Textbook Writing 101: An Interview with Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler

Michael Spiegler is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Providence College. A successful textbook and academic author for more than 40 years, he is the author of 16 textbooks, including Personality, now in its 8th edition, and Contemporary Behavior Therapy, now in its 5th edition, both of which have been groundbreaking as textbooks and in redefining essential conceptual perspectives in their fields. Spiegler has also authored a professional book, 14 book chapters, and 21 articles and has delivered more than a 120 professional presentations.

As a sponsored presenter in TAA’s workshop program, Spiegler offers a textbook authoring workshop entitled Textbook Writing 101. Here he shares some of his textbook writing insights and tips. [Read more…]

How to pitch your textbook proposal to a publisher

Jean Lukesh (Ed.D., Teaching, Curriculum, and Instruction), author of the award-winning history textbook, The Nebraska Adventure, says she learned how to pitch a textbook proposal by attending the Denver University Publishing Institute (DUPI), from pitching her own multi-award-winning textbook to a publisher, and from doing a bit of publishing for others. She shares what she has learned:

Do your research: Find a textbook publisher (by looking online, in school catalogs, on school shelves, at teacher references, in writers’ market/resources, etc.) who publishes textbooks that best match your educational philosophy and your chosen layout or style. “Start first with the ONE publisher who matches you and your book best,” she says. “Go to others, one at a time, if you need to do so.” [Read more…]

What is the likelihood of a textbook publisher ‘cloning’ your textbook?

Q: “I am working on a different kind of developmental mathematics textbook. It is very difficult, nowadays, to distinguish between current Mathematics textbooks. Mine looks, feels, and reads in a very different unique way. I’ve presented it to one publisher and they are interested. I know that it is to my advantage to approach other publishers, however, should I be concerned that if I do, that they will ‘clone’ my text?”

A: Michael D. Spiegler, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Providence College:

“If you have a good way of approaching the subject matter, others will imitate once your book comes out. You may have an edge as the original. And you’ve made a contribution to the students in your field beyond just your book. It may be possible to get a publisher to sign an agreement stating that they will not come out with a book that clones yours for a given time period. I’ve heard of this being done with other ideas and industry. I’d suggest you consult with a good intellectual property lawyer on this idea. And remember, imitation is the highest form of strategy (or something like that).” [Read more…]