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…]

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…]

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…]

Trends in college textbook publishing: 5 Tips for navigating the digital transition

Color photo of an stack books and mouseMany college textbook authors are experiencing declining print unit sales and diminishing royalty checks. Regular price increases previously helped college textbook publishers offset shrinking print sales, but that strategy is no longer effective. Consequently, some publishers are cutting budgets to offset revenue shortfalls. They’re also diverting remaining investment resources into new digital products and services that offer a measure of protection against the depredations of used, rental, and pirate competition. As a result, those publishers are rebranding themselves as software or learning science companies and setting very public goals to eliminate or scale back their print publishing programs in favor of fully digital product models. What are the key forces driving college publishers’ online publishing strategies? What are some steps higher education textbook authors can take in response? [Read more…]

[Storify] Tips, strategies, takeaways & fun-filled tweets from #2016TAA

2016 TAA Conference

“A must-attend conference for newbie writers like me!” – Claire Resilla (bottom right with a group of attendees from SHSU)

The 2016 TAA Conference in San Antonio Texas, June 24-25 was a huge success!

Here are some tips, strategies, takeaways & fun-filled tweets from the meeting. [Read more…]

Two academic editors share tips for getting published

Julia Kostova photo high res color (2)

Dr. Julia Kostova

Patrick Alexander color

Patrick Alexander

To have a successful career, faculty members must publish books or articles in keeping with their institution’s expectations. Unfortunately, many have received little training on navigating the publishing process. In a TAA webinar entitled “Ask the Editors: What Publishers Want and Why”, Dr. Julia Kostova, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Oxford University Press, and Patrick H. Alexander, Director of The Pennsylvania State University Press, provided strategies to help academic writers get published. The pair focused on the following four topics: identifying and approaching a publisher, writing a successful book proposal, turning a dissertation into a book, and publicizing your own work. [Read more…]

Book Review: Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts

Kevin Patton 2016-04-19_16-38-43One of the first experiences a textbook author will have is dealing with a publishing contract. Very few of us are attorneys ourselves and very few of us will have had any prior experience negotiating a publishing contract. Our expertise is in our teaching discipline—not in contract law.

I have learned—the hard way—that I should NOT be the only one looking at contracts and amendments presented to me by my publisher. I’ve therefore made it a habit to have an attorney specializing in textbook publishing contracts to review, suggest, and debate the points in anything I sign. Now I have a much better idea of the potential risks and rewards involved in each new professional writing project. [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…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 26, 2016

Print this quote and keep it next to where you write. This way, you will the first draft is nothing more than a starting pointalways be reminded, “The first draft is nothing more than a starting point,” as Andrew Stanton urges. You do not have to get the words out perfectly the first time; you just have to get them down. Remember, editing (and editing over and over again) exists for a reason! Below you’ll find excellent articles from around the web this past week. From the future of textbooks to how to get your first academic paper published, and so much in-between, I know you’ll find an article that is useful to you. And, as always, happy writing! [Read more…]

Work-for-hire or transfer of copyright? Understanding your rights

In the publishing world, the concepts of “work-for-hire” andcopyright collage art “transfer of copyright” can be challenging to navigate. Authors are often confronted in the publishing agreements by language that is vague and complicated, such as:

“The work will be a work-made-for-hire as defined by the Copyright Act, but, if the work is deemed not a work-for-hire, author hereby irrevocably transfers all right, title and interest in the work to the publisher for the entire term of copyright throughout the world.”

Why would a publisher prefer the work to be a work-for-hire than an outright transfer and what is the difference between a work-for-hire and an irrevocable transfer of all right, title and interest? To answer these questions, one must have a clear understanding of the definition of each practice. [Read more…]