Considering Writing a Textbook? Questions to Ask

By Sierra Pawlak

In her November 9, 2022, TAA webinar, “Textbook Authoring Inspirations, Insights, and Innovations”, award-winning textbook author Jamie Pope shared several questions you should ask yourself before writing a textbook. Those questions include:

  • What’s the book’s primary focus and level?
  • Who’s your target audience?
  • What are your qualifications to author the book?
  • How does it differ from other books on the market?
  • Why would someone adopt it over your competitors?

She used these questions to contrast what went right with her successful textbook, Nutrition for a Changing World, the recipient of a 2020 TAA Textbook Excellence Award, and what went wrong with a creative trade book proposal that was never published.

Busy TAA People: TAA Council President Paul Krieger’s A&P Books Transformed From Print to Digital

TAA Council President Paul Krieger has been busy transforming his popular Visual Analogy Guide book series from print into digital and interactive books with Top Hat. His anatomy & physiology book, A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Anatomy & Physiology, went live on the platform at the end of January and his anatomy book and physiology books, A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Anatomy, and A Visual Analogy Guide to Human Physiology, will go live at the end of February. Congratulations Paul!

Macmillan Learning’s Susan Winslow to Give Inaugural Michael Sullivan Lecture on Textbook and Academic Authoring

Susan Winslow, from Macmillan Learning, has been selected to give the inaugural Michael Sullivan Lecture on Textbook & Academic Authoring as Opening Keynote at the 2024 TAA Conference on Textbook & Academic Authoring in Nashville, TN June 21-22. Her presentation, “The Very Human Experience of Learning,” will dig deep into the moments that make learning special: the emotions, the bonds we form, the aha! moments, and those big motivations that stick with us for life.

As AI becomes a bigger part of education, we can’t forget that at its core, learning is a human thing. It’s all about finding the right mix of tech and touch. The session will help us to understand the different ways to blend modern tech with the timeless human side of learning to help engage and inspire students.

TAA Announces Michael Sullivan Lecture on Textbook & Academic Authoring

The Michael Sullivan Lecture on Textbook & Academic Authoring honors the life and work of mathematics textbook author Michael Sullivan, a long-time TAA member who has authored or co-authored more than 120 mathematics textbooks, many of which have been published in multiple editions.

The Lecture series provides a forum for textbook and academic authors to learn from veteran textbook and academic authors and other academic and textbook authoring and publishing experts. It will feature an invited lecturer whose textbook or academic authoring accomplishments are prolific, award-winning, and highly engaging and inspiring, or whose experience in the textbook or academic authoring or publishing industry qualifies them as an expert. The lectureship was established in 2023 by a generous gift from Michael Sullivan.

From the Archives: Articles on ‘Recognition and Rewards’ From TAA Report, Compiled by TAA Member Phil Wankat

The seventh installment of TAA Member Phil Wankat’s curation and commentary of the archival issues of the TAA Report (now The Academic Author), Recognition and Rewards, is now available. Articles include “Frustrations of a University Book Author,”  “The New Paradox of the College Textbook,” and “What Effect is Using a Text You Authored Likely to Have on How Students View You?”.

2/21 TAA Webinar on Navigating Your Writing Process

Do you ever find yourself writing in circles, struggling with decision fatigue or a lack of purpose in your scholarly writing? Do you wish you had a structure for your writing process that felt expansive and flexible enough to account for the complexities of scholarship creation?

Join us Wednesday, February 21 from 1-2 p.m. ET for a one-hour webinar, Navigating Your Writing Process as a Purposeful QuEST. Margy Thomas, PhD, of ScholarShape will walk you through the simple yet powerful QuEST framework as a way of structuring your writing projects in any genre.