Author Interview with Dr. Callie Rennison

Callie Rennison Award Winning BooksHas this ever happened to you? You are reading online about someone’s work, then discover they are close-by in your own community? When I was looking at the impressive winners of this year’s TAA awards, I was struck by the fact that one SAGE author won prizes for two books. This is a very rigorous peer-reviewed award, so winning twice in the same year is remarkable. As luck would have it, Dr. Callie Rennison is a local.

Back in the halcyon days of last week, when we could actually meet someone in person for coffee, I had a chance to speak with her. I was so impressed by her whole approach to research, writing, and teaching, I wanted to give MethodSpace readers a chance to hear from her. So rather than give you a written exchange, we met in GoToWebinar for this interview. [Read more…]

Navigating “permanent whitewater”

permanent whitewaterI was listening to a podcast series by the National Association of Independent Schools called the Trustee Table (I highly recommend it by the way).  A guest on one episode used the term “permanent whitewater” in regard to what he was experiencing in his field.

The phrase has really stuck with me since I heard it. It applies in so many ways to so many aspects of what we are all experiencing. [Read more…]

TAA announces 2020 Textbook Award winners

2020 Award WinnersTwenty-nine textbooks have been awarded 2020 Textbook Awards by the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA). Seven textbooks received William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Awards, 14 textbooks received Textbook Excellence Awards, and eight textbooks received Most Promising New Textbook Awards.

The McGuffey Longevity Award recognizes textbooks and learning materials whose excellence has been demonstrated over time. The Textbook Excellence Award recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials. The Most Promising New Textbook Award recognizes excellence in 1st edition textbooks and learning materials.

The awards will be presented during an awards reception at TAA’s 33rd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in San Diego, CA, June 12, 2020. [Read more…]

Textbook pedagogy: Improving chapter summaries encourages collaborative learning

Saladin Textbook CoversIn my field, human anatomy and physiology (A&P), like many others, it is customary to end each textbook chapter with a concept review and self-testing exercises. For the first five editions of my Anatomy & Physiology—The Unity of Form and Function, I titled my end-of-chapter feature “Chapter Review” and its first section, “Review of Key Concepts.” I followed the traditional practice of summarizing the chapter in short declarative sentences like these:

  • Microvilli are short surface extensions of the plasma membrane that increase a cell’s surface area. They are especially well developed on absorptive cells, as in the kidney and small intestine. On some cells, they play a sensory role.
  • Parathyroid hormone is secreted by the parathyroid glands in response to hypocalcemia. It raises blood Ca2+ levels by indirectly stimulating osteoclasts, inhibiting osteoblasts, promoting calcitriol synthesis, and promoting Ca2+ conservation by the kidneys.

[Read more…]

Writing groups: When, why, how, and best practices

writing groupAcademic writing can be a solitary, isolating experience for many authors. While that may work for some, solitary writing can leave many writers feeling unmotivated, lonely, and lost. I propose, and research has proven, taking a more collaborative, community-based approach to writing can be highly beneficial in terms of productivity, success, and enjoyment.

From feedback to accountability, to pop-up groups to writing retreats and workshops, when faculty meet and talk about their writing, they reduce isolation and improve their craft. Consequently, over time, faculty become more productive and less stressed because they are accomplishing their goals. In addition, they become part of a community of writers. [Read more…]

TAA’s 2020 Conference Textbook Track

2020 Textbook & Academic Authoring ConferenceEarly registration is now open for TAA’s 33rd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in San Diego, CA this June! This event is always an incredible opportunity to network with authors from a variety of disciplines and to learn about the latest trends, best practices, and industry changes.  

Textbook authors have a solid lineup of sessions in this year’s program including eight 60-minute sessions on topics including royalties, contract negotiation, and author branding. A 90-minute double session on accessibility is also included in the Textbook Track for 2020. A complete overview of the Textbook Track sessions is below. [Read more…]

The textbook report 2019

The Textbook Report 2019As we near the end of the decade, textbook authors face a myriad of changes in industry structure and public perception reflected and fueled by the headlines in the news. In her annual textbook report, veteran author June Jamrich Parsons shared some of those headlines and the details behind them with attendees at her 2019 conference session in Philadelphia, PA.

Below is a summary of her presentation, including key takeaways about industry profitability, textbook prices, publishing formats, and instructor perceptions. [Read more…]

Top 5 tips for creating and maintaining a successful coauthoring relationship

Frank Carrano and Timothy Henry have coauthored two editions each of computer science textbooks Data Abstractions & Problem Solving with Walls And Mirrors C++ and Data Structures and Abstractions with JAVA. Here they detail their top five tips for maintaining a successful coauthoring relationship.

1) Have a Coauthoring Contract or Agreement

When you and your coauthor decided to work together, you may have been long-time friends and coworkers, you may have been connected by your publisher, or you may have met at a conference. However the relationship was established, it is important to have your writing relationship clearly stated in a contract. A coauthoring contractual agreement should specify royalty splits, writing responsibilities, and future edition commitments. If you have not worked together previously, you may want to consider a work-for-hire arrangement to test your ability to collaborate. This can reduce the risk to future editions. Another option is to add the coauthor for the current edition only. That is, amend your contract for one edition at a time. [Read more…]

Preparing for ripples, waves, and tsunamis in textbook and academic publishing

wavesRecently, we’ve seen shifts from print to digital, the rise of open educational resources and open-access journals, the consolidation of large publishers into mega-publishers, fundamental changes in how authors are compensated, and other significant changes to the nature of authoring. As we wait to see which of the ripples coming over the horizon dissipate and which become large—perhaps overwhelming—waves, what can we authors do to remain afloat?

Three main strategies can help academic and textbook authors continue to succeed as changes in textbooks, journals, or scholarly publications come along: vigilance, honing core skills, and agility. [Read more…]

TAA’s 2020 Conference Early Registration Is Open!

Join us in San Diego, CA for TAA’s 33rd Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference. Early registration is now open!

TAA’s conference will be held June 12-13 at the beautiful Westin San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, located in the heart of downtown San Diego! With a Four Diamond rating by AAA, the Westin San Diego Gaslamp is located just steps from the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter, boasting of more than 150 restaurants, bars, shops, cafes and galleries. It is also only a 15 minute walk or short Uber ride to the popular Waterfront and Little Italy neighborhoods! [Read more…]