The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: May 28, 2015

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” –Stephen King "The scariest moment is always just before you start." Stephen King quote

I cannot say with certainty that, “the scariest moment is always just before you start.” I have to think that I am not alone in thinking the scariest moment is right before submitting the final draft. As a perfectionist I always strive to get it perfect, yet in writing (and most everything in life), I know that it will always have errors. An extra comma or two are almost always inevitable. If you too face the internal struggles of perfectionism and knowing that it will never be perfect, than you will appreciate a few of this week’s articles below. Maybe you are more of the 95-percenter (see The Thesis Whisper’s The last 5%) and the perfectionism struggle does not apply. Fortunately for you there are many other great articles this week that are well worth the read. 😉

Happy reading and, as always, happy writing! [Read more…]

How to convert your nonfiction book into a textbook

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “I have been contacted about converting my nonfiction book into a textbook. I believe that the book as it is, could very well be used in the classroom. Could you tell me how I can go about either publishing the book as is for classroom use, or converting it into a textbook?”

A: Ron Pynn:

“Let me start by noting that I would think your publisher has the rights to your present book, so that any plans to convert it into a text will require the present publisher to agree to the plan or publish it themselves as a text. Be sure you don’t violate the terms of your agreement with the publisher.

Now, having said that, I would also suggest you not let the publisher simply convert the book into a text under the terms of your present agreement, unless those terms are quite favorable to you as author (and they almost never are). I would suggest you declare the text a separate work (it will almost certainly have a new ISBN number), and ask for a separate, new contract from the publisher. Then negotiate the terms of that contract. Here TAA can be of significant help. We have a model contract, know what clauses can and cannot be negotiated, what are decent royalty rates, and have veteran authors to help counsel you. We even have lawyers and book agents available should that be the direction you needed to go.

You have an enviable position — the author of a successful book, interest in a text version with potential for substantial adoption. This gives you leverage to negotiate. Make the publisher work up a new contract or declare their lack of interest, the right of first refusal, so you can shop it around to other publishers. TAA could even help you prepare a book proposal should that become the need.

It appears you have a good foundation for doing this text, and you have strong leverage. Don’t give it away. Should you pursue the project, membership in TAA will strengthen your knowledge about contracts and the publishing process. We will stand ready to provide assistance to you at every step of the way.”