3 Novice textbook authors share lessons learned

Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

(l to r) Rick Mullins, Dave Dillon, Brent Blair, Laura Frost

At a 2017 TAA conference session, entitled “So You Want to Write a Textbook? Lessons Learned and Advice Sought,” moderator Laura Frost, a veteran chemistry textbook author, interviews three novice writers, Brent Blair, Dave Dillon, and Rick Mullins.

Brent Blair is an Associate Professor of Biology at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Environmental Science: Ecology and People, for Oxford University Press. Dave Dillon is counseling faculty and an Associate Professor at Grossmont College and is authoring the second edition of his textbook, Blueprint for Success in College. Rick Mullins is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Xavier University in Cincinnati and is writing his first textbook, Organic Chemistry: A Learner-Centered Approach, for Pearson Education. [Read more…]

Creative self-help for textbook authors

In her 2017 TAA Conference session, “Creative Self-Help for Textbook Authors”, Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, shares practical advice and models a creative problem solving approach that you can customize to create your own useful tools for success in your textbook enterprise. Watch the full presentations on demand. [Read more…]

TAA Council passes resolution on textbook counterfeiting

Don't buy counterfeit textbooksThe TAA Council has passed a resolution on textbook counterfeiting that details a variety of actions the association will be taking to combat the issue, including educating the public about the problem, and broadening understanding of the negative ramifications of the use of counterfeit copies.

Counterfeit textbooks are “affecting the textbook marketplace and causing substantial losses of revenue for publishers and of royalties for authors and driving up the price of textbooks,” the resolution states. “Appropriate compensation for the work of textbook publishing is essential to ensure that both publishers and authors can continue to deliver excellent educational resources.” [Read more…]

Cengage print materials to include certification seal to fight counterfeiters

CengageBeginning with shipments currently underway to on-campus, off-campus and online retailers, Cengage print products will include a unique certification seal developed by an expert third-party certification company. The seal includes a QR code and one-off indicators that verify the product’s authenticity. Cengage estimates that counterfeit course materials cost the company between $70 million to $100 million annually.  [Read more…]

Trade vs. textbooks: 6 Key takeaways from my experiences

Competency Based Education in Aviation

Suzanne Kearns’s trade book, “Competency-Based Education in Aviation”, published by Routledge

Suzanne KearnsI am the author or co-author of three books. A textbook with a vanity publisher, two trade books with an academic publisher, and an upcoming introductory textbook.

My first book was the result of a publisher’s agent knocking on my office door and asking if I would be interested in writing a textbook. All the publisher asked was that I would require the book within my courses and sign away the copyright. I was excited to get started, so I barely even read the publishing contract. I now know this experience epitomizes that of working with a vanity publisher – the goal is to generate some revenue rather than produce the ideal product.  The textbook ended up being an effective tool within my course, but it wasn’t adopted anywhere else. [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 5): Key to textbook longevity, preparing for the next edition

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a six-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. The fourth installment focused on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors.

This fifth, and final, installment in the five-part series focuses on the more veteran authors, who share the key to their textbook’s longevity, what they have learned over the years, and their approach to preparing for a new edition. [Read more…]

Q&A: What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?

Q: “What is an author’s questionnaire and why do I need one?”

Author's questionnaireA: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide:

“An author’s questionnaire usually comes from the marketing department to develop leads for reviewers of, contributors to, and especially adopters of your text. I suggest filling it in as completely as possible to make your contacts, colleagues, affiliations, and achievements known to the people who will attempt to market and sell your title. Also include any press (news articles) about you (and keep sending them). List your upcoming opportunities to promote your book, such as guest lectures, keynote addresses, interviews in the broadcast media, academic conventions, professional meetings, webinars, etc. [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 4): What they wish they had known before they started, writing advice

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a five-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use. The third installment focused on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book.

This fourth installment in the five-part series focuses on what they wish they had known before they started, and advice for other authors. [Read more…]

How to reimagine and redesign textbooks to reach and engage students

elearningAre textbooks merging with online courses? Will textbook content increasingly be delivered in the form of digital modules that can be integrated into course learning systems? What does this mean for textbook authors and editors? How should textbook content be designed to work best in online learning environments?

Since 2009, I have been working in dual roles, and I’ve witnessed a transition that has moved faster than anyone anticipated. As a long-time development editor, and now author, in the textbook industry, I have watched a rapid transition from print to digital publishing models. Most of the major commercial textbook publishers have passed the point at which more than half of their sales revenue is coming from digital products. By no means is print dead when it comes to textbooks, but print texts certainly inhabit a changed landscape. [Read more…]

Textbook award-winning insight (Part 3): Pedagogy and marketing involvement

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, I reached out to winners of the 2017 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. I had so many great responses I decided to create a five-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use.

This third installment in the five-part series focuses which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. [Read more…]