About Kim Pawlak

Kim Pawlak is Director of Publishing & Operations for the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA). She has been writing about the textbook and academic authoring and publishing industry for 20 years.

TAA signs on to Copyright Alliance letter seeking changes to copyright provisions of NAFTA agreement

copyrightThe Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) was one of 19 groups to sign on to a letter from the Copyright Alliance to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking him to “modernize the copyright provisions of the NAFTA agreement for the digital age and to establish a template for future agreements.” Meetings to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement began August 16, 2017.

“The internet’s global reach has made copyright protections and enforcement increasingly important to free trade agreements,” states the letter. [Read more…]

Q&A: How to ensure quality when the publisher is cutting costs

textbook stackQ: How do you work with a publisher to ensure the final product is a quality work even though they are cutting costs?

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

“The best way to ensure quality of content is to make sure standards are referenced in your contract, e.g., that your manuscript will be professionally edited and indexed. If such provisions are not made contractually, then you should pay for them yourself. Your advance may pay for that, and you may be able to negotiate a higher royalty rate or a grant in exchange, but don’t count on it. Many publishers are no longer investing in the kind of editorial development that makes books commercially successful, except for titles [Read more…]

2017 Fall Webinars – Improve your skills

TAA fall webinar seriesWhether you are interested in learning how to publish in scholarly journals, develop a website, use podcasting to promote your scholarship, manage your writing projects, or how to use your research and insights in ways that contribute to the social good, TAA’s fall webinar series for textbook and academic authors has you covered. Join us as various industry experts share their expertise on academic and textbook writing topics. Sign-up early to reserve your spot! Not a TAA member? Learn more about member benefits and join today. [Read more…]

Q&A: How do you phase out a co-author?

Textbook PublishingQ: How do you phase out a coauthor who is now retired and with whom you have worked with for many years?

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

“The best way to phase out a co-author is to bring in a new co-author and increase the proportion of a new content, but so long as the book has original content contributed by the original author, that coauthor has a legitimate (and legal) stake in the book. Publishing industry standards for textbooks call for a gradual reduction in the royalty split, reflecting the reduced contribution, proportionally, to revisions. [Read more…]

Why textbooks need development and why authors should do their own

Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, shares why textbooks need development and why she recommends textbook authors do their own.

Listen to the full interview

Special offer on TAA books on textbook authoring

Guide to Textbook Publishing ContractsWriting and Developing Your College TextbookTake advantage of special pricing on two TAA books, Writing and Developing Your College Textbook and Guide to Textbook Publishing ContractsWriting and Developing Your College Textbook is now $43.95 (regularly $53.95) with free shipping. You’ll also receive a coupon code for $5 off your membership renewal! Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts is now $14.95 for the print book (regularly $19.95) and $9.95 for the ebook (regularly $14.95). You’ll also receive free shipping on the print order and a coupon code for $5 off your membership renewal! [Read more…]

4 Higher education publishers team up to fight counterfeit textbooks

Stop Counterfeit TextbooksIn an effort to fight counterfeit textbooks, four higher education publishers, Cengage, Elsevier, McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, have teamed up to create a website called Stop Counterfeit Textbooks.

The site includes information on how to avoid counterfeit textbooks, how to identify a counterfeit textbook, and what to do if your textbook is counterfeit. The website states: “Counterfeit textbooks are a substantial problem in the educational marketplace, burdening students with inferior products; exposing distributors to legal liability and unsaleable inventory; and depriving authors and publishers of the funds necessary to reinvest in new educational content.” [Read more…]

Creative self-help for textbook authors

In her 2017 TAA Conference session, “Creative Self-Help for Textbook Authors”, Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, shares practical advice and models a creative problem solving approach that you can customize to create your own useful tools for success in your textbook enterprise. Watch the full presentations on demand. [Read more…]

TAA Council passes resolution on textbook counterfeiting

Don't buy counterfeit textbooksThe TAA Council has passed a resolution on textbook counterfeiting that details a variety of actions the association will be taking to combat the issue, including educating the public about the problem, and broadening understanding of the negative ramifications of the use of counterfeit copies.

Counterfeit textbooks are “affecting the textbook marketplace and causing substantial losses of revenue for publishers and of royalties for authors and driving up the price of textbooks,” the resolution states. “Appropriate compensation for the work of textbook publishing is essential to ensure that both publishers and authors can continue to deliver excellent educational resources.” [Read more…]

3 Most important skills a textbook author needs to have

Sean W. Wakely, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, shares the three most important skills a textbook author needs to have.

Listen to the full interview