Co-authoring & writing collaboration: Planning strategies for success

Writing a book or an article is a demanding process in the best of circumstances. We must balance a number of internal and external factors. We must figure out how to convey our insights and experiences, research and analysis, in writing. At the same time, we must interface with the external world: schedules and deadlines, editors and publishers, and ultimately with our readers. We add another set of factors when we work with co-authors. How can we navigate all of these dimensions in ways that allow us to collectively produce our best work? [Read more…]

Successfully building collaborative authoring relationships

collaborationDeveloping a collaborative relationship with other authors can be both rewarding and challenging. For many, writing is an individual effort, so how do you determine when it is beneficial to partner with one or more other authors on a manuscript? To learn more about the advantages of author collaboration, we sought the insight of several TAA members who have been successful in developing manuscripts with co-authors.

Q: What are some advantages of finding a collaborator?

A: Drew Curtis, co-author of Abnormal Psychology: Myths of ‘Crazy’“Collaboration offers numerous benefits, which is why most academic disciplines encourage it. [Read more…]

Who can I get to write that chapter?

Woman thinkingYou are all set. The approach to your topic is inspired. A firm table of contents has been finalized. Your book proposal is great. And you now have a contract with a respected publisher!

But, who is going to do all this writing? You have probably carved out specific chapters that you will write. You may have spoken with some colleagues that like the project and said they would be glad to help out. You have a list of likely people to write other key chapters, but you will need more contributors. How do you go about identifying and asking people to contribute to your book? [Read more…]

Q&A: How do you phase out a co-author?

Textbook PublishingQ: How do you phase out a coauthor who is now retired and with whom you have worked with for many years?

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, co-author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide:

“The best way to phase out a co-author is to bring in a new co-author and increase the proportion of a new content, but so long as the book has original content contributed by the original author, that coauthor has a legitimate (and legal) stake in the book. Publishing industry standards for textbooks call for a gradual reduction in the royalty split, reflecting the reduced contribution, proportionally, to revisions. [Read more…]

How to build effective collaboration

Collaboration puzzleAs a graduate student or early career academic you likely have a packed schedule. Trying to get published can be a daunting task, especially when you feel you have to do it alone. But maybe you don’t have to. If you can find the right person or persons to collaborate with, say doctoral students Tracey S. Hodges and Katherine Landau Wright, you are less likely to be stressed, and more likely to be productive and on the path to publishing success.

Hodges and Wright share the following advice for effective collaboration: [Read more…]

Collaboration: How to determine author order [Infographic]

Collaborating on a writing project can offer many advantages, but how do you determine in which order each author’s name should appear? Check out the infographic below to help you decide!
[Read more…]

How to establish author order when collaborating with multiple authors

collaborateWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s contribution, and thus author order. For example, Christine Beveridge and Suzanne Morris, the authors of the July 25, 2007 Nature article entitled “Order of merit,” recommend using a multi-criterion decision making approach, which involves the following steps: [Read more…]

How to find a co-author to help with the workload on a successful one-author textbook series

Data a Computer CommunicationsWilliamStallingsComputer science textbook author William Stallings, a 13-time winner of TAA’s Textbook Excellence Award, and five-time winner of TAA’s McGuffey Longevity Award, gives the following advice for someone trying to find a co-author to help with the workload on a successful one-author series:

“I have had four different coauthors on three different books and all the experiences have been largely positive. In every case, the coauthor was a professor who had taught a course using the then-current edition of the book. I think that is an essential prerequisite. This gives the professor insight into how students are reacting to the material and what needs to be changed to make it more attractive to students. As well, teaching from the book gives the professor insight into what needs to be changed to make his/her job easier and more effective. [Read more…]

How to determine author order when collaborating with multiple authors

Determining author orderWhen multiple authors collaborate to write a journal article, the task of determining authorship order inevitably arises. In some situations, the order may be obvious, but in many cases, it can be difficult to decide, and having a plan in place to establish author order can help the process go more smoothly.

Collaborating authors are usually listed in order of the relative size of each author’s contribution to the article, but sometimes it can be a challenge to gauge the size or importance of each author’s contributions. One way of facing this challenge is to take a mathematical approach to determining each author’s [Read more…]

Passing the torch: Selecting a successor to write future textbook editions

Writing TextbooksFinding a successor for your textbook(s) can be a daunting, arduous task. At TAA’s June 2013 conference veteran authors Robert Christopherson, Michael Sullivan, and Karen Morris presented a session sharing strategies for finding a successor and successfully transitioning the future editions of your texts.

The following is an overview of that presentation, highlighting ten tips to facilitate successor author transitions — “passing the torch.”

1) If you already have a successful coauthor arrangement, making the transition from the coauthor to your successor is a logical choice. Make sure all contract stipulations regarding succession are thoroughly discussed and agreed to before entering into the succession process.

2) Use your ancillary and lab manual, or test bank authors, as a proving ground for potential coauthors. The benefit of this strategy is that you already have vetted these authors both in terms of their writing and collaboration styles. [Read more…]