6 Benefits of authoring stand-alone textbook supplements

Authoring a textbook supplement can be an attractive alternative to authoring a traditional textbook, says Paul Krieger, author of a four-book Visual Analogy Guide supplement series with Morton Publishing. He shares six benefits to authoring stand-alone textbook supplements:

  1. Stand-alone supplements are optional, which leads to potentially more adoptions. Some instructors recommend them, others require them, and those recommendations lead to a lot of sales. He says he sees an additional 10 percent sell-through when his book is recommended rather than required.
  2. Costs are lower, which leads to more sales. His books sell for between $26 and $52 depending on the number of pages.
  3. The consumable nature of stand-alone supplements means no used book sales driving profits down. His supplements are three-hole drilled and shrink-wrapped.

How to use graphic design principles to evaluate the effectiveness of your book cover

All four books in textbook supplement author Paul Krieger’s Visual Analogy series showcase a visual analogy on the cover, a great advertisement for one of the key learning tools that make his books unique: visual analogies.

“My whole book idea was born in the lab from my teaching,” says Krieger, whose books include A Visual Guide to Human Anatomy, A Visual Analogy Guide to Physiology, A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Anatomy and Physiology, and A Visual Analogy Guide to Chemistry. “I used to sketch visual analogies out at my students’ lab tables, and it was students who encouraged me to write my first book 17 years ago. In the anatomy and physiology lab, students have to learn different anatomical structures. So, for example, when they need to learn the thoracic vertebra, I use a giraffe head to create a visual analogy that helps them learn and remember all of the parts of the thoracic vertebra, which is shaped like a giraffe head.”

Featured Member Paul Krieger – Working with small publishers, niche markets, and alternative publishing opportunities

Paul Krieger is an award-winning professor and the creator, author, and illustrator of Morton Publishing’s Visual Analogy Guide series. Due to the success of his first book on human anatomy in 2004 (now in its 5th edition), this unique book concept quickly evolved into a four-book series. He is Professor Emeritus of Biology at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan and also works as a scientific illustrator.

Here Paul discusses the evolution of his writing career, including decisions about publishers, alternative publishing opportunities in the educational teaching materials market, and lessons learned through his years in the industry.

Figuring it out: Trends for visuals in academic writing

Online exchanges are increasingly visual. Even staid newspaper sites now embed media or graphic stories. Almost every mobile device includes a camera, and the means to quickly upload and share still images or media. Graphics and drawing software are readily available. What do these trends mean for academic writing? What kinds of figures or other visual materials are scholars using to communicate about their research? How are electronic journals changing the options for the use of media and images? With these questions in mind, I explored trends and looked examples of visuals in academic writing that extend beyond the typical black and white figure.

Leveraging our authoring experience in electronic media

The publishing industry is quickly evolving, and with it, the role of an author is changing as well. Where once instructional and academic material was destined mainly for a printed book or journal article, today the landscape looks very different, with electronic media options continually growing. But while these changes can be disorienting for experienced and new authors alike, the new world of electronic media offers many new opportunities for people with specialized knowledge, strong communication skills, and the ability to meet deadlines. Whether you want to supplement existing written work or work in a new medium altogether, the opportunities are exciting – and perhaps the best part is that you don’t need an acquisitions editor to get started!

Creating videos: What should make the cut?

We’ve all seen some excellent videos (and some really awful ones) for instructional purposes. It’s no secret that video is a powerful medium for learning, but as with any technology, it should be used strategically, and done in a way that enhances the learning process.

During his “Video Creation for Textbook Authors & Instructors” presentation at the Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, Sasha Vodnik, author of video courses with lynda.com (aka LinkedIn Learning), shared his tips on what to include (and what to avoid) in your instructional videos.