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11 Takeaways from #2015TAA that you can apply to your own writing

It’s hard to narrow down one great takeaway from a conference that is jam-packed with great content. We’ve all been to a conference where only a few of the sessions were really great, but—and I’m not biased at all—at the 2015 Textbook and Academic Authoring Conference, every single session was great! But don’t just take my word for it. All eleven of the attendees I asked to give their number one takeaway said it was hard to give just one. Luckily, however, each was able to narrow it down and give really solid advice learned. I think you’ll not only enjoy these takeaways, but also, be able to learn and apply them to your own writing.

  1. “Laura Frost asked when using a graphic if it was appropriate, and if it wasn’t, how would you improve it, and why did you decide? It seems logical to learn as Laura said that, ‘people learn better from words and pictures than words alone.’  But the natural flow of writing (for me at least) does not include something popping into my head saying this would be a great place for a graph, example, or picture. Laura taught me to think about what to use, why to use it, where to use it, and how to use it.” –Dave Dillon
  2. “At this year’s TAA Conference the biggest takeaway I got was the importance of marketing yourself, your research and your service to the field. This idea was well modeled by the conference, which encouraged submitting Twitter feed ideas, but was reiterated through several presentations (like Meggin McIntosh’s on marketing and Dr. Walichowski’s on social media). I have thought about marketing myself but did not have the tools, rationale, or strategies to make this a reality. After the conference, I now feel prepared to begin taking steps toward getting my name, ideas, and contributions out to the general and professional public. The conference was so eye-opening for this!” –Tracey Hodges
  3. “My second favorite session was from Dr. King. But something she said just has stuck with me: ‘You are master of your own universe.’ I took this to mean that YOU decide what to write, where to publish, etc. I think when I turned 40 I stopped caring as much about what others thought of me. You kind of get comfortable in your skin. Fifty came with a realization that I don’t really have to do anything unless I want to. Dr. King kind of reiterated that sentiment for me, in regards to writing.” –S. Jeff Cold
  4. “There is a wealth of resources and established best practices for textbook authoring–especially in negotiating with publishers. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel!” –Sasha Vodnik
  5. “I think one piece that was worth the price of admission was learning about HootSuite, which will post my queued articles, blog posts, etc., so I can front load my writing and not feel overwhelmed by having to keep up on the social media front while I’m working on other projects. I’ve already started exploring their web site.” –Cynthia Glenn
  6. “Being a textbook author is a bit obscure, and it isn’t everyday that I meet one. As a first-time conference attendee, meeting other textbook authors was what I most looked forward to. I was able to talk to at least a dozen or more of my compatriots, and although the conversations were brief, they left me with a feeling of empowerment.” –Susan Berston
  7. “The more resistance you feel, the more important the work is to the world.” –Dominique Chlup
  8. “The TAA conference is an excellent way to keep up on current issues in publishing, writing, and learning. There are many things textbook authors can learn from each other, we all face common problems!” –Laura Frost
  9. “Among other important values, a sense of perspective that writing for publication is a multifaceted undertaking, and that each facet demands full commitment—like anything else deeply loved in life!” –Sandra Shaw
  10. “Use an Excel spreadsheet as a way to organize a literature review.” –Silverenia Kanoyton Dykes
  11. “First, every seminar and roundtable discussion helped me to apply the practicality of my profession into action. Secondly, my take away from the conference is to plan, organize, and execute my path to success.” –Derrick Darden

Shout-out and thanks again to these members for giving such great takeaways!