Q&A: What to consider when recycling content from writing project to writing project

Q: “A general question: You are writing a book — in one chapter, you wish to include information that you have used in another book with another publisher. What is the rule of thumb — if there is one — about how much information can be used and/or the level of changes necessary?”

A: Jay Devore, Professor Emeritus, Department of Statistics, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo:

“I’ve been thinking about this issue because a colleague and I are thinking about collaborating on a business statistics book (introductory statistics for a business audience). I have written statistics books for engineers and also for a general audience — 4 in total, all published by Thomson. But Thomson (actually their subsidiary Southwestern) already has a full stable of business stat books, so may not be interested in publishing another one.

Q&A: Strategies for bringing your writing projects to completion, overcoming writer’s block, and managing your time

Q: “How do you bring your writing projects to completion? Do you write daily, in large blocks? What strategies do you use to overcome ‘writer’s block’? What have you done to improve your writing skills? How do you manage your time so that you find time for writing?”

A: Joan Carnosso RN, PhD(c), CCRN, Associate Professor, Nursing Department, Boise State University:

“I am new to authoring and writing for that matter. I am working on finishing my dissertation and it has been a struggle for me since I really never believed that I liked to write and I sure didn’t believe I was good at it. So I knew that I needed to do something to boost my confidence. I applied and got accepted to two workshops. One is Writing Across the Curriculum, and the other is the National Writing Project. Both of which take place in the summer.

Q&A: Should you create resource materials for a textbook to sell commercially?

Q: “Is permission needed from a publisher to develop resource materials for a textbook if those materials will be sold commercially or is it just necessary to have a disclaimer?”

A: Elsa Peterson, a freelance editor with 25 years of experience in the college textbook industry:

“I’ve done a fair amount of permissions editing over the years, which doesn’t equip me to give a comprehensive answer to your question, but I’ll give you my perspective. I think there are a couple of different points to address here.

Q&A: Is it acceptable to submit your proposal to multiple publishers?

Q: “When seeking a new publisher, do I only talk to one acquisitions editor at a time (wait for them to send my materials out for review and either other a contract or not) before sending material out to any other editor, or is it acceptable to send materials out to 2 or 3 at once?”

A: Richard Hull, Former TAA Executive Director:

“Self interest indicates you should send the proposal out to as many publishers as you can, trying to maximize your chances of getting an acceptance. But this may lead to other moral dilemmas: what if you get an early response, accept the offer, and just as you are about to close the deal you get another, better offer?

Q&A: How to penetrate the university textbook adoption process

Q: “I am a new author of a textbook on managing a construction firm. I have several adoptions by professors teaching construction courses at the college level, but I would like to penetrate the university market more. I have been making quiet contact through email to them. Is there a better way? I have attended an educators’ conference in construction and that has been a very good introduction to several people and plan to go back to their summer meeting.”

A: Myrna Bell Rochester:

“I am guessing that your book is with McGraw-Hill ‘Professional’ or ‘Trade’ (based in Chicago), and not with McGraw-Hill Higher Ed. (I write for both of them in a different field.) You are doing the right thing to make your book known, with your personal marketing and making contacts in your own area. Whereas the McGraw Higher Ed division has a very well developed marketing system, McGraw Professional doesn’t (to my knowledge) go to schools and universities to market individual titles.

Q&A: How to efficiently blend multiple writing drafts

Q: “I find that I am forever writing different versions of the same thing, leaving me with the problem of collating them, or blending them together. It also wastes time, of course, to duplicate effort like that. Can you share some ideas for a more efficient process?”

A: Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Holistic Education, Department of Special Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato: