New year welcomes thousands of copyrighted works into the public domain

This year marks the first in two decades that a significant body of copyrighted work has lost its U.S. copyright protection and fallen into the public domain. Why is that…and what does it mean for scholars and educators?

Prior to 1978, the term of copyright protection for a work in the United States was measured from its date of first publication in the U.S. Under the first U.S. copyright act in 1790, U.S. works enjoyed an initial term of 14 years of protection, with an optional second term of another 14 years. [Read more…]

Learning as I go: Running into happiness

Personal writing projectWhen I was a PhD student, I found that my academic commitments were throwing off my work life balance, and I wanted to do something about it. My answer, as funny as this sounds, was to add another writing project to my workload, but this was a personal writing project. I wrote and published a book, Running into Happiness, during my busy life as a PhD student!

On my journey, I learned that including a personal writing project in my writing program offered me added benefits. It helped me further develop my writing and productivity skills, and provided me more opportunities to practice my writing regularly. As I learned from Patricia Goodson in her book Becoming an Academic Writer, deliberate practice improves our writing and productivity levels. [Read more…]

Top 10 reasons to attend TAA’s June conference

Top 10 Reasons to Attend ImageThere are a lot of great reasons to attend TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. Past attendees consistently give TAA conferences high marks for content, networking, and inspiration:

“What a great conference! I came away inspired to write many more articles, book chapters and books. The conference gave the tools to accomplish that. It was a great friendly mix of authors at all stages of writing willing to share, mentor and interact.” ~ Betsy Stringam, Professor, New Mexico State University [Read more…]

Prepare to be inspired at TAA’s 2019 academic authoring conference!

It’s time to register, make your travel plans, and prepare to be inspired at TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference! The conference will be held June 14-15, 2019 at the beautiful Wyndham Hotel located in charming and historic Old City, Philadelphia.

TAA’s conference features sessions presented by veteran authors and industry experts who will share their knowledge, tips, and strategies to help you increase your publishing success. You will have opportunities for hands-on instruction, interactive Q&A, one-on-one mentoring, and peer learning on a wide range of authoring and publishing topics. [Read more…]

Crushing our creative guilt

creativityMany of us feel a strong calling to express our talents—in the academic and literary arts, music, dance, media, crafts, sciences, or any other field. In my profession of writing, almost every writer I know feels guilty for not writing enough, producing enough, and sending out enough pieces. But for “creatives,” as spiritual creativity guru Julia Cameron (1992, p. 33) labels us all, I’ve recognized another unproductive, thwarting, and possibly paradoxical self-recrimination. [Read more…]

Copyright basics: Another layer of rules for scholars

copyrightIn a recent TAA webinar, Stephen E. Gillen, a lawyer with more than 40 years of experience in and around the publishing business, and author of the book, Guide to Rights Clearance and Permissions in Scholarly, Educational, and Trade Publishing, shared critical information about copyright law, rights clearance, and permissions.

During the session, Gillen introduced an additional layer of rules for scholars, specifically focused on academic integrity. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 5: On giving sole consideration

book publishingSome publishers ask for sole consideration of your proposal. In my process, I have mostly given sole consideration to the publishers to whom I have been proposing. This has been largely a product of my approach: as discussed in previous posts, I feel that it’s best to write a distinct proposal for each publisher, to better match their list. Because that’s a pretty big effort, I don’t send out a lot of proposals at once. In August, I sent out one proposal that never earned any response, so I suppose that I wasn’t quite offering sole consideration on the two proposals I sent after that. Because it takes time to move from one proposal version to the next, and because the responses I did receive were generally quick (on 3 out of 5, I received a response within a day or two), I was basically offering sole consideration: as soon as I got a positive response, I focused my energies on responding to that one publisher, and not one making a proposal for another. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 4: On writing proposals

book publishingIn my experience, proposals are more difficult and nerve-wracking than writing the book. When I work on my book, I think about the strengths and about what I can offer to people through my writing. When I work on a proposal, it’s hard not to think about the possibility of acceptance and rejection, which is rather more stressful.

In writing, I find it crucial to hold on to my ideas as a foundation and focus first, before considering other people’s interests. But for a proposal, especially, I have to speak to someone else’s interests. It’s all well and good for me to believe that I have great ideas and that everyone could benefit from reading my book, but, realistically, the editor at a publishing house doesn’t much care about me; they care about their job and about finding books that will sell, and who knows what else? If I want that editor to do something—like read my proposal, or offer me a contract—it’s important to know what they want, because that knowledge gives me a better chance of writing something that will suit that editor. [Read more…]

Beyond time management: Three principles for greater writing productivity and satisfaction

productivityFor our writing productivity and fulfillment, indisputably we need time management, self-discipline, and all the pomodoros (Cirillo, 2018) we can muster. Sometimes, though, as ardently as we apply these, they don’t seem to be enough. Here are three perspectives that may help you through. They are “laws” described simply and eloquently by author, speaker, and spiritual and practical teacher Deepak Chopra (1994) in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.
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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…]