The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: February 19, 2016

What sorts of strategies do you use to catapult you into your day’s writing? Do you do as Jerry Jenkins does and start the day with “a heavy edit and rewrite” of the “previous day’s work”? Maybe you do as Rachel Toor suggests: “leave off at a point where it will be easy to start again.” Rachel adds: “Some writers quit a session in the middle of a sentence; it’s always easier to continue than to begin.” Various other writers suggest using bullet points at the end of a writing session that point them in the direction they want the writing to go when they next return to it. Perhaps you have a completely different method altogether. If you do, I hope you will share it in the comments below this post. Happy writing!

What to consider before signing your first textbook contract

The following advice came from a 2014 TAA Conference Roundtable Discussion led by Mike Kennamer and Steven Barkan, entitled, “What I Wish I Had Known Before I Signed My First Textbook Contract”:

“Be prepared that some books don’t make money.” – Steven Barkan

“$3,000 would be a good advance for most first time textbook authors.” – Attorney Zick Rubin

“I received a grant rather than an advance for my text. A grant is better because it isn’t an advance against royalties.” – Mike Kennamer

“You don’t want snapshot quality photos in your textbook. Hire a professional or purchase professional photos.” – Mike Kennamer

5 Textbook authors share advice on coauthoring relationships

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Before entering a co-authoring relationship, sign a collaboration agreement

The first thing you should write before entering into a co-authoring relationship is a collaboration agreement, said Stephen Gillen, an attorney with Wood, Herron & Evans, L.L.P.

“Do it before you write the manuscript, before you sign the publisher’s contract, before you write the sample chapters, before you write the outline, and before you write the proposal,” he said. “Do it first. If it’s too late to do it first, do it NOW! If you think you don’t need one, you’re wrong. By the time you realize you do, it’s probably too late.”

Create a collaboration agreement with your co-author

Collaborating with a co-author on producing a textbook can have many benefits, said Steve Gillen, an attorney with Wood Herron & Evans. “It can diffuse the burden of a large project; allow you to draw on each other’s strengths; create a broader appeal for the work; and give you access to a sounding board for ideas,” he said. “On the other hand, the most bitter troubles and disputes occur between co-authors. Of all disputes, those between collaborators are the worst–they almost never have a happy ending.”

One source of trouble is in the way the Copyright Act deals with co-authorship, said Gillen. “The default positions stated in the Copyright Act with regard to co-authorship are often not those that you would provide yourself,” he said. They include: