Q&A: How can I get started working on textbooks?

Woman writing and working on laptopIn a recent post to the TAA LinkedIn group, Dr. Anna Bucy, a humanities instructor with over 20 years of teaching experience, asked the question, “How can I get started working on textbooks?” A simple question to which several group members shared their professional advice.

Professional editor of textbooks and scholarly articles, Ann Greenberger: “Are you thinking of elementary-high school textbooks, or college? If college, then you might look on LinkedIn for college textbook publishers and acquisitions editors in your field (education). Sometimes they need content specialists to write or edit supplements such as testbanks or instructors manuals. That is just one route to go, but would get you started.” [Read more…]

Tech Tip: Managing academic reference sources in Microsoft Word

Students in libraryAlthough a number of software tools are now available for managing citations and references for research papers and journal articles, I have found that using the tools built into the latest versions of Microsoft Word provide a single tool for document creation and reference source management. The reference features of Word support a variety of manuscript styles, allow for quick and accurate citations, automate the development of bibliography or works cited pages, and support the reuse of sources across multiple documents with ease.

In this article, I will discuss the basic steps for implementing the tools to manage your academic reference sources in Microsoft Word. [Read more…]

Tech Tip: Use polling software to incorporate audience participation into your next presentation

Eric SchmiederIf you’re like me, you often give presentations to a class or conference audience and leave wondering things like “Did they get it?” or “What questions were left unanswered?”

My Solution: Incorporate Poll Everywhere into the presentation and know for sure!

Poll Everywhere works with PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides from Windows or Mac computers to add interactive polling to your presentations. [Read more…]

Productivity tips for authors ‘on the go’

Q: As a “pro on the go” what do you do to ensure you can stay productiveEric Schmieder

A: Eric J. Schmieder, author, presenter, and computer technology instructor:

“As a corporate trainer and adjunct instructor, I am always on the road and find myself relying more on my mobile device to stay connected, stay productive, and better prepare me to get things done when I do find a place to land with my laptop. I find it important to arm myself with the best tools to keep moving on my long-term projects.” [Read more…]

Tip of the trade: The role writing environment plays in productivity

Q: What roles do the writing work space and environment play in productivity?

writingA: Noelle Sterne, author, editor and writing consultant:

“As an academic and mainstream writer and editor, I firmly believe that one’s writing work space and work environment tremendously influence productivity. To discover your best writing environment requires self-analysis and candid (if uncomfortable) answers to several important questions:

1) What is your optimal time for a work session? An hour, three, fifteen minutes? My optimal session is about an hour and a half. But sometimes my brain bubbles like a hot spring, and I can work for three hours straight without hearing my stomach growl. [Read more…]

Register your own copyright: When, why, and how?

Zick and Brenda

Zick Rubin and Brenda Marshall Ulrich, copyright attorneys, Rubin & Ulrich, LLC.

As textbook and academic authors, your copyrights are your livelihood, and the value of your copyrights is often enhanced by registering them in the U.S. Copyright Office – something that you can easily do for yourself.  Yet, as publishing and copyright attorneys, we find that many text and academic authors know less than they should about copyright registration.

Here’s our sample Q&A conversation with an author who wanted to know more about when, why, and how to register the author’s copyrights: [Read more…]

Tips of the Trade: What is the best way to handle pre-contract communication with a prospective publisher?

Contract ReviewTAA Member Kamalani Hurley from Leeward Community College asks: “What is normal in the timeline between an acquisitions editor expressing interest in publishing my material and the written contract?”

Textbook author Mike Kennamer, who is director of Workforce Development at Northeast Alabama Community College, and Julia Kostova, an acquisitions editor at Oxford University Press, share their advice: [Read more…]

Tip of the Trade: Is it okay to use ‘we’ or ‘I’ when writing for academic audiences?

Scientific writingDuring the TAA webinar, “Principles of Effective Scientific Writing,” Kristin Sainani, associate professor with health research and policy at Stanford University, said that she often gets asked the question: “Is it okay to use ‘we’ or ‘I’ when I’m writing for academic or scientific audiences?”

She said actually, yes, it is: “Editors will encourage you to use ‘we’ or ‘I’ so that you can use the active voice. I think it’s actually a good thing to use ‘we’ and ‘I’ because you are the author taking responsibility for the work that you’ve done and the interpretation you have.”

Watch Kristin’s full TAA webinar. Free for members! Not a member? Join TAA today

What is a typical rate for a textbook contributor?

Textbook PublishingQ: What is a typical rate for a textbook contributor? Do I have any negotiation power if I think the rate isn’t fair?

A: Lorraine Papazian-Boyce, author of ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding: A Map for Success, and the upcoming Pearson’s Comprehensive Medical Coding: ICD-10-CM/PCS, ICD-9-CM, CPT, HCPCS:

“I’ve contributed to dozens of projects for multiple publishers over the last 8-9 years. It is a wonderful way to get started in the field, gain credibility with a publisher, and earn money here and now. The rate for contributors depends on the type of content you’re being asked to develop, such as exercises, a chapter, supplements, etc. It also varies by field and publisher. [Read more…]

Tip of the Trade: Be strict about the type of editing that is suitable for each stage of the revision process

writing centerAdvice about academic writing often stresses the iterative nature of the writing process; the creation of an effective final draft generally requires multiple drafts and extensive revision. A crucial corollary to a commitment to extensive revision is an acceptance that revision mustn’t be allowed to go on indefinitely. Otherwise, a certain mania can set in: any draft can always be other than it is. After a certain point, we have to ask ourselves about diminishing returns and about the very real possibility of messing up what is already working. [Read more…]