Member Spotlight: Melissa A. Paquin

Melissa A. PaquinTAA member Melissa A. Paquin is a PhD candidate and is an academic author in the biology, genetics, health sciences, and nursing disciplines.

Her most recent publication is an article titled, “Breast Cancer Risk Prediction Models: Challenges in Clinical Application”. [Read more…]

13 ways to promote and market your book on a budget

online marketingIn today’s publishing environment, author involvement in the promotion and marketing of a book is critical to the success of a title. This June, John Bond, Riverwinds Consulting; Kathleen Reid, VP and Commerical Lender for Medical Learning, Elsevier; and Diane Harnish, Head of Primal Pictures, Global Director of Academic and Government Markets, Informa Group shared their combined marketing experience with authors who are both budget-conscious and market-minded.  

These experienced marketing professionals from academic publishers focused on low to no cost ideas for how authors can become a partner in the marketing efforts of the publisher. After all, who knows the book better than the author? Below are some highlights from the 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference session, “Promoting and Marketing Your Book on a Budget”.  

Metadata elements  

Kathleen Reid suggests thinking about marketing while you are planning the manuscript. She said, “Want to be successful in your book marketing? Think about metadata (chapter titles, etc.) that will make your book discoverable by those who need it. Good metadata sells books!”  

Kathleen Reid

Social media  

Love it or hate it, in the modern market, you need to get connected and post on social media. Again, Reid suggests that the best marketing starts before the book is released. “Use social media to talk about the fact that you’re writing a book, find reviewers, and build demand along the journey of developing the manuscript.”, she said.  

Academic sharing sites  

Get involved on academic sharing sites, like Academia, Google Scholar, and ResearchGate, as a contributor and don’t be modest in your profiles. By listing your expertise and experience as part of an active profile, you serve to develop your personal brand, and in turn, your book brand. Reid also suggests getting a ORCID to further connect you to your work. Bond added, “Everyone should have profiles at all of these pages…because the more Google can connect you through these sites, the greater advantage you can get through search engine results.”

Author website  

With the idea that a personal author brand helps promote a brand for your books, when creating an author website, consider creating a simple website that is about you, not your books. For an example, consider the information shared on BooksByJohnBond.com. Reid says, “List and discuss all your work and interests.” This lets readers understand your full experience and qualifications for the books you write. From there you can, and should, link to publisher pages to promote your books directly.  

Discussions and listservs  

Participate in discussions on listservs in your discipline as a contributor. When participating, focus on the topics on the listserv or discussion and what you have to offer to the conversation, not how you can pitch your book. The goal is to develop a reputation that is respected and, once established, makes it more appropriate and acceptable to offer your book as a solution when related to an expressed need or concern by other members.  

Personal branding  

Reid reminded us that in academic publishing environments, who wrote the book is often a more significant factor than the quality of the book itself. “Your expertise is what gives you the credibility to write the book.” When working on your personal brand, talk about what you have done (research and work) to earn that credibility.  

Your existing network  

Leverage your existing network of colleagues and friends to review and promote your work. This is easier said than done for many people, so if you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to your network for help, Reid said, “Give those names to your publisher and let them reach out on your behalf.” Be proactive though. You can’t assume your publisher knows the people you know and is contacting them already.  

Diane Harnish

Marketing plan  

Remember that these tips are intended to help you as the author become an active partner with your publisher to market your book. Diane M. Harnish advises that you “build a marketing plan with your publisher.” One way to do that, she adds, “is to complete the publisher’s marketing profile. Keep them updated on your activities.”  

Testimonials and endorsements  

Another way to support the marketing plan and message is with the support of others. Harnish encourages authors to share the testimonials and endorsements. “Post them to your website and provide them to the publisher. Your publisher can then amplify the message through their marketing channels.”, she said.  

Ask for favors  

But what if you don’t have those testimonials and endorsement readily available? What if you need reviewers or other help to enhance your marketing efforts? Chances are, you are one of those people who would do other people a favor, if asked. Therefore, Harnish said, “Get over the asking part when you need a favor. Don’t be modest or shy. Ask!” You can’t get what you don’t ask for, so ask.  

Create ancillary materials  

There’s a hard truth in today’s academic publishing environment, “the book is not enough.” Nearly every textbook is packaged with supplemental or ancillary materials. As the author, to improve the marketability of the book, you should be willing to create ancillary materials that build a package for the book to bring it to market.  

Prepare videos  

In an environment that is growing increasingly digital, Harnish advises that you prepare short 2-minute videos to help support your marketing efforts. These videos can be used to share why you wrote the book, what it’s about, how to use it in class or practice, and more. She said, “Today’s students will get to know you through video more than any other marketing material your publisher uses.”  

Create live event opportunities  

Create live event opportunities (symposiums, author days on campus, etc.) about the topic of your book – not book signings. Harnish also advised asking your publishers about their sales conferences. She said that these events allow you to “impart your wisdom to the sales team directly.” As a result, “they’ll never forget who you are!”  

See the full presentation recording and the other 2019 TAA Conference session recordings in our presentations on demand library.


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.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 11, 2019

“I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” – Robert Louis StevensonThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes such topics as the user-centric future of academic research software, crowd-funding research projects, writing the thesis from the middle, evaluative focus groups, citations of friends and reviewers, and roadblocks to better open access models.

We close the collection with a book review of two new guides to academic life and a new approach to keeping up with academic publications – knowledge mapping.

Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.” As you work this week, may you continue to grow through what you read in a way that lets you produce more from what you write. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Welcome new members to TAA: September 2019

Welcome to TAAWith membership in TAA, you are not alone. You become part of a diverse community of textbook and academic authors with similar interests and goals. We are pleased to announce the addition of 34 new TAA members who joined us in September 2019.  [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 4, 2019

“Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” – Stephen KingThis week’s collection of posts from around the web is full of advice on a variety of topics of interest for academic and textbook authors. Topics include: creative thinking, co-writing, starting a PhD, starting a research network, dissemination of research, research feature creep, dissertation committee service, open access ethics, research data sharing, and academic book reviews.

As varied as this topic list may seem, collectively it represents some of the many questions and challenges faced by academic authors daily. Stephen King once said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” The same is true for your answers to these questions and challenges. If it doesn’t naturally fit your academic pursuits, it’s not the right path for this stage of your academic career. This week focus on the words that fit best for where you are in the process. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 27, 2019

“I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” ~Isabel AllendeIsabel Allende once said, “I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” In reflection on this quote, TAA member Caroline Eisner commented on our LinkedIn page, “Allende seems a strong proponent of the idea that writing needs to communicate something TO SOMEONE, a strong appeal to writing with audience awareness. As if, without that awareness, literature doesn’t exist? Just thinking out loud here.”

This week’s collection of articles addresses similar thought, with focus on what publications matter at what stages of your career; the idea that writing is more than technical skill, but rather a capacity to apply knowledge; and the ability to use our skills as examples to others through mentoring or models. As more colleges try classes without textbooks, discussed in our final article, it’s right to consider whether literature is an end in itself or just a way of communicating something.

As you write this week, consider your audience and your form of writing. Are they aligned and do they communicate the ideas you intend to share with those for whom they are intended? Happy writing! [Read more…]

What makes for a quality peer review? TAA members’ perspectives

Peer Review Week 2019: Quality in peer reviewIn preparation for this week’s Peer Review Week theme of “Quality in Peer Review”, I decided to reach out to several members of our TAA community for insight into the peer review process from either the author’s perspective, reviewer’s perspective, or both.

Regardless of the perspective, I asked for the answer to a single question, “What makes for a quality peer review process?” Eight TAA members share their insights: [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 20, 2019

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” – Ernest HemingwayThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is laden with questions. How do I approach an inter-disciplinary thesis? I’ve passed my comps – now what? How do I plan my first draft and get the right stuff in the right order? What are the ethical issues of working with literature? How can I be a good peer reviewer? How do we support research engagement? How can I deal with the growing complexities of international collaboration? And the theme across Peer Review Week 2019, how many ways can you define quality in peer review?

Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” As we come to the close of Peer Review Week 2019 it is fitting to remember that our peers are apprentices as well in this craft. None of us have all of the answers to the questions above or the countless others that face us as academic writers. We learn from each other and grow stronger in our writing and disciplines as a result. This week, embrace your apprenticeship status and Happy Writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 13, 2019

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora RobertsNora Roberts once said, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” As we prepare for Peer Review Week 2019 next week, we find in our collection of articles from around the web others looking ahead to the event and many other items for consideration in the world of academic writing.

Our list includes advice on what to do in between submission and examination of your thesis, methods for work-life balance, holistic approaches to teaching and mentoring researchers, gamification of academic writing, ethics in data science, pathways to open access, and the art and science of image description.

No matter where your textbook and academic writing efforts take you this week, be sure to start somewhere. After all, you can’t fix a blank page. Happy writing! [Read more…]

10 Classic and contemporary textbook features you may not be thinking about…but should

highlighted textbookDuring his 2019 TAA Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Textbook Features You May Not Be Thinking About… But Should!”, veteran textbook author Kevin Patton shared details about both classic – not “old” – and contemporary textbook features for consideration when designing a learning experience for your readers.

Starting with an exploration of the textbook as part of a learning experience for the student, Patton advised looking at the pain points, how they can be addressed, and what already works in the classroom. From there, it’s a matter of finding the right design elements to deliver the content in a meaningful way for the students using your book. Below are ten features for consideration. [Read more…]