In a recent post to the TAA LinkedIn group, Dr. Anna Bucy, a humanities instructor with over 20 years of teaching experience asked the question, “How can I get started working on textbooks?” A simple question to which several group members shared their professional advice.
If you have an idea for a new textbook a great way to start looking for a publisher is by attending your discipline’s annual meeting — which typically hosts book vendors — where you may be able to make some good contacts with publishing companies, said Dr. Laura Taalman, a mathematics professor at James Madison University.
“It is worth stopping by the exhibit booths of the publishers you are interested in; the editor you seek might be right there,” she said. “Sales reps can sometimes give you an idea if your book fits in with their company’s list. They also will often have contact information for the appropriate editors.”
When Taalman was looking for a publisher for her textbook, Integrated Calculus: Calculus With Precalculus and Algebra, (which was published in 2004 by Houghton Mifflin) she shopped the idea around to sales reps at her university and at yearly math meetings. “The sales reps communicated with the math editors and someone turned out to be interested,” she said.