President’s Message: Five major changes that altered the face of textbook publishing

Mike KennamerRecently I had a conversation with a friend about how textbook publishing has changed over the past several years. In our conversation, she recalled a time when publishing companies were small, specialized, and focused on a particular market. It was a time when publishers hired full-time employees which developed relationships with their authors, who they valued as experts in their fields. The author was consulted on anything from marketing to cover design and the publishing team listened to author opinions.

What changed? I submit that there are five major changes that combined, in the same way that one domino falling triggers another, have substantively changed the face of textbook publishing. The issue is far more complex than what I write here, but I see these changes as pivotally impacting the industry over the past few years. [Read more…]

7 Myths about habit formation…busted

At the 31st annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, TAA members Erin McTigue, Tracey Hodges, and Sharon Matthews presented a session titled, Moving from “Pesky” to “Productive”.

In this presentation they shared advice on developing a healthy, sustainable writing habit. To establish a growth mindset capable of accomplishing this goal, they acknowledged seven common myths about habit formation – and the reality of each.

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Reflections on seeking a publisher 2: A lengthy process

book publishingThe process of proposing and publishing takes a long time, so patience is important. I started the proposal process nine months ago, and there’s a chance I may be working on a new proposal soon. There are ways that I could have saved time in the process, but even if I had been maximally efficient, I would still have been looking at a process of several months.

In February, I sent my first proposal to an agent who specifically requested sole consideration, which was fine with me, given that part of why I was trying an agent was to avoid doing multiple proposals. (I will discuss the question of giving publisher sole consideration in a future post.) The agent’s website said if I hadn’t gotten a response within six weeks that I should assume that my proposal was rejected, so I waited (and avoided the difficult task of preparing another proposal).  When I hadn’t heard within five weeks, I started to work again, thinking about to whom to send my next proposal. [Read more…]

Understanding Creative Commons licensing

Whether you are publishing open access articles, working on open textbooks, or simply securing images for use in your manuscripts, chances are you will encounter the Creative Commons licensing model at some point.

Creative Commons (CC) licensing is a set of copyright options that allow for the retention of rights without maintaining the “all rights reserved” approach to traditional copyright protections. There are six forms of CC licenses, each with varying restrictions, and all requiring attribution to the original creator: CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, and CC BY-NC-ND. [Read more…]

Five ways to build publishing success

Academics should be publishing and publishing often! That’s the conventional wisdom especially for those hoping to achieve tenure. And while everyone agrees a substantial writing portfolio is essential to a successful academic career, there are surprisingly few resources that provide guidance on how you go about doing it. Ryan Blocker is the Program Manager for Campus Workshops at The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD). Through his regular work with faculty, he has compiled some concise recommendations for how to publish often and to ensure follow through on your writing projects.
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Smiley faces in your journal articles?

emojiLanguage has always been evolving. For better or worse, the formality of language has changed including embracing new words. Publishing, undoubtedly, has been changing. Too slow for some and too fast for others. I was wondering how emojis will start to creep into scholarly writing in the next five, ten, or twenty years. Sounds farfetched?

I am not a big emoji person. Maybe I will do a 🙂 every so often. I use this to ensure my meaning cannot be misconstrued. I progressed to the occasional thumbs up.  I know; radical.

The other day I scrolled through my iPhone 7’s emoji options for texting and was dumbfounded. [Read more…]

Finding the balance: Tailoring more time for writing by adjusting teaching practices

Finding short bits of time to write during the week is usually a challenge for busy faculty. Teaching expectations are often urgent and very important while writing time is important but, usually not urgent. Yet, by being more focused and intentional with our time, even our teaching time, we can tailor our teaching practice to be able to fit in much more writing time.

Here are four practices that we have honed over the years that have enabled us to carve significantly more time in our schedules to dedicate to our writing projects. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 1: Introduction

book publishingFor most of this past year, I have been seeking a publisher for my book for graduate students about using scholarly literature. As I write this, my proposal is scheduled to be discussed at a publication meeting a few days from now, and by the time this blog post gets published, I will either have a contract offer or another rejection.

In this and the following posts, I reflect on some of the issues that have come up in my process—issues that might be of interest to writers who are not yet experienced in proposing books to publishers. Those with more experience might view my reflections as naive (and if so, feel free to comment), but those with less experience might at least find comfort in someone else struggling with similar issues, even if they don’t find useful suggestions. [Read more…]

Cengage to offer new ‘Author Relations team’ starting in February 2019

Help DeskCengage announced this week that beginning in February 2019 authors will have the ability to contact a member of a newly created Author Relations team made up of “professionals with proven expertise in handling contracts, royalties and other issues that are top of mind for authors and for Cengage.”

The Author Relations team, said Cengage, will offer clear and regular communication with authors, and act as the main point of contact for questions and concerns related to contracts, royalties and/or other similar topics to ensure that author queries on these topics are addressed quickly and effectively. [Read more…]

Can I help you in any way? Learning objectives

Can I help you in any way? Learning objectives“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real” (as opposed to an automated bot). Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’ll highlight some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions.

In this post, we’re focused on a question about the importance of learning objectives when writing a textbook. [Read more…]