Why You Shouldn’t Publish a Custom Textbook (And Why You Should)

By Sierra Pawlak

In her 2023 TAA webinar, “Is Custom Textbook Publishing Right for You?” Rebecca Paynter describes the journey of creating a custom textbook. Paynter is the associate director of the editorial team at the University of Arizona Global Campus, or UAGC. UAGC hosts online courses that are five weeks long, “which is not a lot of time for students to read a traditional textbook in full,” says Paynter. Because of this, her department creates custom textbooks for many of these courses, with the help of “faculty and other subject matter experts to better meet student needs… and potentially [create] books that can meet unmet needs out in the broader market,” she says.

Launching a Consulting Business Part 2: Promoting Yourself

By Sierra Pawlak

In his 2023 TAA webinar,  “How to Leverage a Textbook or Academic Book to Launch a Consulting Career,” Bill Curry, a public procurement consultant and textbook author, details important steps you can take to promote yourself and your work, including creating your website, expanding your presence on LinkedIn, and writing your author page on Amazon and your publisher’s website. For resources on starting a new consulting business, read part one of this series here.

“I recommend that you not rely solely on your publisher’s marketing and sales efforts,” says Curry. “You will likely need to market your books and your consulting services yourself.”

4/9 TAA Webinar on Artificial Intelligence

AI is impacting many areas of higher education, and textbook and academic authors want to know more. Caitlin O’Brien, an expert in this ever-changing field, will provide an overview of AI, its capabilities and limitations, and what authors need to know to use these tools safely and ethically.

Join us Tuesday, April 9 from 3-4 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Artificial Intelligence 101 – Basics for Textbook and Academic Authors,” presented by Caitlin O’Brien, Director of Permissions for XanEdu Publishing.

Launching a Consulting Business? Here’s What You Should Know

By Sierra Pawlak

Launching a consulting business can be a daunting task, but in his September 2023 TAA webinar,  How to Leverage a Textbook or Academic Book to Launch a Consulting Career, textbook author and Public Procurement Consultant Bill Curry shared tips on how to make the process as smooth as possible.

In his presentation, Curry detailed how to set up your consulting business, what to include on your website, and how to use your textbook to promote your consulting services. Part one of this two-part series will cover the initial setup for your new consulting business.

Considering Writing a Textbook? Questions to Ask

By Sierra Pawlak

In her November 9, 2022, TAA webinar, “Textbook Authoring Inspirations, Insights, and Innovations”, award-winning textbook author Jamie Pope shared several questions you should ask yourself before writing a textbook. Those questions include:

  • What’s the book’s primary focus and level?
  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What are your qualifications to author the book?
  • How does it differ from other books on the market?
  • Why would someone adopt it over your competitors?

She used these questions to contrast what went right with her successful textbook, Nutrition for a Changing World, the recipient of a 2020 TAA Textbook Excellence Award, and what went wrong with a creative trade book proposal that was never published.

Majority of Members Surveyed Report Using Generative AI To Make Writing Process More Efficient

TAA surveyed 1,900 members between September 24 and October 8, 2023 to determine how they’re utilizing Generative AI in authoring and promoting their textbooks, academic articles, and books, and to share that information with other members who have yet to begin using it. Just over 54% of respondents reported being primarily academic authors and almost 46% reported being primarily textbook authors.

Of the 82 members that responded to the survey, 40 percent said they have used generative AI. Of that 40 percent, almost half said they’re using it to make their writing process more efficient, including helping them brainstorm, generate titles, summarize articles, generate discussion and reading questions for teaching, and altogether reduce time spent on early tasks in the writing process. Multiple respondents stated that AI helps them write emails, with one member saying, “it helps me move faster on functional writing… so I can concentrate my creative energy on writing that matters.”