Student review of textbook provides valuable feedback

Understanding RhetoricWhen was the last time you received honest feedback about your textbook from students? For many authors, feedback is provided during production from a team of editors. For a luckier few, instructor and student review may be part of the production process, especially for first editions. But rarely do authors have direct feedback from the students their book is intended to serve post-adoption.

Dr. Elizabeth Losh, associate professor of English and American Studies at William & Mary University, and author of Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, has made student feedback a key component of her writing process. [Read more…]

Textbook writing advice for new authors

Dear “New” Author,

Here’s some textbook writing advice I wish an “old” author had given me. It’s simply a scrambling of pointers based on learning the hard way – through mistakes.

Book and Supplement Copies
Buy copies of your competitor’s books and supplements. Every executive editor has access to “the list” that identifies titles and the estimated numbers of these books selling in your market. They don’t like to share this list, but they should tell you the top three competitive books. Another great resource for books is the publisher booths at your annual association meeting. All the books are there for viewing and available at discount prices. Regarding supplements, it’s best that you don’t write these. Publishers hire people just to write them. It’s too much to write a major textbook and the supplements. Trust me on this. But if you have to write them, request supplement desk copies your publisher has created for their other textbooks, and the closer to your book, the better. The editor is right; forget about the supplements until the text is completed. They have the option not to print your book until the very end and all writers should know this gruesome fact. [Read more…]