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…]

Speaker spotlight: Wendy Laura Belcher to speak at TAA’s 2017 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference

Wendy Laura Belcher, an Associate Professor at Princeton University and author of the best-selling book, Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Writing Success, will be a featured speaker at TAA’s 30th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Providence, Rhode Island, June 9-10, 2017.

Belcher’s session, “Writing a Journal Article in 12 Weeks: Inspiration, Concepts, and Success,” will highlight key strategies for being a productive academic author and provide insight and inspiration for you as authors, educators, and writing mentors. [Read more…]

10 Disaster control guidelines for your textbook schedule

scheduleDrafting and production schedules are more important than one may think in the world textbook publishing. At the same time, deadlines can be burdensome for authors. Missing them is a principal cause of marketplace failure. An untimely textbook, finding no uncommitted customers by the time it reaches them, is doomed. Furthermore, postponement—pushing back a product another whole adoption cycle—is usually not a good option.

The best way to deal with schedules is to master them at the very beginning through realistic planning, starting with a drafting calendar. [Read more…]

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…]

5 Things to consider when negotiating your textbook contract audit clause

royalty auditOne of the most important provisions in your textbook publishing contract is the audit clause, which will specify the conditions for how and when you can request and conduct an audit. In the absence of an audit clause, some publishers will still comply with a request to audit, although they are not contractually required to do so.

While the large publishers have calculated and paid royalties to thousands of authors, contract terms can vary, automated royalty systems have limitations, and the accounting teams at publishers are made up of human beings who can make mistakes. If an author wants a better understanding as to the calculation and accuracy of his or her royalties, the best course of action is to request a royalty audit. [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…]

Changing educational publishing industry fraught with ‘disruptors’

5 Forces Affecting the Educational Publishing Industry

5 Forces Affecting the Educational Publishing Industry based on Michael Porter’s 5 Forces model.

In today’s fast-evolving e-publishing market, both publishers and authors must continually evaluate and reposition to retain relevance in the academic markets, said author, educator and digital book pioneer June Jamrich Parsons. “The traditional textbook publishing business model has been besieged by disruptors, such as MOOCs, used book dealers, consumer advocates, and content pirates,” she said.

In her 2016 TAA Conference session, “Digital Book Report 2016”, Parsons, co-author of the 2012 TAA McGuffey Award-winning textbook New Perspectives on Computer Concepts, outlined some of these trends and how they affect authors, instructors, and students. [Read more…]