Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 28, 2019

Summer hat, sunglasses, beach towel, and tablet computerAs we come to the end of the first official week of summer, many of us are a month or more into our summer “break” – a time for tackling the list of things that find their way to “unfinished” during the school year. If your summer to-do list contains interdisciplinary reading, prioritization of your writing projects, qualitative research, research promotion, PhD by publication, or simply keeping up with the latest trends in scholarly writing, this week’s collection has something for you!

While rest and relaxation are also essential components of the break that summer often provides, tackling some of those items on the to-do list, rethinking your schedule for the next academic year, and maintaining a healthy writing practice during these “off” months have advantage as well. Happy summer and happy writing! [Read more…]

8 Reasons to get started with social media

social networksEngaging in social media can be an effective strategy for authors to share details about their work and build relationships with their readers. However, many authors feel overwhelmed by the range of social media platforms available and may not know how to get started. During the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, Katie Linder shared ideas for those “Getting Started with Social Media”.

More important than the platform you use, the content you post, or even the technical “how tos” of working with social media, however, are the goals you have for being on social media, Linder says. To help you identify your goals for using social media, consider these eight common goals Linder shared during the session. [Read more…]

7 Basics of branding

7 Basics of brandingIn her recent TAA webinar, “You Got This: Marketing Strategies to Build a Signature Platform”, Dr. JoNataye Prather shared with attendees some excellent advice on developing a marketing mindset. Driven by a personal mission to “empower, educate, and inspire learners to achieve their degree dream,” Prather suggested that everyone should develop a mission statement as part of their marketing platform. 

To do so, she said, “reflect on who you are and what you want to convey…this will define your business.” With a mission in mind, she then shared the following seven “basics of branding” to help build a signature platform. [Read more…]

Textbook and academic discussions – keep them going

Roundtable Sessions 2018If you were at the 31st Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM last weekend, you know the excitement and passion this group of authors shared throughout each session and networking opportunity. For the nearly 100 participants in the roundtable discussions held Saturday afternoon, there was much to talk about and some incredible ideas shared in the groups. Many participants expressed an interest in continuing these conversations beyond the conference. To this end, we have used the roundtable discussion topics to start eight threads in our LinkedIn group for just that reason.

If you were in attendance, we’d love for you to get the conversation started by sharing notes from the session with our LinkedIn group. If you weren’t able to attend (or were participating in another roundtable at the time), please share your insight, ideas, and questions in any or all of the discussions linked below. The roundtables just got bigger! Welcome to the table! [Read more…]

Author website or social media? Oh, the choices!

Laptop displaying webpageCongratulations! Your book is written. It passed peer review and the final changes have been made. It’s with the publisher and they are full steam ahead. They anticipate publication in four or five months. It is now seeming all too real. But that pesky marketing reminder keeps popping up on your calendar. Your day is already jammed packed. How will you fit it all in?

One of your published colleagues raved about the power of their author website and the results they saw. Another said blitzing social media brought them great contacts and increased visibility. With your limited schedule, which should you do? [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: January 12, 2018

"Most writing doesn't take place on the page; it takes place in your head." ~Susan Orlean“Most writing doesn’t take place on the page; it takes place in your head.” says Susan Orlean. This week’s collection of articles is full of resources to improve those internal processes that move your writing forward. Beginning with advice on how to improve your writing practices, considering what types of case studies get published, new approaches by textbook companies, and tips for promoting self-published book series, we open ourselves up to new ideas in the writing industry. With that open mind, we continue to see trends in Open Access, the need for new approaches to style guides, the impact of libraries on the adoption of OER, and the future of the OA megajournal. Finally, we close our list this week with an invitation to an open house hosted by SAGE Research Methods in February and early March.

As you approach your writing this week, open yourself up to new ideas, new practices, and new ways of thinking and be sure to get some of that writing out of your head and onto the page as well. [Read more…]

Schedule time to market your work or pay the consequences

MarketingCommitting to writing involves more than just working away at a new Word file. It also requires the commitment to promote and market the eventual work as well. This does not come naturally to everyone, but this dedication to help spread the word about the work is equally important as the content itself.

Whether it is a journal article, a monograph, a textbook, or some other form of academic communication, marketing is essential to the success of the material. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: November 17, 2017

"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." ~Louis L'AmourAs we reach the halfway point of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2017, the posts this week reflect an increased awareness of the disruptive nature of Open Access in academic publishing, ways to increase diversity in scholarly writing, tips for productive reading and distraction resistance while writing, ways to beat your fear of writing, tools for academic writers, improving your use of comparisons, strategies for quickly tackling a writing project, and how to market your academic journal articles. Whatever you are working on this week, remember the words of Louis L’Amour and “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” [Read more…]

5 Tips for Kickstarter success for writers

Earth Joy WritingI recently completed my third successful Kickstarter campaign to help promote my new book, Earth Joy Writing: Creating Harmony through Journaling and Nature, which will be released on Earth Day, April 22nd.

In all three cases, my books were published by small, independent presses that didn’t have funds for promotional campaigns, publicity, or book tours. So I used the Kickstarter funds to promote my books in these ways.

Often people shy away from Kickstarter and prefer to use other crowdfunding programs because of the requirement that the funding goal be met in order to get any funds at all. In my experience (and we know this as writers), having the goal of completion can spur us to take bolder action. A half-written book isn’t really a book, is it? [Read more…]

10 Tips for successful marketing

“When authors invest the dedicated time and effort to produce a textbook, it’s important that they do it with a goal that it will be adopted and read and that it will provoke learning,” said Robert Christopherson, author of the bestselling introductory geography textbook, Elemental Geosystems. “This requires thought throughout the creation process toward our involvement in marketing and how the post-production/sales period will progress,” he said. “Marketing and sales are areas of publisher responsibility for sure, and I respect these editorial channels of authority, however I have learned that the marketing process works best with proactive, aggressive, and consistent effort.”

Christopherson shares the following ten marketing tips and strategies:

1) Treat authoring as a business — create text-specific letterhead and business cards. “The cards are quite effective in adopter contacts, with students, and to have available at your publisher’s booth at annual meetings,” he said. “Develop a representative icon for your text that carries over to your card and letterhead.”

2) Set up a post office box for those readers that use snail mail. Since 1995, said Christopherson, all his texts have included his e-mail address, along with a P.O. Box with his name salutation, at the end of the Preface. At the beginning of the term and around finals, he receives anywhere from a few e-mails to six to 10 per week. “The feedback I receive is so valuable that the work input is easily justified,” he said. “I respond to each one, in earnest, and usually get a surprised and pleased response, e.g., ‘I never expected an author to actually write me back.’ In my working copy of the finished text and for my preparation file for the next edition, I mark up the text with comments. These e-mails provide valuable error and clarification points. After two years, when I sit down to begin a revision on a three-year cycle, I have this ready-made resource already in hand from hundreds of ‘conversations.’ As a marketing asset, I think that all these contacts and replies develop strength in the connective tissue that supports your textbooks in the market.”

3) Be available at your publisher’s booth at professional meetings. “Make sure your editor and marketing director have all the information for upcoming meetings,” he said. “Offer involvement in preparing ad copy for the conference programs. Help with the booth. Usually some local sales rep is stuck with packing up the booth on the last day, the word is out among the sales reps that I help out – which gives me a feeling of full-cycle involvement.”

4) Offer to proofread sales manual copy, both print and e-catalogues. “Only authors know the buzz words, correct vernacular, vocabulary, and sales features of their own textbook,” he said. “Build on the copy the publisher provides.”

5) Do the first several editions of your ancillaries. “This will give the ancillaries your style and approach,” he said. “These editions then become the guides for later editions that will be done by work-for-hire third parties. I know the authors of my ancillaries and am available to them for questions and collaboration.”

6) Become active in the instructional CD-ROM process. “My publisher invested in an instructional CD-ROM to accompany each of my texts,” he said. “By doing all the design and preparing the functional layout, as well as the storyboards for the animations, I was able to get the inclusion of many features not on other CDs. Remember, this is usually personal work ‘on spec’ with compensation derived from increased text sales stimulated by the CD asset.”

7) Become involved in the creation of an interactive website for your text.

8) Make sure that sales reps, marketing personnel, editors and adopters, know that you are available for feedback, questions, and criticism. “Be available to speak, when asked, at national sales meetings that most publishers hold twice a year,” he said. “We need to teach editors, sales reps, and managers about our books and disciplines.”

9) Know your market and your competition, and write the best student-friendly text possible – there’s nothing like a great book that sells itself. “Yes, I used the word ‘sells,’ for this is appropriate to say in our important academic work!” he said.

10) Go to TAA meetings and participate in the TAA newsletter and website. “No one knows better the isolation that the creative process requires more than other authors,” he said. “The network and supportive web among authors is powerful.”