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Textbook and academic discussions – keep them going

If you were at the 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM last weekend, you know the excitement and passion this group of authors shared throughout each session and networking opportunity. For the nearly 100 participants in the roundtable discussions held Saturday afternoon, there was much to talk about and some incredible ideas shared in the groups. Many participants expressed an interest in continuing these conversations beyond the conference. To this end, we have used the roundtable discussion topics to start eight threads in our LinkedIn group for just that reason.

If you were in attendance, we’d love for you to get the conversation started by sharing notes from the session with our LinkedIn group. If you weren’t able to attend (or were participating in another roundtable at the time), please share your insight, ideas, and questions in any or all of the discussions linked below. The roundtables just got bigger! Welcome to the table!

Challenges and Successes of Bringing On a Co-Author

Are you and a colleague thinking of writing a book together? Are you a textbook author and considering working with a second author on your next edition? Or are you contemplating retirement as an author at some point, but want to see your textbook continue to stay current?

The successful authoring team of Frank M. Carrano and Tim Henry hosted a roundtable discussion about their experiences. These authors have been effective in tackling many of the challenges in the co-authoring process, such as finding the right co-author and allocating each author’s responsibilities on the edition. Once the process begins, new difficulties may arise like determining a strategy to use when writing, reviewing each other’s work, handling disagreements, and deciding royalty percentages.

Each of them presented a short description of their experiences and then addressed questions from the group around the table.

Exploring Creative Writing Strategies to Boost Your Academic Writing

Creative writing strategies can help you generate fresh connections and ideas for new meaningful content, bring voice to your writing, and move academic writing from the formulaic to writing that is more personally meaningful, expressive and insightful. Allowing ourselves to take risks, be more playful, and open to the serendipitous leads to refreshing insights that spring forth from our whole self.

In the roundtable Dannelle Stevens shared a repertoire of creative strategies to offer you something to do when you feel disengaged with your topic, or when you don’t know where to go next. Why not try a new approach?

Indexes in Digital Publications

Nonfiction publishing, like publishing in general, continues to venture into digital product lines. If your print book is already digital, or is going digital, will users still be able to use the index to locate information quickly and efficiently? What is the current state of the digital revolution in publishing and what does this mean for nonfiction books? User tools: “search” vs. Amazon X-Ray vs. the index. What makes an index different? What is the current state of digital indexes? What are the production workflows, and how does index creation fit in? Hyperlinked vs. embedded indexes: what’s the difference? Some (potentially embarrassing) questions to ask your publisher about digital indexes, and why there’s no excuse for not having an index in your digital book. Nonfiction publishing: mired in the past, or poised for the future? Can digital indexes help move textbook and academic publishing forward?

All of these questions were part of the roundtable discussion led by Steve Ingle.

Maximizing Writing Productivity: Perspectives from an Author and an Editor

The purpose of this presentation was to share strategies for boosting writing productivity from two different, but connected, perspectives: author and editor. First, an academic author who has journeyed from graduate student to tenured full professor will share strategies for writing productivity and for dealing with editors through the years. The author’s advice for boosting writing productivity is directed to novice writers going into the world of academe; second, to early-career academics seeking tenure; and finally, to associate/full professors with tenure who mentor new generations of scholars.

Second, based on her experiences editing journals, books, and dissertations, a seasoned editor focused on a key piece of advice for maximizing writing productivity: the process of conceptualizing/framing one’s writing project from inception to submission. Framing, or conceptualizing, is an iterative process that enables one to develop a project from a holistic focus, seeing the big picture, before and during the writing process. Framing promotes clarity and flow, helping an editor easily find the argument, key points, and internal consistencies in a written piece.

Hosted by JoAnn Danelo Barbour and Claudia Sanchez! What is your perspective – author or editor – and what advice can you share?

Not for the Faint of Heart: The Art of Truly Understanding Your Royalty Statement

Royalty auditor and former royalties manager at a major higher education publisher, Rich Wessler, led this workshop that dove into actual royalty statements and showed authors how to read them.

Not all statements are the same, but most should contain certain basic information. This was an interactive discussion where authors walked away armed with more tools to read their statements and feel comfortable when their checks come in the mail.

Team creation: How to Mentor Multiple Students in Academic Writing

Today’s faculty often feel overwhelmed with managing the many diverse demands of their jobs, including mentoring graduate students with their writing. Although mentorship can pay dividends in terms of writing, research productivity, and morale; mentoring students often requires individualized guidance — and one-on-one mentorship can be nearly infeasible.

How can faculty streamline their mentorship processes? We propose harnessing the power of collaboration, by creating writing teams of graduate students and faculty.

In this interactive session, three members of a successful team, each bearing unique roles, shared their experiences regarding the benefits and challenges of participating in a collaborative space. They shared specific vignettes to illustrate key challenges and these will provide impetus for group discussion focused on solutions. They concluded by sharing ideas for maintaining a virtual, collaborative writing space, as members change institutions.

This discussion was facilitated by the collaborative team of Erin McTigue, Tracey Hodges, and Sharon Matthews.

Twenty-One and a Half Ways to Promote a Textbook at No or Low Cost

In 2018, the promotion of a textbook or monograph can rest equally on the author’s shoulders as on the publisher’s. Marketing and promotion, however, does not have to be expensive.

Publishing consultant John Bond presented twenty-one and a half ways authors can promote their textbook, whether newly released or already on the market. Facebook groups postings, conference presentations, academic social media sites, curriculum roundtables, online Q&A sessions, simple videos, listservs, and other ideas will help authors get started on promoting their books.

Done in concert with a publisher or on their own, efforts by the author can have the greatest impact on sales because the information is coming from a peer. The session concluded with audience ideas that have been successful for them or unique ones that caught their attention. Authors spend countless hours ensuring the quality of their work. Promoting a book can be as important of a task.

What ways do you have for promoting a textbook at no or low cost?

You Got This: Marketing Strategies to Build a Signature Platform

This roundtable discussion empowered the academicians in attendance with resources to discover their signature brand, and provided social media tips and Internet marketing strategies to engage students and build an audience to publish scholarly content inside and outside the classroom.

Facilitated by JoNataye Prather, the session goals were to equip educators with resources to develop a marketing mindset. Participants got branding tools and discovered social media secrets to attract followers and build an audience. They also gained awareness of Internet marketing techniques to engage students and deliver their message to the masses. Finally, they got technology tips to automate, produce creative materials, stay organized and deliver consistent content to build their platform.

What are your marketing strategies to build an author platform?