Refusal to publish: What you need to know

What would you do if your textbook publisher no_red pencilasked you to work on a 3rd edition of your textbook only to have them tell you they won’t publish it after you’ve worked on revisions for 14 months? That’s exactly what happened to TAA member and textbook author, Phil Tate. His publisher, McGraw-Hill, asked him to author a 3rd edition of his textbook. After working 14 months on the project and having a first draft of the text submitted to McGraw-Hill, Tate was told his book project was on “pause.” This meant his book was neither being cancelled nor was it being published. Ten months later Tate’s book was moved from “paused” to “cancelled.” Did he have any recourse? Hadn’t it been McGraw-Hill that initially asked Tate to write a revision for a 3rd edition? Tate questioned these things himself and started seeking answers from other authors and attorneys.

Below, Tate shares lessons learned and what textbook authors need to know to help protect themselves from possibly enduring the same fate. [Read more…]

9 Candidates running for TAA Council: Cast your votes!

Nine candidates are running for five open positions on the TAA Council, the association’s governing board. Three are officer positions, Vice President/President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary; and two are Council positions. Terms begin July 1, 2015. Officers serve two-year terms and Council members serve three-year terms.

Mike Kennamer

Mike Kennamer

Mike Kennamer is running for the position of Vice President/President-Elect. Kennamer is Director of Workforce Development at Northeast Alabama Community College, President/CEO of Kennamer Media Group, Inc., and author of more than 50 publications. “I enthusiastically accepted the nomination to run for vice president/president-elect, as I wish to help continue the excellent progress made by current president, Karen Morris and support the work of president-elect Steve Barkan as we work to enhance membership benefits and reach additional authors while assuring long-term fiscal stability for TAA,” he said. [Read more…]

Looking forward to seeing new and familiar faces at the hospitality suite!

Register with the Authors Registry to receive secondary royalty payments from foreign organizations

The Authors Registry is a not-for-profit organization that distributes secondary royalties from foreign organizations to U.S. authors. The Registry was founded in 1995 by a consortium of U.S. authors’ organizations: The Authors Guild, The American Society of Journalists & Authors, the Dramatists Guild, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. To date, the Authors Registry has distributed over $22.5 million in royalties to over 10,000 authors living in the United States.

“Each year, hundreds of new authors are added to our lists and we attempt to locate and contact them to help them receive these royalties. We have great success rates, but sometimes these royalties go unclaimed,” said Terry King, Operations Manager at the Authors Registry.

The payments come from foreign and domestic organizations that collect secondary royalties for the use of authors’ works. They are collected from organizations such as the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, part of an extended collective licensing system in the U.K., and LIRA, the organization with the authority to collect and disperse fees for public library lending rights in the Netherlands.

To ensure that you receive any of these secondary royalties due to you, register with the Authors Registry by completing their Collection Authorization form here. You can also contact Terry King at 212-563-5904 and staff@authorsregistry.org or visit them on the web at www.authorsregistry.org.

Tutorial – Twitter 101: Learn how to create an account, customize your profile, and start tweeting

Wondering how to get started on Twitter but not sure where to start? Follow these simple instructions to set up an account, customize it, and get tweeting!

How to sign up

[Read more…]

Recommended Reading for Textbook Authors

New Tax Guide for WritersWriting and Developing Your College TextbookSelf-Publishing Textbooks and Instructional Materials

Writing and Developing Your College Textbook by Mary Ellen Lepionka

Self-Publishing Textbooks and Instructional Materials by Dan Poynter and Franklin H. Silverman

New Tax Guide for Writers, Artists, Performers, & Other Creative People by Peter Jason Riley

Writing a Textbook: How to Establish Yourself as an Academic Writer 
by Penny Grub and Danuta Reah

Do you recommend a book about textbook writing? Share your titles!

7 Tips for creating your own website

John Soares

John Soares

soares_john_cover

It has become increasingly important for academics to create an online presence as a means of networking and marketing your work. One way to do that is to create your own professional website.

To reap the most rewards from your website, John Soares, a freelance writer and author of the popular Productive Writers blog, offers the following advice for each step in the process: [Read more…]

Digital textbooks and pedagogy: An interview with June Parsons & Dan Oja

Dan Oja and June Parsons

Dan Oja and June Parsons

Computer Concepts

Digital book pioneers June Parsons and Dan Oja co-developed the first commercially successful multimedia, interactive digital textbook; one that set the bar for platforms now being developed byeducational publishers.

The coauthors began writing and creating educational software for Course Technology in 1992 and between them have authored more than 150 college computer textbooks. They currently have several digital textbooks in print, including the best-selling New Perspectives on Computer Concepts.

Parsons has a doctorate in instructional technology and has taught at the university level for more than 20 years. Oja is an experienced programmer. He developed BookOnPublish, a software tool for assembling and publishing multimedia digital books.

Here Parsons and Oja talk to TAA about digital textbooks and pedagogy: [Read more…]

What is a fair royalty arrangement when taking on textbook co-authors?

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “I would like to phase out of my textbooks and take on co-authors to keep them going. What is a fair royalty arrangement?”

A: Michael Lennie, Attorney, Lennie Literary & Author’s Attorney:

“I usually deal with this issue in the revised editions clause by negotiating a 60/30/15 percent provision. Under this provision the retiring author receives 60/30/15 percent of the full royalty for the first/second/third and thereafter edition in which he does not participate. Higher percentages are available depending on the number of prior editions and the reputation of the retiring author.”

How to write a stellar book proposal and get published

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “A publisher has expressed interest in my ideas for a book, and has asked for a proposal. What goes into a good proposal?”

A: Michael Lennie, Authoring Attorney and Literary Agent, Lennie Literary and Authors’ Attorneys:

Download ‘Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal’ from Lennie Literary Agency and for further information, see the books referenced therein. Click to download PDF

“A proposal should be as good as or better than the book itself because publishers sign non-fiction books based on the proposal and one or two sample chapters, not based on the completed book itself. Do not short change yourself by slapping together a generalized proposal. Read the book(s) and relevant articles, and do your best work!”

A: Kären Hess, the author or co-author of more than 30 trade books and college-level textbooks on a variety of topics including financial planning, dental marketing, art, literature, engineering, hospice care, reading, management and report writing:

“A cover page; an overview including what the book is about, the need, that is why the book is useful or necessary; the audience, that is who the book is for and who will buy it; the competition, that is, what makes the book different from or better than other books on the subject and a list of competing titles if any; author qualification; an outline with detailed subheads (can be narrative paragraphs, bulleted list of key points or a formal outline); and a sample chapter (not necessarily the first chapter, but what is considered the strongest chapter). Conclude with an offer to provide any additional information desired and contact information.

It should be obvious, but the proposal must be well written (clear, concise, forceful, error-free and nicely formatted). If it is an unsolicited proposal, a strong cover letter is a must.

Some proposals include an appendix with letters of endorsement, copies of articles about the author or the author’s work and the like.

Presentation is critical – the axiom you never get a second chance to make a first impression applies. Use a good printer and quality paper with a professionally appearing binder. Never submit a handwritten proposal.”