3 Most important skills a textbook author needs to have

Sean W. Wakely, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide, shares the three most important skills a textbook author needs to have.

Listen to the full interview

Kick-off your summer writing with these posts from the blogosphere

summer writingWhen summer rolls around, it can seem almost impossible to get work done. With the beautiful weather, neighborhood barbeques, and days poolside, our desks begin to sound like one of the last places we would like to spend the day. But, believe it or not, summer can also bring new inspiration and a breath of fresh air for your writing. A new season brings new ideas and perspectives perfect for fighting off writer’s block and beating procrastination. Even as I am sitting out on my back porch writing this, I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle each project that comes my way. Here I’ve shared posts that can help you tackle some projects of your own and stay on track this summer season. [Read more…]

10 Tips to help you evaluate an index for quality

Ensure that key details are reflected in the indexThe book you have spent so long writing and editing is almost ready to be published. It is in its final layout, and has been proofread multiple times. The one hurdle remaining is the index. Finally, you receive the index manuscript for review. While it may be tempting to give the index just a cursory glance before blessing it with your imprimatur, it is worth investing a modest amount of time to ensure that the index does your book justice. A complete and well-constructed index adds real value to your book by making its content more accessible to readers. How can you be confident that the index you receive is good enough for your book? [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…]

Join us for the 4/24 TAA Webinar, ‘Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials and Companion Websites’

Janet SalmonsYou have completed the textbook manuscript, now what? Some publishers expect you to develop ancillary materials for companion sites they host. If not, you might want to create your own.

Join us Monday, April 24 from 3-4 p.m. ET, for the TAA webinar, “Texts Plus: Ancillary Materials and Companion Websites”. Textbook writer Janet Salmons will share and critique examples of companion websites from major publishers and individual authors. She will evaluate the types of materials posted, including media, instructional or student resources. [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…]