TAA’s 2020 Conference Academic 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.

Academic authors have a solid lineup of sessions in this year’s program including eight 60-minute sessions on topics including open access, strengthening your writing, and improving your productivity. A 90-minute double session on productivity tools for academics is also included in the Academic Track for 2020. A complete overview of the Academic Track sessions is below.

Friday, June 12, 2020 Academic Track offerings

Where Do You Get Stuck? Clean Up Your Writing Clutter

Presented by the PhD of Productivity, Meggin McIntosh, when attending this session, plan to invest in yourself and your writing productivity by learning ways to acknowledge and account for all the writing you have, regardless of the stage it’s in. You’ll learn to declutter your writing projects, thereby letting you know what you have, where to find it, and how to move it forward. Only then is your writing of use to you and those who benefit from what you write. You will walk away with actual folders where you’ve delineated your big and small writing projects. Going forward, instead of being derailed and frustrated by your writing clutter (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual) you’ll be able to focus on getting your writing done. Be prepared to laugh and learn (and be surprised!) in this session especially designed to help reduce your stress and increase your peaceful productivity around writing.

The Name Game: Crafting Compelling Titles for Your Academic Books and Articles

The title of your book or article may be the only part of your writing that most scholars will ever read. They will often use it alone to decide whether to read your work, cite your work, or even hire you, so it must be carefully crafted to entice. In this workshop, you will learn how to write compelling titles from the title-whisperer Wendy Laura Belcher, the award-winning author of the best-selling book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks. Bring your titles to be workshopped.

Support Strategies for Your Writing Journey

Emotions can propel our writing projects forward with inspiration, or stop us in our tracks. In fact, when as writers we procrastinate, avoid feedback, drop unfinished (but promising) projects, or hold onto finished work for too long, negative emotions often reinforce these decisions. Therefore, recognizing and promoting emotional support is key for successful writing. Academic writing, whether as an independent author or faculty member, is often a lonely business offering few built-in supports. In this interactive panel, based on lived experiences and research, Kristen Cvancara and Erin McTigue discuss practices in creating and sustaining writing communities to support the emotional aspect of writing, via traditional writing groups and in alternative formats. We consider ways to engage authors in conversations to better understand the emotional aspects of writing. Finally, transitioning from the group to the individual, we also discuss independent strategies, such as expressive writing, which can help manage negative emotions and nurture positive ones.

A Crash Course in Open Access

Danielle S. Apfelbaum, Senior Assistant Librarian at Farmingdale State College, received her Creative Commons Certification in October 2018. Although open access publishing has been around for years, misconceptions about what “open” is and what it means for authors’ works continue to persist. This session aims to demystify this multifaceted concept. By the end of this session, attendees will be able to describe and distinguish between common varieties of open access (green, gold, and platinum), understand how specific varieties of open access impact the dissemination of their work, and conceptualize the relationships between open access and peer review, copyright, and open licensing.

Writing Productivity Shouldn’t Be a Surprise: Think Through Your Summer Plan with Wisdom, Intention, and Truthfulness

How many summers have you had plans big plans for getting SO MUCH WRITING DONE? Probably since you were in graduate school. How many Septembers have arrived with you completing less than you hoped? Probably the same number. If you are tired of a cycle that ultimately ends in disappointment and self-recrimination, then this session is for you! Learn how to think through your summer — all aspects of it — so you can plot out your potential for prodigiousness with a plan that actually works. You’ll receive a template that you can use for this summer, as well as other seasons when academics need a wise, intentional, and truthful plan for their writing (December holidays, sabbatical, research leave, etc.). If you want to keep your “wits” about you this summer, i.e., your wisdom, intention, and truthfulness, attend this session with the PhD of Productivity, Meggin McIntosh, to learn how to plan thoughtfully and with integrity.

Saturday, June 13, 2020 Academic Track offerings

Concretizing the Abstract: The Power of Shorth and the Value of Length

And that’s why your books have such power and strength. You publish with shorth! (Shorth is better than length.) — Dr. Seuss.  In the genre of academic writing, only abstracts heed the good doctor’s advice. Realistically, to extract key findings, busy researchers may read only the abstract, therefore it must highlight your essential points. For those readers proceeding onward, the abstract provides an advance organizer that frames their interpretation of your work. So how do we construct abstracts that both inform and invite onward? In this interactive session, via comparing and contrasting abstracts across disciplines, Erin McTigue and Sharon Matthews will determine a) essential, b) recommended, and c) non-recommended features of abstracts. Next, through the lens of rhetorical moves, we will consider the underlying structure. Finally, tools, including templates and concrete steps, will be provided for efficiency of future abstract writing.

Strengthen Your Qualitative Research and Writing: Approach, Validity, and Saturation

Qualitative research allows authors to go beyond merely counting how often or to how many something occurs. Rather, it provides insights into how or why certain actions are taken or the ways in which people interpret their experiences. Yet, many researchers are hesitant to journey into qualitative research beyond a few open-ended survey questions, due to concerns about qualitative research lacking the rigor and validity of quantitative studies. In this workshop, taught by Julie Reeder, a Journal Editor who critiques a multitude of qualitative submissions each year, you will learn how to set a solid foundation for your qualitative work, why focus group should not be listed as your qualitative approach, the different meanings of saturation and how to know if you’ve reached it, and techniques for checking the validity of your work. Participants will leave the session knowing how to avoid the common pitfalls that lead to manuscript rejection.

Pitfalls to Avoid: Unload the Dead Weight in Your Academic Writing

In this hands-on session presented by Micki M. Caskey, you will explore ways to eliminate dead weight in your own academic writing.  First, you will engage in activities to identify common pitfalls — passive voice, nominalizations, and dead wood in selections of academic writing.  Then, in small groups, you will exchange ideas, practice eliminating the dead weight, and revive the writing selection. Finally, after sharing our collective knowledge, we anticipate feeling empowered and inspired to apply these ideas to enliven our own academic writing.

90 Minute Double Session Academic Track Topic: Productivity Tools for Academics

During this double session offering, attendees will hear from three presenters on tools to increase their productivity with streamlined data management and effective placement for their finished articles.

Session #1 – Streamline Your Data Management and Writing Productivity: Digital Citation Management System Tools

Making sure you include the breadth and depth of the work of others in your journal article submissions can be time consuming and frustrating. Many writers struggle with managing the large amount of resources involved in their projects. How do you manage all those resources? Do you have stacks of articles in your office? A file cabinet full of articles? Multiple electronic files of articles yet to be reviewed? In this session, two experienced academic writers — Julie Peterson Combs and Dannelle D. Stevens — will share two free, open-source tools (Zotero, Mendeley) for organizing collections of citations, journal articles, and papers and for effectively including the work of others in your manuscript. Participants will learn how to use these “personal assistant” productivity tools to collect, organize, cite, annotate, and share literature in one convenient place, accessible across platforms.

Session #2 – Manuscript Matchmaking: Free Tools for Placing Your Paper

In this second session, Danielle S. Apfelbaum brings her experience as a Scholarly Communication Librarian to help you find the right match for your papers in the sea of academic publishing options. Whether you’re looking to publish in a traditional journal or exploring open access options, finding the right home for your manuscript can be a daunting process. In this hands-on session, attendees will be introduced to two free tools for locating appropriate journals for their work: Scimago Journal & Country Rank and CiteScore. Using these resources, attendees will locate metrics for journals respected in their fields and utilize these metrics as a point of comparison for other publications. The presenters will also briefly touch on helpful subscription tools that may be available through attendees’ academic libraries. Attendees are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to this session.


For more information on the textbook 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.