Developing a mobile textbook: A case study in collaborative authoring

Mobile textbookFor the past two years, I have been exploring ways to make educational materials accessible to students on mobile phones. In my online courses, for example, I have moved away from Blackboard, which is not well designed for mobile users. Much of my course content now lives instead on websites I have built with Weebly or Google Sites. These platforms provide responsive templates that work well for students on any size screen. While grades, administrative announcements, and discussions still take place on Blackboard (which is institutionally mandated and required for FERPA compliance), the majority of the text, audio, and video content for the courses is now housed on fully responsive sites outside of the LMS. Students can access the course materials from their phones at any time, without needing to log in to the cumbersome LMS system. More than half of my students now report that they do most of their course reading on their phones. [Read more…]

How I met my first textbook acquisitions editor

Math for Health Care ProfessionalsI was introduced to my first acquisitions editor through the recommendation of a colleague.

At the time, our state had added a new course in infection control to our curriculum and none of the instructors had been able to send an acceptable book that included the necessary content for teaching infection control to health care providers. Since I had some experience in this area, I compiled my notes and handouts into a self-published 48-page booklet, which I provided to my students at no cost. A colleague at another college asked if I would make this booklet available for his classes, so I contracted with a local printer to produce the booklets and sold them to the college bookstore. [Read more…]

Q&A: Advice for prospective textbook authors

TextbooksQ: I have an idea for a textbook and I hope to put a proposal together soon and start looking for a publisher. Can you share any advice as I begin this process?

Mike Kennamer, TAA Vice President: “My suggestion for starting to look for a publisher is to first look at companies who publish in your field. I’d recommend that you review their websites and determine which one (or two) seem to be the best fit for your title. Many publishers provide information for prospective authors online, including what they look for in the proposal. Generally, they will want to see two chapters, a detailed table of contents, list of features, and information about who will use the book, the size of the market, and competing titles. If you are unable to find author information online you might consider contacting a sales rep and ask them to put you in touch with someone who does acquisitions for the company. Becoming a textbook reviewer is also a good way to form a relationship with a publisher. [Read more…]

To Do: Register for TAA’s June Conference

It’s time to make your travel reservations and check your conference planning off your To Do list! Register today for TAA’s 30th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference.

TAA’s Conference will be held on June 9-10, 2017 at the beautiful Renaissance Providence Downtown Hotel, a 4-Star luxury hotel located in the heart of Providence, Rhode Island. The recently renovated boutique hotel is housed in a historic 1920’s era building, providing a one-of-a-kind backdrop for a memorable conference and visit! TAA’s discounted room block fills up fast; make your reservations soon to guarantee the group room rate. [Read more…]

How reporting royalty income affects taxes for authors

Taxes for authorsIt is well established that an author who is engaged in the business of writing for income should report royalty income on Schedule C, not Schedule E. But what about a retired author who no longer is writing but still receives royalties from previous work? Should retired authors report royalty income on Schedule C or E? Or, should a sole-proprietor S corporation that reports royalty income as corporation profits and author wages be used? Each reporting method has tax consequences and legal issues.

TAA member and veteran textbook author Phil Tate conducted extensive research to answer these questions and has compiled that research into a document entitled, “How Reporting Royalty Income Affects Taxes,” which he is sharing with TAA members. Click here to login and view. Phil also shares his non-expert, non-legal opinion to help you decide how to report your royalty income.

Download a sample of TAA’s newest book, ‘Writing and Developing Your College Textbook’

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 and Developing Your College Textbook, will guide you through the nuts and bolts of the textbook development process, and provide 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.

Subscribe to our email list and we’ll send you a 17-page sample of the book.  [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…]

Q&A: How to write for student learning vs. faculty content

Q&AThe following Q&A is based on a TAA webinar presentation by Michael Greer, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Development by Design, entitled, “Bringing Textbooks to Life: Strategies for Improving Student Engagement”.

Q: Laura Frost, Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Whitaker Center for STEM Education at Florida Gulf Coast University:

“One of the problems with producing a textbook that helps the student learn is that the faculty member is the person who is selecting the textbook and the publishers know this. Do you have any suggestions for authors who are interested in writing for student learning vs. faculty content?” [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…]

Nominate your book for a 2017 TAA Textbook Award

Textbook Award logosGain recognition with your fellow authors and within the textbook publishing industry by nominating your textbook for a 2017 TAA Textbook Award now through November 1, 2016.

The Textbook Excellence Award recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials. The McGuffey Longevity Award recognizes textbooks and learning materials whose excellence has been demonstrated over time.  The Most Promising New Textbook Award recognizes excellence in 1st edition textbooks and learning materials. [Read more…]