The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 19, 2016

“Like stretching before exercise, I start my writing day with a heavy edit and rewrite of my previous day’s work. That seamlessly catapults me into today’s writing.” – Jerry Jenkins
What sorts of strategies do you use to catapult you into your day’s writing? Do you do as Jerry Jenkins does and start the day with “a heavy edit and rewrite” of the “previous day’s work”? Maybe you do as Rachel Toor suggests: “leave off at a point where it will be easy to start again.” Rachel adds: “Some writers quit a session in the middle of a sentence; it’s always easier to continue than to begin.” Various other writers suggest using bullet points at the end of a writing session that point them in the direction they want the writing to go when they next return to it. Perhaps you have a completely different method altogether. If you do, I hope you will share it in the comments below this post. Happy writing! [Read more…]

How to build effective collaboration

Collaboration puzzleAs a graduate student or early career academic you likely have a packed schedule. Trying to get published can be a daunting task, especially when you feel you have to do it alone. But maybe you don’t have to. If you can find the right person or persons to collaborate with, say doctoral students Tracey S. Hodges and Katherine Landau Wright, you are less likely to be stressed, and more likely to be productive and on the path to publishing success.

Hodges and Wright share the following advice for effective collaboration: [Read more…]

How to find a co-author to help with the workload on a successful one-author textbook series

Data a Computer CommunicationsWilliamStallingsComputer science textbook author William Stallings, a 13-time winner of TAA’s Textbook Excellence Award, and five-time winner of TAA’s McGuffey Longevity Award, gives the following advice for someone trying to find a co-author to help with the workload on a successful one-author series:

“I have had four different coauthors on three different books and all the experiences have been largely positive. In every case, the coauthor was a professor who had taught a course using the then-current edition of the book. I think that is an essential prerequisite. This gives the professor insight into how students are reacting to the material and what needs to be changed to make it more attractive to students. As well, teaching from the book gives the professor insight into what needs to be changed to make his/her job easier and more effective. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 31, 2014

As promised, I’ve gathered a long list of You would rather pack book than clothes when you go on vacation.most useful posts for your must-read list this week. This week’s list is full of great writing tips and tools to help you move your writing project forward. Although only a month into this weekly series, I have to say these are some of my favorite and (hopefully) most useful posts yet. These are never in a particular order, just randomly placed, so make sure to read all the way to the bottom as they are no less important! Happy Halloween and, as always, happy writing! [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…]

Passing the torch: Selecting a successor to write future textbook editions

Writing TextbooksFinding a successor for your textbook(s) can be a daunting, arduous task. At TAA’s June 2013 conference veteran authors Robert Christopherson, Michael Sullivan, and Karen Morris presented a session sharing strategies for finding a successor and successfully transitioning the future editions of your texts.

The following is an overview of that presentation, highlighting ten tips to facilitate successor author transitions — “passing the torch.”

1) If you already have a successful coauthor arrangement, making the transition from the coauthor to your successor is a logical choice. Make sure all contract stipulations regarding succession are thoroughly discussed and agreed to before entering into the succession process.

2) Use your ancillary and lab manual, or test bank authors, as a proving ground for potential coauthors. The benefit of this strategy is that you already have vetted these authors both in terms of their writing and collaboration styles. [Read more…]

10 Tips to facilitate textbook successor author transitions

textbook stackFinding a successor for your textbook(s) can be a daunting, arduous task. At TAA’s June 2013 conference veteran authors Robert Christopherson, Michael Sullivan, and Karen Morris presented a session sharing strategies for finding a successor and successfully transitioning the future editions of your texts.

The following is an overview of that presentation, highlighting ten tips to facilitate successor author transitions —“passing the torch.”

1) If you already have a successful coauthor arrangement, making the transition from the coauthor to your successor is a logical choice. Make sure all contract stipulations regarding succession are thoroughly discussed and agreed to before entering into the succession process.

2) Use your ancillary and lab manual, or test bank authors, as a proving ground for potential coauthors. The benefit of this strategy is that you already have vetted these authors both in terms of their writing and collaboration styles. [Read more…]

Bringing in a co-author requires ‘reconstitution’ of book project

TextbooksFinding a co-author for your textbook should involve more than finding someone to share the workload, said Mary Ellen Lepionka, owner of Atlantic Path Publishing and author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook.

”Rather than serving merely as a hired hand, each co-author should have content to contribute,” she said.

Senior authors often bring in junior colleagues working in areas at the edges of their expertise or in emerging fields, to serve as coauthors, said Lepionka, but among the best sources of co-authors are colleagues from the author’s past schooling, from his or her present institution or group, and individuals in groups the author interacts with at professional meetings. [Read more…]

Contract considerations when switching from contributing textbook author to lead author

Michael Lennie

Michael Lennie

Q: If an author is transitioning from a contributing author role to the role of a lead author, do they have to accept the same contract conditions/stipulations that were negotiated by the original authors?

A: Michael Lennie, Attorney and Literary Agent, Lennie Literary Agency & Author’s Attorney:

“I see at least a couple of meanings to your use of the term ‘a contributing author’, each of which results in a different answer. If you have been ‘contributing’ only to certain elements (e.g., chapter summaries, or a particular supplement to the main text), but not to the overall book, you may have entered into what is designated a “work-made-for-hire” (‘WMFH’) agreement with your publisher. A WMFH agreement requires the agreement be in writing clearly stating that it is in fact a ‘work-made-for-hire’ agreement. A WMFH agreement is quite different from an author/publisher agreement (ah, but that’s another tale).

[Read more…]

5 Textbook authors share advice on coauthoring relationships

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “I am currently writing on my own but considering taking on a coauthor. What are some different ways that coauthors can work together?”

A: Maggie D.C. Finn, mfinn@nycc.edu:

“One simple way is to use Word in ‘Track Changes’ mode. That way drafts can be send back and forth electronically and you can quickly see where your coauthor has added or edited something.” [Read more…]