Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: August 2, 2019

“Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” ~ Roy T. BennettLet me warn you. This week’s collection of posts from around the web has several topics that may not be comfortable for textbook and academic authors. We begin with articles challenging the status quo for academic bios, the value of disability inclusion in the publishing industry, and the approach you take to turn your PhD into a book. More hot topic industry changes, specifically in light of recent announcements of Pearson’s “digital first” initiative and the Cengage-McGraw-Hill merger, also make this week’s list.

The changes to the publishing industry are not new, but in the recent months seem to be coming at a faster pace with greater impact to authors. That said, as you review the articles linked below, remember the wisdom of Roy T. Bennett who said, “Great things don’t come from comfort zones.” In the coming week, I encourage you to reach beyond your comfort zone in your pursuit of greatness. Happy writing! [Read more…]

For lagging doctoral candidates: How to finish your dissertation and keep your family

work from homeIf you are in the throes of your dissertation, you probably realize that, other than yourself, your family is most affected by your dissertation, and they most affect your progress. It can be hard for family members to understand what you’re going through and must continue to endure for several years.

A poignant example from one of my dissertation coaching clients: Ava wailed to me, “I get calls daily from my mother, my three sisters, and my two cousins! They all say they’re tired of me not coming to the family events. I had to go to the reunion!”

Like Ava’s relatives, family can start squeezing you. [Read more…]

The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: May 3, 2019

"You fail only if you stop writing." ~Ray BradburyThis week’s collection of articles from around the web is full of opportunities. Opportunities to improve your academic reading practice, to tell your story, to make your writing more interesting, to broadcast your research, or to go freelance. It’s also filled with challenges and uncertainty. Challenges of parenting and academia, predatory journals, the uncertain future of university presses, neurodiversity in scholarly publishing, and the affect of the planned merger between Cengage and McGraw-Hill on the textbook market.

With each opportunity comes challenge and uncertainty. Equally so, with each challenge or uncertainty comes opportunity. As Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” So, here’s to success. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 26, 2019

person actively working on a laptopIt’s the end of April. A time when many academics are faced with countless deadlines, upcoming graduations, and new beginnings – all of which carrying their own advantages and challenges. In this week’s collection of posts from around the web, we find advice and resources to promote success in those academic endeavors.

First, if actively writing, don’t overlook the value of editing in the process and be open to potential changes in your plan as you balance your ideal with the reality of deadlines. To support your writing efforts, explore the advantages that personal industry groups and artificial intelligence tools may provide. Keep in mind the reality of semester rhythms, associated burnout, and the need to find balance among your various work-related efforts. Finally, for those embarking on new beginnings as the academic year comes to a close, we share information on the first Read and Publish deal in the US and a list of academic job interview questions (and how to answer them).

As you enter this next week, take things as they come. Focus on each task without getting lost in the potential overwhelm of everything that this part of the academic season often brings. Find a balance for your work. Enjoy the endings and completions, and look forward to the beginnings lying ahead. And through it all, happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: April 5, 2019

"The scariest moment is always just before you start." ~Stephen KingStephen King once said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” In many of our textbook and academic authoring activities, we find the same to be true.

This week’s collection of articles from around the web address some common fears in our industry like low cost textbook alternatives, publisher production values, establishing significance, pursuing research efforts while raising a family, the dark side of academia, and the PhD journey.

With so much to fear, it can be paralyzing, but once we start, we most often find that the scariest moments are behind us and success lies ahead. This week challenge yourself to start something beyond your fears. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 29, 2019

spring blossomsThis week’s collection of articles from around the web has a spring-like atmosphere of newness, pruning, and growth. We begin with two questions: “What does academic work look like?” and “Which academics are happy?” We then explore emerging trends in the academic publishing lifecycle, revision processes, and synthesis in a literature review. We close with new ideas on re-reading and technological support for peer review.

Kelly Barnhill once said, “That’s the magic of revisions – every cut is necessary, and every cut hurts, but something new always grows.” Whatever revisions face your writing (or writing practices) this week, find the magic that helps you grow. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 22, 2019

"I've discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing." ~Anna Quindlen“I’ve discovered that sometimes writing badly can eventually lead to something better. Not writing at all leads to nothing.” This advice from Anna Quindlen frames our collection of articles this week.

Recognizing the quality of our efforts and focusing on ways to improve our contribution to the field is core to writing success. We begin this week’s collection with an examination of effective feedback, finding the gap in the research, and getting into a habit of data management. We then explore the challenges and benefits of balancing family and academic lives. Finally, we close with a look at textbook subscriptions in the publishing market and how to construct a CV for the academic job market.

Whatever the state of your writing or career this week, start where you are, no matter how bad, it can eventually lead to something better, but doing nothing will certainly lead to nothing. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 1, 2019

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." ~Jane YolenJane Yolen reminds us to “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” This week’s collection of articles from around the web provides some examples of just how to do that.

We begin our collection with a typical say in the life of five writers, planning scholarly visits, developing an academic home page, waiting on peer review, and counting down to thesis completion. We also found some articles of interest on the future of publishing platforms, books on pedagogy, and prioritizing organizational choices. Happy writing (every day)! [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: August 3, 2018

"Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending." ~Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThis week’s collection of articles from around the web includes several perspectives on expectations as they relate to doctoral studies, writing, and academic life. Do you have PhD fear? Accustomed to minimal writing or hyper performativity? Interested in the value of conference presentations, crowdfunding, or research ethics? Curious about the new age academic, life after the PhD, what can not be published, or how to engage the public in your scholarship? We’ve got it all in the list below!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reminds us that “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” This week I encourage you to define a finish line for one of your projects and celebrate an ending so you can move on to the next great beginning. Happy writing! [Read more…]