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

“Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” – T.S. EliotT.S. Eliot once said, “Most editors are failed writers – but so are most writers.” The key to success, however, is to fail forward. This week’s collection of articles from around the web fittingly explores some of the ways academic authors can do just that.

We begin with an exploration of the “gap” between management scholarship and practice and the number of academic hours worked. We then consider ways to keep up with the literatures and simplify indexing and data sharing. Next, we explore ways to deal with failure and to apply the lessons learned along the way. Finally, we examine ways to make money from writing books and reasons why librarians are concerned about GetFTR.

As you close out your academic semester and near the end of 2019, reflect on the successes and failures of the term and year past, but focus on failing forward into the year ahead. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Publishing in 2019: Charting new waters

compass over waterDuring her 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Publishing in 2019: Charting New Waters”, intellectual property attorney, Brenda Ulrich identified some of the legal aspects facing authors who are publishing in 2019 and beyond.  

Whether working with a traditional publisher, self-publishing, or exploring open access options, contracts and copyright laws are still important. And as Ulrich notes, in many cases, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Below are some of the aspects for consideration as you continue your publishing journey. [Read more…]

Member Spotlight: Braja Das

Principles of Foundation Engineering, 9th Ed.Braja DasTAA member Braja Das is the Dean Emeritus, College of Engineering & Computer Science, CSU, Sacramento and is both a textbook and academic author in the engineering writing discipline.

He has authored/co-authored 16 text and academic reference books in the area of geotechnical (civil) engineering. His most recent publication is Principles of Foundation Engineering, 9th edition (Cengage), which was released in October 2017 with a 2019 copyright. For the first through eighth editions, he was the only author. The ninth edition has a co-author (N. Sivakugan, James Cook University, Australia). [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: December 6, 2019

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” - Philip RothPhilip Roth once said, “The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” Compared with the popular saying that references good intentions, from a writer’s perspective works-in-progress are certainly the physical remnants of our good, yet unfinished, intentions. But there are a lot of things competing with our time and making it difficult to finish those intended projects.

This week’s collection of articles seems to address some of those issues. For starters, there may be things you want to read that the full text may or may not be worth the time, or you may be managing a heavy teaching load, juggling multiple writing projects, or trying to select the right journal for your work. All well-intentioned, but perhaps resulting in works-in-progress on the highway to hell. Other good intentions in our industry come with their own potential problems or unintended consequences. Some of these are also addressed below, including: giving feedback on academic writing, accepting people with disabilities, blogging efforts, faculty authoring, open access initiatives, and publishing industry mergers.

Whatever path your writing takes you this week, set your mindset and destination for better. Find ways to finish the projects you start, especially those with your best of intentions, and explore new ways to accomplish your writing goals. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Piracy is not a victimless crime: Protecting your work

security guardThere are some common myths about digital piracy. Stop me if you’ve heard any of these. Piracy is a victimless crime. Piracy doesn’t cannibalize legitimate sales. Fighting piracy is whack-a-mole. The pirates are always a step ahead. Sound familiar? The good news is they are myths. The bad news, however, is textbook piracy is real, and it’s a problem.  

During their 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Prevention, Detection, and Enforcement Against Digital Piracy of Copyrighted Scholarly and Pedagogical Works”, Henrik Strandberg and Maureen Garry with Pearson Education’s Intellectual Property Protection Program shared details on the nature and efficacy of detection, prevention and enforcement efforts authors have as protection against digital piracy, both individually, and as an industry. [Read more…]

Welcome new members to TAA: November 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 63 new TAA members who joined us in November 2019.  [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 29, 2019

“Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” – Ralph KeyesAs we come to the end of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019, many of our TAA members and community have found themselves committing to 30 days of intentional habit building to improve their writing practice. As Ralph Keyes noted, “Serious writers write, inspired or not. Over time they discover that routine is a better friend than inspiration.” Our collection of articles from around the web this week addresses some of the other things that affect authors beyond the simple habit of writing.

We start with a Q&A from this month’s SAGE MethodSpace webinar on collaborative writing and some insight on where it is (and where it is not) acceptable to ask for help on your writing projects. We continue with some PhD-related topics about the experience of a PhD program, ethics and the literature review, and planning for the post-PhD job search. We then explore the use of meta-text and graphic presentations to enhance research impact. Finally, we close with the current and future prospects of open access and the open access movement.

As you close out the month of November, and your AcWriMo writing commitments, hold on to the routines that you have developed along the way to maintain a successful writing practice year round. Happy writing! [Read more…]

The author’s life jacket: Surviving publishing mergers and acquisitions

man with life ringFor many veteran authors and publishing industry professionals, like TAA members Karen Morris and Steve Gillen, mergers and acquisitions are not new occurrences in academic publishing. However, in light of recent announcements, including the pending merger of industry leaders Cengage and McGraw-Hill, many authors are concerned about their own survival options.

In their 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Mergers and Acquisitions Among Publishers: Authors Need a Life Jacket”, Morris shared her experience as a survivor of mergers throughout her career and Gillen offered perspective on what a merger may mean to the individual author, what they can do to protect themselves, and what to do after the deal is announced. [Read more…]

Revising academic texts: Efficiency & style

KaizenKaizen – translated to mean a change for the good – is Erin McTigue’s word of the year and the guiding principle behind her 2019 TAA Conference Presentation, “Revising Academic Texts: Efficiency & Style”.

Delivering a dynamic and interactive session, McTigue shared useful strategies to improve the flow and readability of your writing efforts through effective revision. Below we summarize six of those techniques that you can apply to your current manuscript to make your own change for the good. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 22, 2019

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” – George SingletonContinuing the trend of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) articles, this week’s collection from around the web includes a lot of tips for academic writing. Specifically, this week we have found articles on productivity & happiness, creating better mentors, unsticking your writing, understanding research technology infrastructure, navigating the PhD defense process, and illustrating your research.

This week, we add the words of George Singleton to the advice as well, “Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.” Happy Writing! [Read more…]