Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 8, 2019

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” – Samuel JohnsonAs we reach the end of the first full week of November, more affectionately known as Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) for most of our readers, we want to remind you of the importance of reading to improve your writing efforts. In fact, Samuel Johnson once said, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” This reading time may be immersed in discipline-specific journal articles, or in items such as the ones below that help improve your overall writing craft and understanding of the authoring industry.

This week our collection includes resources from SAGE MethodSpace’s AcWriMo focus on writing and publishing books, ways to address worry for writers, establishing a plan B (or C), determining your contribution to the literature, maintaining an appropriate writing voice, questioning our assumptions in publishing innovations, and exploring alternative textbook options, including OER.

Remember as you move forward in your writing this week, it is more than acceptable – it’s even necessary – to take time to read to broaden your understanding of both your discipline and your craft, in order to improve your results as an author. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Textbook publisher mergers and acquisitions: What authors need to know

mergers and acquisitionsIf you’ve been published (or simply signed, for that matter) by a US publisher in the last dozen years, there is a fair to excellent chance that the master to whom you are now answering is not the master to whom you indentured yourself when you signed your original publishing contract. Among the larger transactions: [Read more…]

2019 Textbook award-winning insight (Part 3): Pedagogy and marketing involvement

TAA Textbook AwardsA few weeks ago, we reached out to winners of the 2019 TAA Textbook Awards and asked them to answer some questions about their textbook writing. We had so many great responses I decided to create a five-part series to share them. The first installment focused on why they decided to write their textbook, and how they got started. The second installment focused on what they do to boost their confidence as a writer, how they fit writing time into their schedule, and what software they use.

This third installment in the five-part series focuses on which pedagogical elements in their textbook they are most proud of, and what involvement they have had in marketing their book. [Read more…]

Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference to feature sessions on contracts and royalties

TAA’s 32nd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference speaker and mentor panels will feature several publishing industry professionals with expertise on topics such as intellectual property, copyright, publishing contracts, and royalties. The conference will be held in Old City, Philadelphia, June 14-15, 2019.

Intellectual property attorney Brenda Ulrich, a partner at Archstone Law Group PC, will kick off the conference with a session titled “Legal Issues for Independent Contractor Authors and Self-Publishers.” This session will explore legal issues in the “post-traditional publishing contract world.” [Read more…]

New year welcomes thousands of copyrighted works into the public domain

This year marks the first in two decades that a significant body of copyrighted work has lost its U.S. copyright protection and fallen into the public domain. Why is that…and what does it mean for scholars and educators?

Prior to 1978, the term of copyright protection for a work in the United States was measured from its date of first publication in the U.S. Under the first U.S. copyright act in 1790, U.S. works enjoyed an initial term of 14 years of protection, with an optional second term of another 14 years. [Read more…]

Reflections on negotiating a contract 1: Leverage and the power to negotiate

NegotiationWhen I wrote my last series of posts, I was waiting to hear whether a publisher would offer me a contract for my book for graduate students. The publisher—Routledge—did make an offer, marking the pleasant culmination of the 10+ month proposal process, and I could begin to look forward to publication, most likely in 2020 of my book titled Literature Review and Research Design: A Guide to Effective Research Practice. Getting the offer was a great milestone, but it didn’t put an end to the larger process of getting published. The next phase began with the question of whether to accept the offered contract and whether and how to negotiate for changes. As with my previous series of posts, I offer the reflections of a relative novice, not the advice of an expert. [Read more…]

Writing and publishing for everyone; Not just the 90%

Authors need to consider accessibility when creating materials and choosing a publisher, but how can they this when it is such a misunderstood word?

Accessibility, in regard to publishing, means making content available in alternative formats for individuals with visual impairment or learning disabilities.

People may conjure up Braille as making content accessible to people with disabilities or learning issues. Publishing, however, has progressed so much farther than this. Using such technical standards as ePub3, HTML5, alt text, and other specific initiatives, publishers can make their content accessible to a growing audience. [Read more…]

Understanding Creative Commons licensing

Whether you are publishing open access articles, working on open textbooks, or simply securing images for use in your manuscripts, chances are you will encounter the Creative Commons licensing model at some point.

Creative Commons (CC) licensing is a set of copyright options that allow for the retention of rights without maintaining the “all rights reserved” approach to traditional copyright protections. There are six forms of CC licenses, each with varying restrictions, and all requiring attribution to the original creator: CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA, and CC BY-NC-ND. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 1: Introduction

book publishingFor most of this past year, I have been seeking a publisher for my book for graduate students about using scholarly literature. As I write this, my proposal is scheduled to be discussed at a publication meeting a few days from now, and by the time this blog post gets published, I will either have a contract offer or another rejection.

In this and the following posts, I reflect on some of the issues that have come up in my process—issues that might be of interest to writers who are not yet experienced in proposing books to publishers. Those with more experience might view my reflections as naive (and if so, feel free to comment), but those with less experience might at least find comfort in someone else struggling with similar issues, even if they don’t find useful suggestions. [Read more…]

12/11 TAA Webinar: Video Creation for Textbook Authors and Instructors

Sasha VodnikVideos are increasingly integral to the learning process. As a textbook author, you can increase the value of your book for both students and instructors by creating and publishing videos linked to your content. As an instructor, videos you create to supplement your course can help students review and retain material outside the classroom. Join us Tuesday, December 11 from 1-2 p.m. ET for the TAA webinar, “Video Creation for Textbook Authors and Instructors,” where presenter Sasha Vodnik, a computer programming textbook author, will survey free tools for recording and production, as well as popular paid alternatives, and examine the tradeoffs. He’ll also walk through the steps to record video and audio, put it together, and publish it online.

Register today! [Read more…]