities for boosting textbook sales.

MOOCs are free online classes offered by companies such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX. Coursera and Udacity were founded by Stanford professors, and edX is run collaboratively by MIT and Harvard. These companies partner with various universities in order to offer courses to millions of students worldwide—and the list of participating universities is growing. [Read more…]