Higher education publishers’ aspirations to become software developers

Expanding upon an article in the September-October 2014 issue of TAA’s print newsletter, The Academic Author, Sean Wakely, Founder and Principal Adviser at Academic Author Advisers, posted an article on his blog that covers the topic of higher education publishers’ aspirations to become software developers.

In his post, Wakely examines publishers’ digital solution to declining print sales and used books and whether publishers are ready to meet the challenges posed by the “digital transition”.

In future posts, Wakely plans to cover publishers’ changing product vision and the acquisitions editor’s evolving role.

How to reach out to potential textbook publishers

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “I am interested in researching the types of textbooks that currently exist regarding preparing a student for a job and which courses utilize this book. Is there a way to determine, other than contacting universities directly, if books are currently being used regarding this topic and if they effectively address the current job market issues? Also, is it recommended, if you have a textbook topic idea, to send the proposal to multiple potential publishers? Is it necessary to completely write the book before marketing it to potential publishers?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, Publisher, Atlantic Path Publishing:

“You don’t mention the type of job you are referring to. Textbooks that prepare people for jobs may be called professional books, adult education or vocational-technical textbooks, or career training manuals, depending on the type of job and the audience. Professional books are for practitioners in the professions or in jobs that require a license or certification (such as teaching, dentistry, CPA, social work, law enforcement). In some professions, preparation for entry into the field is accomplished through methods courses and field work (e.g., archaeology, oceanography, etc.). Adult, vocational, and technical education texts are for people in specific skilled occupations and trades (e.g. computer programmer, aircraft mechanic, electrician). Career training materials are for people seeking to enter a profession, occupation, or trade. Vocational-technical colleges and community colleges are prime markets for these materials.

[Read more…]

Advantages & disadvantages of working with multiple publishers

Jason Wrench, Associate Professor in Communication and Media at the State University of New York at New Paltz, share some advantages and disadvantages of working with multiple publishers.

Advantages

You learn what you like and don’t like about the publishing process. First and foremost, one of the biggest advantages to having multiple publishers is you learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Some publishers are a lot more hands-on during the writing process, while others are almost completely hands-off until the entire manuscript is finished. I’ve always been someone really good at keeping deadlines, so I don’t need an editor to help me with that, but I really do like getting the feedback along the way. I’ve experienced both, and have found that I would rather alter how I’m writing a book to meet expectations along the way than have to rewrite the book after I’ve finished. [Read more…]

Should you receive royalties on derivative products?

Q: “Should I receive royalties on products such as Vango Notes and other derivative products?”

“I have a business textbook with Pearson/Prentice-Hall. I picked Pearson for this book because I really like the level of development they invest in new projects, and now that we are in the second edition, the book is doing reasonably well. With the second edition Pearson also launched a VangoNotes version of our book. This is how the Vango site describes them:

‘VangoNotes are exclusively for Pearson Education textbooks. Some VangoNotes subject texts may still be helpful, so browse by subject at www.vangonotes.com. Alternatively, your professor may be able to recommend a Pearson textbook that will be relevant for your class.’

I’ve listened to the material on my book and it could be a substitute for it (though in brief), and the quote above clearly suggests that Pearson/Vango view the resources as interchangeable. I don’t receive royalties on VangoNotes, even though it is essentially a summary version of the book, by chapter. Does anyone have some guidance for me as to what steps I should/could take to remedy this? I have talked with another Pearson author who has the same experience and concern. I also have experience with another publisher, Flat World Knowledge, which pays me a royalty on all derivative products related to my book, even study aids. My sense is that this is coming from the legal side of Pearson, not the editorial side, and I like working with my current editor.” [Read more…]