Developing a mobile textbook: A case study in collaborative authoring

Mobile textbookFor the past two years, I have been exploring ways to make educational materials accessible to students on mobile phones. In my online courses, for example, I have moved away from Blackboard, which is not well designed for mobile users. Much of my course content now lives instead on websites I have built with Weebly or Google Sites. These platforms provide responsive templates that work well for students on any size screen. While grades, administrative announcements, and discussions still take place on Blackboard (which is institutionally mandated and required for FERPA compliance), the majority of the text, audio, and video content for the courses is now housed on fully responsive sites outside of the LMS. Students can access the course materials from their phones at any time, without needing to log in to the cumbersome LMS system. More than half of my students now report that they do most of their course reading on their phones. [Read more…]

How I met my first textbook acquisitions editor

Math for Health Care ProfessionalsI was introduced to my first acquisitions editor through the recommendation of a colleague.

At the time, our state had added a new course in infection control to our curriculum and none of the instructors had been able to send an acceptable book that included the necessary content for teaching infection control to health care providers. Since I had some experience in this area, I compiled my notes and handouts into a self-published 48-page booklet, which I provided to my students at no cost. A colleague at another college asked if I would make this booklet available for his classes, so I contracted with a local printer to produce the booklets and sold them to the college bookstore. [Read more…]

Join us 2/22 for the TAA webinar, ‘Tips and Techniques for Enhancing Your Approach to Visuals’

Bethann Garramon MerkleToo often incorporating images isn’t part of our initial project planning, if it is ever part of the planning at all. Join us Wednesday, February 22 at 1-2 p.m. ET, for the TAA webinar, “Tips and Techniques for Enhancing Your Approach to Visuals.” Author and illustrator Bethann Garramon Merkle will share tips and hands-on techniques for enhancing your approach to visuals by using illustrations in publications and presentations. [Read more…]

Q&A: Advice for prospective textbook authors

TextbooksQ: I have an idea for a textbook and I hope to put a proposal together soon and start looking for a publisher. Can you share any advice as I begin this process?

Mike Kennamer, TAA Vice President: “My suggestion for starting to look for a publisher is to first look at companies who publish in your field. I’d recommend that you review their websites and determine which one (or two) seem to be the best fit for your title. Many publishers provide information for prospective authors online, including what they look for in the proposal. Generally, they will want to see two chapters, a detailed table of contents, list of features, and information about who will use the book, the size of the market, and competing titles. If you are unable to find author information online you might consider contacting a sales rep and ask them to put you in touch with someone who does acquisitions for the company. Becoming a textbook reviewer is also a good way to form a relationship with a publisher. [Read more…]

10 Disaster control guidelines for your textbook schedule

scheduleDrafting and production schedules are more important than one may think in the world textbook publishing. At the same time, deadlines can be burdensome for authors. Missing them is a principal cause of marketplace failure. An untimely textbook, finding no uncommitted customers by the time it reaches them, is doomed. Furthermore, postponement—pushing back a product another whole adoption cycle—is usually not a good option.

The best way to deal with schedules is to master them at the very beginning through realistic planning, starting with a drafting calendar. [Read more…]

Textbook development: 5 Tips for controlling length

LengthYou might be informed by your copy editor that your textbook manuscript is too long. Say, for example, your copy editor has returned five of your chapters marked as seriously over length. Instructions say to reduce length by the equivalent of three manuscript pages per chapter. Reading over the manuscript, barring a word here or there, you believe there is simply no way you can cut without destroying the brilliance and integrity of your exposition. You ask if the book can just be made sixteen pages longer. The answer, categorically, is no, because of the cost. What should you do? [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.  [Read more…]

Pre-order your copy of TAA’s newest book: ‘Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide’

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 a Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, now available for pre-order, will empower you to undertake textbook development by guiding you through the nuts and bolts of the development process and providing 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. Click here to pre-order. [Read more…]

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

Q&AThe 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?” [Read more…]

Join us today @ 3pm ET for the TAA Webinar: 5 Steps to Creating a Publication Strategy

Janet SalmonsYou have research. You have academic papers, a thesis, and/or a dissertation. You may have written reports or social media posts. Now what? The tasks involved with moving forward towards developing publishable articles or chapters seems overwhelming. Where do you start?

Join us today from 3-4 p.m. ET, for the TAA Webinar, “5 Steps to Creating a Publication Strategy”. Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer and consultant with Vision2Lead, Inc., will share practical tips and a step-by-step process for evaluating your current status, and making a plan to achieve publication goals. [Read more…]