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TAA’s 2020 Conference General Sessions Preview

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 and academic authors have four 60-minute general track sessions and one 90-minute double session on alternative publishing options including online course materials, supplements, and working with small publishers to choose from in addition to the offerings in academic or textbook specific tracks in this year’s program. A complete overview of the General Track sessions is below.

Friday, June 12, 2020 General Track offerings

Brand Beyond Borders: Making Your Name

How can you convey your unique expertise to new readers outside your home discipline? How can you build credibility with professionals, practitioners, policymakers or community members outside of academia? For some, institutional affiliations reinforce a positive reputation, but for others it is limiting. Freelance, independent, or non-academic writers have to make their own marks. Part self-reflection, part marketing, we’ll think about how to develop and communicate our brands. Janet Salmons will share thinking behind her brand, “free-range scholar,” and show other successful examples. By reaching beyond your home discipline, you are able to find new audiences for your work, and potentially new partners. At the same time, you have the chance to incorporate new perspectives or applications of your ideas into your writing.

Why Textbook & Academic Authors Should Be Podcasting. Right Now.

It’s the dawning of the age of podcasting. Sure, streaming and downloadable audio programs available from an internet feed have been around for a while. But all signs show that podcasts are poised to explode in the number and variety of people reached. Starting today. Actually, last week. But today will work, too. Why now? The earlier we start, the better we can establish our show before the big rush, work out the kinks, and build a following. And the sooner we’ll be a welcome voice in the ears of colleagues in our field and potential consumers of our academic works as they commute, walk their pets, or lounge on the patio after a hard day of teaching. Join Kevin Patton as he relates his podcasting experience, outlines many different benefits of podcasting, and gives you loads of practical tips for starting and running your own podcast. Right now.

Publishing Metrics: Understanding the Basics and Using Them to Your Advantage

Metrics has become a trendy word that is often glazed over or misunderstood. Journal and Book Publishing is no exception. Impact Factor, Altmetrics, h-index, Eigenfactor score, article views/downloads, copies sold, citations, and others need not be a foreign language. Publishing Consultant John Bond gives a simple, approachable explanation of the common basic metrics and then moves onto how to use them to your advantage. Mastering these metrics in a simple, defined way can help you target the best journal to submit your work to. They can help you create a more attractive book proposal and find the best publisher for your new textbook idea. You’ll receive a descriptive handout with examples so you can choose a couple and use these powerful tools to help with your publishing goals.

Saturday, June 13, 2020 General Track offerings

How to Use Mind Mapping to Make Yourself a More Productive Writer

Someone once asked William Faulkner if he wrote by inspiration or by habit. His reply? He wrote by inspiration, but, luckily it arrived at 9 am every morning. For writers who don’t have inspiration show up at their door so regularly, mind mapping is a simple technique that can help. Developed by a noted thinker of the 3rd century, mind mapping is a visually graphic way of thinking and planning. It’s fun, easy-to-do and best of all, it can banish writer’s block and make writing enjoyable again. The technique is particularly useful for academic writers who frequently become trapped by linear and logical ways of thinking. Mind mapping, in contrast, encourages creativity, out-of-the-box ideas and inspiration. Join Daphne Gray-Grant to learn how mind mapping can make you a more productive writer.

90 Minute Double Session General Track Topic: Alternative Publishing Options

During this double session offering, attendees will hear from two presenters on alternative publishing options like writing for online courses and authoring stand-alone supplements.

Session #1 – Stretching the Boundaries of Textbook Authoring: Writing for Online Courses

As digital instruction and instructional content proliferate, veteran textbook authors have increasing opportunities to author in other media. In this session Sasha Vodnik will share his experiences pitching, writing, and creating online training materials and review some of the similarities with traditional textbook authoring — including the writing process and royalty arrangements — and a few differences. Sasha will also explore the current terrain of online training, identifying the main companies and content delivery modes. By stretching the boundaries of textbook writing, you may find opportunities worth pursuing!

Session #2 – Think Small! How Authoring Stand-alone Supplements with Small Publishers Could Be Your Niche

The overall goal of this second session is to explore an attractive alternative to textbook authoring: writing stand-alone supplements and working with a small publisher. Paul A. Krieger will share how he was able to launch his author/illustrator career with Morton Publishing’s best-selling four-book series called The Visual Analogy Guides. (These books cover the fields of human anatomy, physiology, and chemistry.) The benefits of both working with a small publisher and working on stand-alone supplements will be explained. Is this niche market for you? Come and find out!

For more information on the textbook and academic track sessions or to register for the 2020 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, visit

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.