4 Ways to pay it forward as an author

pay it forwardThere seems to be a growing trend in society – one that is quite heartwarming amidst other news – for people to use the gifts and rewards of their own lives to “pay it forward” for the success and advantage of others – even strangers. Perhaps you have been the recipient of one of these acts of kindness at a local drive-thru where the person in front of you paid for your order. Or maybe you have had someone in your life take extra time to encourage and teach you – selflessly helping you pursue your dreams and goals.

If you think about it, there have likely been a number of times when unexpected offerings of assistance have come your way without any expectation of repayment. Those gifts have perhaps brought you, in part, to where you are today as an author. So, how can you “pay it forward” to the next generation of authors? I offer four possibilities below. [Read more…]

Specifying the end: Project management as applied to writing

Is project management really an essential writing process? While academic authors certainly recognize that writing requires many unique processes, each deserving attention, we rarely think beyond research, drafting, and revision. Yet, how well we manage projects can make or break the outcome. Case in point, if you miss the deadline for a special issue, it hardly matters how well your paper was aligned with the editor’s vision! Even when outcomes are not so dire, project management allows you to work in a calmer and less reactive manner, thus allowing for greater creativity.

Within formal project management, the tools can be roughly broken into “project definition tools” and “implementation tools.” In general, project definition tools are procedures that help you determine the scope, the tasks, the time frame, and the budget (i.e., time). Implementation tools are those that help you work smoothly. Here I focus on the former. [Read more…]

7 Ways to share your dream of publication

I feel like makin' dreams come trueSharing your dream with others is one way to help that dream become a reality. There are two primary benefits that can be realized by sharing your dream. The first is accountability. The second, shared ownership. Regardless of which or both benefits you seek, sharing your dream is essential.

In this article, we’ll explore seven ways that you can share your dream of publication to increase your overall success. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: October 30, 2020

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ~Mark TwainMark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Writing is a continuous search for the right word, the right fit, and the right connections.

As textbook and academic authors, that search for what’s “right” may be in the relationships with co-authors and editors. It may be what’s right from a social justice perspective. It may be what’s right in our preparation, process, and delivery of content. Or it may be what’s right for publishing our work.

No matter what’s “right” for your writing this week focus on finding what’s truly right instead of settling for what’s “almost right”. The lightning has a much stronger impact than the lightning bug. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: July 10, 2020

“Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.”“Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.” This unattributed quote could be attributed to nearly every aspiring author who has received advice from a successful one, but as much as we know that we need to write, a lot, it’s certainly easier said than done, most days.

In this collection of articles from around the web this week we have found some specific advice on how to get stuff done, how to write your first few pages, how to overcome the lure of planning, tips for sticking to a writing routine, writers’ tools for better productivity, and how to harness the power of coauthoring. We’ve also found guidance on writing blog posts, organizing digital files, and creating a memorable virtual book launch. Finally, we close with some industry news on bringing diverse perspectives into scholarly marketing and communications and a forthcoming Plan S Journal Checker Tool.

As you prepare yourself for the week ahead, we hope you find inspiration and guidance in the resources below to put you in a mindset where you can write, a lot. Happy Writing! [Read more…]

How two co-authors have worked together successfully at a distance

The UX Book: Agile UX Design for a Quality User Experience, 2nd ed.All writing projects have their own challenges and opportunities. When working with a co-author, there can be additional challenges to ensure that the manuscript is completed in a way that ultimately reflects a single published voice while covering all of the required topic areas.

In this article, Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla, co-authors of the award-winning textbook, The UX Book 2 (Morgan Kauffman Publishing, 2019), share our experience of success working together at a distance. We have offered the following insight on how to manage issues of version control, file sharing, managing “pen” ownership, change tracking, handing off the pen, and organizing difficult text. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 5, 2020

“Your passion is waiting for your courage to catch up.” ~Isabelle Lafleche“Your passion is waiting for your courage to catch up.” Isabelle Lafleche is credited with this quote framing our weekly collection of posts. So what is your passion? Where is your courage? And what do you need to align the two?

Perhaps some of the ideas below will help build the courage or clarify your passion, or both. We have found resources on enhancing visual thinking, organizing research notes, online learning, pursuing, planning, and progressing on a PhD, and additional writing quotes to motivate you on the journey.

We’ve also found information on current issues and events in the academic writing realm including diversity and inclusion, research impact, research career paths, copyright, and Read & Publish deals. Whatever your passion, find ways to build the courage you need to pursue it this week. Happy writing! [Read more…]

2020 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 4): Co-authoring

Textbook Excellence Award WinnerWe recently reached out to winners of the 2020 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about why they made the decision to write their textbook, strategies they used for successful writing, advice on contracts, editing, marketing, co-authoring, and more. We will be sharing their answers in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

This fourth installment of the five-part series focuses on working with co-authors. [Read more…]

Top 5 tips for creating and maintaining a successful coauthoring relationship

Frank Carrano and Timothy Henry have coauthored two editions each of computer science textbooks Data Abstractions & Problem Solving with Walls And Mirrors C++ and Data Structures and Abstractions with JAVA. Here they detail their top five tips for maintaining a successful coauthoring relationship.

1) Have a Coauthoring Contract or Agreement

When you and your coauthor decided to work together, you may have been long-time friends and coworkers, you may have been connected by your publisher, or you may have met at a conference. However the relationship was established, it is important to have your writing relationship clearly stated in a contract. A coauthoring contractual agreement should specify royalty splits, writing responsibilities, and future edition commitments. If you have not worked together previously, you may want to consider a work-for-hire arrangement to test your ability to collaborate. This can reduce the risk to future editions. Another option is to add the coauthor for the current edition only. That is, amend your contract for one edition at a time. [Read more…]

Reflection and collaboration

reflection and collaborationThis time last year, I wrote two posts for Abstract. In the December post, “Reflect and Reboot,” I discussed ideas from Dewey and others about reflection and deep learning. After taking some time to contemplate how these concepts applied in my own work/life, I wrote Reflections on academic writing: Three insights. Now I’d like to build on this line of thinking and discuss ways reflection plays into our work with others.

As noted in last year’s posts, Dewey suggested that reflective thought is needed “to transform a situation in which there is experienced obscurity, doubt, conflict, disturbance of some sort, into a situation that is clear, coherent, settled, harmonious” (Dewey, 1939, p. 851). He might have had collaborative writing in mind, since doubt and conflict are all too common when writers who are accustomed to doing their own thing find themselves in a situation with equally head-strong co-authors or co-editors. How can we use reflective thinking to shift into a coherent, harmonious working relationship? [Read more…]