Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 6, 2020

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” ~Ralph Waldo EmersonIn this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we are presented with contradictions to norms and new thoughts on old processes in academic writing. “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” These words from Ralph Waldo Emerson remind us to be open-minded, to face challenges, contradictions, and reviewer comments with receptiveness rather than defensiveness.

Consider the benefits (rather than the distastefulness) of book blurbs, discussion on the discussion section of your papers, and ways to detect the crap in your research process. Examine what research looks like without a “publish or perish” mentality, for indigenous students, and when reflecting your work in your lifestyle choices – even the clothes that you wear. Finally, open up to the possibilities of open peer review and returning to academia from industry.

Academic environments are deeply rooted in tradition but are facing dramatic changes in process and perception. New ideas can bring with them resistance and opportunities. When faced with contradiction to your beliefs or work this week, consider the opportunity and resist the urge to feel persecuted. Happy writing! [Read more…]

TAA’s 32nd Annual Conference session spotlight: Revising your manuscript at the macro & micro levels

Erin McTigue, academic writing coach and workshop presenter, will present “Efficiency with Style: Revising Your Manuscript at the Macro & Micro Levels” at TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. The conference will be held in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15, 2019.

McTigue, who after achieving tenured professor at Texas A&M University moved on to start her own business focused on mentoring and coaching academics in writing and productivity, will conduct an interactive session where participants will take a messy draft of their choice and apply 3 macro-level revision strategies to hone overall logic and organization of the manuscript. Next, working at the micro-level, McTigue will walk participants through 3 revision tools for coherence and writing style. Participants will leave with both a sequential approach and individual tools for transforming their future drafts with efficiency.  [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…]

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…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 3: Write the proposal before the book?

book publishingBefore I started the proposal process for my book, I had written a complete draft (as well as two almost-complete early drafts), and also hired an editor to check that draft. I had, in short, a pretty mature draft. But the questions publishers ask about the completeness of the draft, led me to wonder whether that was the best plan for seeking publication.

Common proposal questions ask: “When do you plan to finish the book?”, and “When can you deliver the manuscript?”, which seem primarily relevant for proposals written by people who have not yet completed their book. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

How to develop a great webinar to promote your book

webinarA webinar is an excellent promotional tool for your books, work, and services. Combining PowerPoint slides and audio on a subject to which viewers/listeners plug in on the Internet, a webinar delivers valuable information and shows you’re the one to deliver more. But to accomplish this purpose, you’ve gotta do it well. As the proud veteran of one webinar (I blush to admit with some excellent feedback), here I’ll share some points about designing and delivering an excellent webinar.

For the webinar on my book Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011), I had wonderful help and structure from the publisher’s promotion director. But you can achieve similar results alone or with a few seasoned colleagues. In any case, the steps are similar. [Read more…]

#AcWriChat TweetChat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here on 4/20 at 11 a.m. ET

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter on Friday, April 20 at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for our latest TweetChat focused on creating proposals.

Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live).

[Read more…]