Marketing your textbook is about author-publisher cooperation, says mathematics author Michael Sullivan. He shares 13 ways authors can market their textbook before the writing begins, as the writing progresses, before publication, after publication and when preparing for the second edition.
How to leverage a TAA Textbook Award
Receiving a TAA Textbook Award is not only a great honor, it can also be used to increase book sales and advance your writing career.
Judy Rasminsky, coauthor of Challenging Behavior in Young Children and Challenging Behavior in Elementary and Middle School, both of which have received TAA Textbook Excellence (Texty) Awards, said she and her coauthor Barbara Kaiser have leveraged the award in several ways, including:
Marketing strategies: Reinforce textbook adoptions with promotional calendar
Physical geography author Robert Christopherson recently published a calendar to promote the seventh edition of his award-winning textbook, Geosystems.
The calendar’s two opening pages describe the strengths and new features of the new edition, and list the accompanying student and instructor supplements. The calendar itself features factoids that match physical geography and Earth systems science events, as well as photos for each month depicting physical geography subjects, such as the rapeseed crop in full bloom in northern Scottland; frost-shattered rock in Spitsbergen in the Arctic Ocean; and a birch forest in south-central Norway.
‘Publication party’ great way to promote your new textbook
Writing a textbook not only has the potential to generate royalties, but is also a great way to advance your career. Karen Morris, author of Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Law, has used her textbook to do just that by hosting a “Publication Party” each time a new edition of her book is published.
A “Publication Party” is an event designed to celebrate the accomplishment of completing the book and to remind people that you are an author.
“If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity to promote yourself, in my mind, it is such as wasted opportunity,” said Morris, also distinguished professor at Monroe Community College. “It’s a way to gain publicity and notice, which is part of my goal in writing textbooks.”
6 Tips for marketing your textbook
Q: “I have been writing a textbook but so far have been unable to interest a major publisher. I may publish it with a small publisher without a sales force. That leaves me to market the textbook. Can you share some advice for what I should do in this situation?”
A: Robert Christopherson, professor emeritus of geography at American River College and author of the leading physical geography textbooks in the U.S. and Canada:
- Examine similar textbooks in the field you are writing in over the past 10 years. Record publisher names, editors listed on the copyright page, and begin a list of any reviewers listed in the Preface. This process will give you an idea of publishers active in the discipline and some you might want to contact with your proposal.
Q&A: How to penetrate the university textbook adoption process
Q: “I am a new author of a textbook on managing a construction firm. I have several adoptions by professors teaching construction courses at the college level, but I would like to penetrate the university market more. I have been making quiet contact through email to them. Is there a better way? I have attended an educators’ conference in construction and that has been a very good introduction to several people and plan to go back to their summer meeting.”
A: Myrna Bell Rochester:
“I am guessing that your book is with McGraw-Hill ‘Professional’ or ‘Trade’ (based in Chicago), and not with McGraw-Hill Higher Ed. (I write for both of them in a different field.) You are doing the right thing to make your book known, with your personal marketing and making contacts in your own area. Whereas the McGraw Higher Ed division has a very well developed marketing system, McGraw Professional doesn’t (to my knowledge) go to schools and universities to market individual titles.