TAA’s 2020 Conference Textbook Track

2020 Textbook & Academic Authoring ConferenceEarly registration is now open for TAA’s 33rd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in San Diego, CA this June! This event is always an incredible opportunity to network with authors from a variety of disciplines and to learn about the latest trends, best practices, and industry changes.  

Textbook authors have a solid lineup of sessions in this year’s program including eight 60-minute sessions on topics including royalties, contract negotiation, and author branding. A 90-minute double session on accessibility is also included in the Textbook Track for 2020. A complete overview of the Textbook Track sessions is below.

Friday, June 12, 2020 Textbook Track offerings

5 Things Your Royalty Statements Don’t Tell You

Presented by Juli Saitz, Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group, the goal of this session is to help authors understand what information is provided by their publishers and help identify gaps in that information. This discussion will help authors be better informed so they know how to ask publishers more informed questions about adoptions, sales and royalties. The presenter will encourage Q&A and discussion.  

Copyright and Permissions Issues for the 21st Century Textbook Author

Intellectual property attorney and partner at Archstone Law Group PC, Brenda Ulrich, will share her perspective on this difficult topic. Many authors have piecemeal information about copyright law, and how it relates to both their own books and permissions issues for other people’s content, but less of a sense of how it all fits together. Especially as more authors are self-publishing or publishing through OER, you can’t always count on a publisher to steer you through the permissions process. Additionally, where many authors wear additional “instructor” hats, it is important to understand when and how you can use material in the classroom (both in person and virtual).  

The 2020 Textbook Report: The Empire Strikes Back

In her annual report to conference-goers, veteran textbook author, June Jamrich Parsons will share her perspective on the state of the industry. The educational publishing industry has been besieged by an armada of disruptors including used books, OER, piracy, lawsuits, unfavorable news, and bankruptcies. But publishers are gathering forces to strike back. What are their battle strategies, and how will these strategies affect authors? Join June in this session for an update on the status of the educational publishing industry. This overview of key industry events, publisher finances, and publishing trends is designed to help authors “feel the force” of their industry in order to navigate, negotiate, and nurture their writing careers.  

Textbook Revision: One Author’s Modus Operandi

Experienced author, Ken Saladin, writes three college textbooks with McGraw-Hill Education, each revised every three years. In this session, he’ll share his strategy for success. What’s involved in revising an established college textbook every three years? Is it just old wine in a new bottle, as many non-authors suspect? How daunting is it to aspiring authors not just to write a first edition, but to keep it fresh and up to date, revising every three years or so? Ken will describe his process in all stages including keeping up with the literature and planning a new edition, assimilating peer reviews and user suggestions, writing, length control, drafting art and guiding the illustrators, finding photos, designing new cover art, relations with the editorial and production team, proofreading, marketing, adapting to the digital market, and customer appreciation.  

Let’s Make a Deal: Negotiating Publishing Contracts

In this interactive session, participants will be invited to negotiate specific provisions in a typical textbook contract with presenter, Steve Gillen, an attorney with 40 years of experience negotiating book publishing contracts. Steve will provide a menu of common provisions and participants can pick which of them they’d like to tackle. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and why. Learn what questions to ask. (Get a leg up in advance by reading a copy of Steve’s book – Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts).

Saturday, June 13, 2020 Textbook Track offerings

Creating an Author Branding Platform: What, Why, and How To

All textbook, book, and monograph authors need a platform to help sell their idea to a publisher and their work to buyers and readers. Gone are the days that an author can ignore marketing. Publishing Consultant John Bond will explain what an Author Platform is and why you need one. He will discuss the importance of starting early and not waiting until after the book is written. Topics will include speaking engagements, social media, networking with your current contacts, working with your institution and professional association, and many more. Bring your ideas, questions, and an open mind.  

Digital Is Coming for Your Textbooks

Presented by Christopher Kenneally, Copyright Clearance Center’s Director of Relationship Marketing and host of CCC’s Beyond the Book podcast series, this presentation will review the latest developments in the creation, sourcing, and delivery of digital textbooks. In addition, it will examine the looming fight for control of usage data. Administrators, instructors, and students increasingly demand all-inclusive and unlimited access to online educational materials (think, Netflix for textbooks). In July 2019, Pearson announced it would end the longstanding practice among textbook publishers of revising all active titles every three years according to a printing schedule. Instead, the British-based education publisher will employ a digital-first discipline for its publishing program. As textbooks give way to courseware, textbook authors will be looking for an education in 21st century business models.  

What is Happening to Your Textbook?

TAA President, Laura Frost, is co-author of an introductory textbook in fourth edition and seeks to bring together published textbook authors to discuss shifting author roles related to the current trends in publishing during this session. Is your book continuing to be published on the so-called traditional three-year cycle? Are you being asked to work on digital content to accompany your textbook? If so, are you being paid for hire, or is this part of your current contract? Have your royalties changed? By sharing among authors, we may identify some publishing trends (or not) and establish what might be a reasonable work request from our publisher as they shift to more digital offerings. Come with answers and questions. Stronger together. All are welcome.

90 Minute Double Session Textbook Track Topic: Accessibility

During this double session offering, attendees will hear from four presenters on ways that they can make their educational content accessible to all students, and the opportunities and challenges such efforts present.  

Session #1 – Reach All Students: How Can We Make Our Educational Content Accessible to All?

First, Alyssa Harter, Assistant Professor at Umpqua Community College, Laura Jacobi, Associate Professor at Minnesota State University, and award-winning professor and textbook author, Kevin Patton, invite you to join a conversation about how textbooks might adapt to the varying needs of today’s students. In addition to vision and hearing challenges, students with autism spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others, have diagnosed needs that must be met in the learning environment. Beyond that, many students (e.g., older returning learners, single parents with young children, unhoused students, and English language learners) face obstacles that affect learning. Presenters will first briefly address accessibility concerns in textbooks, discussing how we might use our experiences as educators in the online and traditional classroom to find a way forward with textbooks. Then, we’ll step aside and engage everyone in a lively open discussion of an increasingly important issue in creating educational materials. Please come ready to share your own tools, practices, ideas, concerns, or questions!  

Session #2 – Accessibility Update: Opportunities and Challenges

In this second session, Robert Martinengo brings with him 20+ years of experience making textbooks accessible to students with disabilities to the discussion. Accessibility has been a hot topic for years, but are students with disabilities finally close to getting equal access to their educational materials as non-disabled students? In California, the Consumer Accessibility Information Label Association (CAILA) is promoting legislation to require publishers to provide accessibility information to students through a standardized label. The non-profit agency Benetech is offering a program called “Global Certified Accessibility” to educational publishers. VitalSource has begun placing an accessibility icon and information on selected product pages. On the international scene, the Marrakesh Treaty has been hailed as the solution to the “book famine” for people with disabilities.  

How do these developments affect authors, publishers, and students with disabilities? What opportunities are opening up, and what challenges still need to be addressed? This session will cover these topics and more to bring you the latest on accessibility from an accessibility industry veteran.


For more information on the academic and general track sessions or to register for the 2020 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, visit https://www.taaonline.net/taa-conference.  

TAA reserves the right to rearrange the schedule or cancel or replace any session as circumstances require.


Eric Schmieder

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.