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…]

Open educational resources or traditional textbooks?
3 experts weigh in

Textbook StackAn August 15, 2017 article in the Lansing State Journal, “LCC takes aim at pricey textbooks, offers free course materials”, shared a decision by Lansing Community College to offer students freely available open educational resources (OER) rather than traditional textbooks during the fall 2017 semester. Sixty-four professors in 24 courses will be taking part in the initiative.

The decision to use OER materials, said Regina Gong, a librarian and open educational resources project manager at LCC, was based on the College’s desire to reduce the “cost for incoming students who have to take introductory courses before moving on to higher end classes.”

In a recent discussion about the article in TAA’s LinkedIn group, three experts weighed in on LCC’s OER initiative, answering the question: “How many of you are working at schools considering or adopting this model? Thoughts?” [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 13, 2017

"Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work." ~Amy JoyAs Amy Joy states, “Writing is easy. Writing well is hard work.” While you’re working hard on your writing this week, we’re working hard to keep you informed of current news related to textbook and academic writing. Below you will find articles from the past week on the cost of textbooks, continued efforts to combat counterfeiting, historical research, and censorship issues in academic writing. You will also find writing tips for staying motivated, scientific literature reviews, stylish writing, and advice from Nobel Prize for Literature winners. Continue the discussion in the comments below and this week, write well. [Read more…]

3 ways to illustrate your point in a textbook

Chemistry CartoonAccording to a 2006 cover story in the APA magazine, Monitor on Psychology, titled “How laughing leads to learning”, well-placed comedy in the learning environment has been shown to reduce tension, boost participation, increase motivation, and help students retain information.

In this article, cartoonist Dan Rosandich shares three ways for effectively incorporating cartoons and illustrations into your next textbook. [Read more…]

Apply for an academic or textbook writing grant from TAA

grant writing folderTAA offers two forms of grants to assist members and non-members with some of the expenses related to publishing their academic works and textbooks.

Publication Grants provide reimbursement for eligible expenses directly related to bringing an academic book, textbook, or journal article to publication. Contract Review Grants reimburse eligible expenses for legal review when you have a contract offer for a textbook or academic monograph or other scholarly work that includes royalty arrangements. The application deadline is October 31. [Read more…]

Creating a companion site for your textbook: What to consider

Companion sites can enrich the learning experience for readers by offering valuable features that can’t be shared on a printed page and/or might be too costly to include in an e-book. There are many factors to consider when planning or developing a companion site for your textbook. In a recent TAA webinar entitled Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials & Companion Sites, Janet Salmons, an independent researcher, writer, consultant, and founder of Vision2Lead, offered detailed advice for authors interested in creating companion sites for their textbooks. [Read more…]

2018 Textbook Award Nominations Now Open

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsNominations for the 2018 Textbook Excellence Award (“Texty”), McGuffey Longevity Award (“McGuffey”), and Most Promising New Textbook Award, opened September 1 and will run through November 1.

For more than 20 years, TAA has supported textbook and academic authors through these highly-recognized awards, given annually to emerging and veteran published authors in eight subject categories. [Read more…]

Why you should be incorporating gamification into textbook exercises

Chess board Let’s play a game! After all, who doesn’t love a good game? Already your mind is excited to see what comes next. Eager to learn more. Ready for active participation. Primed to learn.

Isn’t that EXACTLY what you want from your students?

[Read more…]

TAA signs on to Copyright Alliance letter seeking changes to copyright provisions of NAFTA agreement

copyrightThe Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA) was one of 19 groups to sign on to a letter from the Copyright Alliance to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking him to “modernize the copyright provisions of the NAFTA agreement for the digital age and to establish a template for future agreements.” Meetings to renegotiate the NAFTA agreement began August 16, 2017.

“The internet’s global reach has made copyright protections and enforcement increasingly important to free trade agreements,” states the letter. [Read more…]

How to part with your publisher when your textbook goes out of print

Textbook ResearchDuring the 2017 TAA Conference session, “Wanna Get Away? Maybe Now You Can: Parting with Your Publisher,” intellectual property attorney Stephen E. Gillen, a partner at Wood, Herron & Evans, said that one event that can open the door to parting with your publisher is when your textbook goes out of print.

When and how your textbook goes out of print is governed by your contract, said Gillen, which means it’s best to think about these situations in the early stages of negotiating your publishing contract. “They [your publisher] are probably going to be more inclined to make changes in that language in the beginning than they would be somewhere along the way,” he said. [Read more…]