2018 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 1): Deciding to write and getting the interest of a publisher

2017 TAA Textbook AwardsWe recently reached out to winners of the 2018 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about how they made the decision to write their textbook, how they interested a publisher, what they do to boost their writing confidence, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This first installment of the four-part series focuses on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got the interest of a publisher. [Read more…]

Students lead the march toward mobile: Three strategies for adapting and responding

Mobile textbookIt is becoming increasingly clear that students want and need to use mobile devices as a supplement to their print and e-textbooks and LMS course platforms. In fact, many students prefer reading on mobile. Students are leading the market to mobile, and publishers are following. Some authors are working to adapt existing materials to the mobile platform, but in many cases the publisher adapts the material with little or no author input. Authors have a vested interest in keeping up with this transition in terms of the technology opportunities, content quality control, and enhanced marketability of their works. [Read more…]

Timesaving tech tip: Customize and create styles for consistent, instant document formatting

I’ve got my own writing style. I’m sure you do too. Regardless, you likely have editors, publishers, and/or teachers who insist on specific style requirements that can be quite tedious and time-consuming to apply on a document by document basis.

Timesaving tip: Customize and create styles for consistent and instant formatting. [Read more…]

Q&A: How can I get started working on textbooks?

Woman writing and working on laptopIn a recent post to the TAA LinkedIn group, Dr. Anna Bucy, a humanities instructor with over 20 years of teaching experience, asked the question, “How can I get started working on textbooks?” A simple question to which several group members shared their professional advice.

Professional editor of textbooks and scholarly articles, Ann Greenberger: “Are you thinking of elementary-high school textbooks, or college? If college, then you might look on LinkedIn for college textbook publishers and acquisitions editors in your field (education). Sometimes they need content specialists to write or edit supplements such as testbanks or instructors manuals. That is just one route to go, but would get you started.” [Read more…]

Tech Tip: Managing academic reference sources in Microsoft Word

Students in libraryAlthough a number of software tools are now available for managing citations and references for research papers and journal articles, I have found that using the tools built into the latest versions of Microsoft Word provide a single tool for document creation and reference source management. The reference features of Word support a variety of manuscript styles, allow for quick and accurate citations, automate the development of bibliography or works cited pages, and support the reuse of sources across multiple documents with ease.

In this article, I will discuss the basic steps for implementing the tools to manage your academic reference sources in Microsoft Word. [Read more…]

Tech Tip: Use polling software to incorporate audience participation into your next presentation

Eric SchmiederIf you’re like me, you often give presentations to a class or conference audience and leave wondering things like “Did they get it?” or “What questions were left unanswered?”

My Solution: Incorporate Poll Everywhere into the presentation and know for sure!

Poll Everywhere works with PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides from Windows or Mac computers to add interactive polling to your presentations. [Read more…]

Productivity tips for authors ‘on the go’

Q: As a “pro on the go” what do you do to ensure you can stay productiveEric Schmieder

A: Eric J. Schmieder, author, presenter, and computer technology instructor:

“As a corporate trainer and adjunct instructor, I am always on the road and find myself relying more on my mobile device to stay connected, stay productive, and better prepare me to get things done when I do find a place to land with my laptop. I find it important to arm myself with the best tools to keep moving on my long-term projects.” [Read more…]

Tip of the trade: The role writing environment plays in productivity

Q: What roles do the writing work space and environment play in productivity?

writingA: Noelle Sterne, author, editor and writing consultant:

“As an academic and mainstream writer and editor, I firmly believe that one’s writing work space and work environment tremendously influence productivity. To discover your best writing environment requires self-analysis and candid (if uncomfortable) answers to several important questions:

1) What is your optimal time for a work session? An hour, three, fifteen minutes? My optimal session is about an hour and a half. But sometimes my brain bubbles like a hot spring, and I can work for three hours straight without hearing my stomach growl. [Read more…]

Register your own copyright: When, why, and how?

Zick and Brenda

Zick Rubin and Brenda Marshall Ulrich, copyright attorneys, Rubin & Ulrich, LLC.

As textbook and academic authors, your copyrights are your livelihood, and the value of your copyrights is often enhanced by registering them in the U.S. Copyright Office – something that you can easily do for yourself.  Yet, as publishing and copyright attorneys, we find that many text and academic authors know less than they should about copyright registration.

Here’s our sample Q&A conversation with an author who wanted to know more about when, why, and how to register the author’s copyrights: [Read more…]

Tips of the Trade: What is the best way to handle pre-contract communication with a prospective publisher?

Contract ReviewTAA Member Kamalani Hurley from Leeward Community College asks: “What is normal in the timeline between an acquisitions editor expressing interest in publishing my material and the written contract?”

Textbook author Mike Kennamer, who is director of Workforce Development at Northeast Alabama Community College, and Julia Kostova, an acquisitions editor at Oxford University Press, share their advice: [Read more…]