Your textbook isn’t being revised. Now what?

Just askIf your standard textbook revision cycle has come and gone, it doesn’t automatically mean that you aren’t being revised, and you can’t expect that your publisher will reach out to you either, so you’ll need to ask, says Donna Battista, vice president of content strategy for Top Hat.

“Get in touch with your publisher and just ask directly,” she says. “I think it’s always good practice to start from the perspective that everybody is going to work in good faith. Nobody wants to squat on your rights.”

Start with reviewing the revision clause in your contract to see what your options are, but if the publisher doesn’t plan for a new edition and you want to ask for your rights back it’s always best to ask for as much as possible, says Battista. “Know what you want to ask for, and then have an expectation that there are only certain things that they are required to release to you,” she says. The rights that will be returned to you are your intellectual property rights, or your content. [Read more…]

Words matter: Guidelines for pronoun usage

writing flowThere exists no attribute more central to the human condition than one’s identity. Our identity – whether it is cultural, professional, ethnic and national, religious, gender, or disability – is a central tenet of representation. It affects how we communicate with others and our communication about others. Thus, it is important that we as scholarly writers and professionals are as cognizant of the identities of our audience as we are of our own. [Read more…]

4/14 TAA Webinar, “Effective Organization Strategies for Developing a Textbook Chapter”

Eric SchmiederWriting and Developing Your College TextbookThinking about writing a textbook can be much like planning to climb a mountain. A daunting task that may be overwhelming and require both endurance and strength before even getting started. But what if I told you that like most major projects or journeys, the effectiveness of the whole is really defined by the quality of the small parts that get put together?

Join us Wednesday, April 14, from 2-3 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “Effective Organization Strategies for Developing a Textbook Chapter,” where TAA’s Membership Marketing Manager and author/co-author of several computer technology textbooks, Eric Schmieder, will share strategies for organizing your content at a chapter level in a way that defines your author style for content delivery. [Read more…]

Spring Your Writing Forward: Get a Month of Motivation in April

Accomplish your academic writing goals by focusing on two areas of academic writing that many authors tend to struggle with – isolation and accountability – with TAA’s new Month of Motivation program.

To combat the challenges associated with personal goal setting and accountability felt by many academic authors, we have developed a month-long motivational email series that begins with a personal pledge to meet your writing goals. Simply share with us your goals, anticipated challenges, and what TAA can do to help you succeed, and we’ll help move you forward with daily email messages containing motivation, encouragement, and resources to advance your writing efforts all month long. [Read more…]

Round up all those stampeding ideas

lots of ideasDo ideas flood your brain like a herd gone wild? Do you flail around, physically and metaphorically, trying to corral them and drive them into the barn? Are you going mad trying to figure out how to use them all?

I am almost constantly barraged by ideas for essays, stories, poems, novel slivers, quirky descriptions, and metaphoric pearls. Ideas surface everywhere: as I edit clients’ manuscripts, wash dishes, huff through workouts, wait on line, watch people, meditate, fall asleep, and even during tactful small talk at business dinners.

All the deluging ideas used to make me groan. Sometimes I’d even feel envious of writers who complained about their sparse fits of inspiration. I’d grouse internally that my ideas never seemed to stop. How would I ever get to them all, much less organize them or make something of them? Most would end up in a mass of ragged notes or on scraps stuffed under the scanner. [Read more…]

Accessible college textbooks: From problematical to profitable

Designers should always keep their users in mindFollowing is an excerpt of an article published by Robert Martinengo, Founder, Consumer Accessibility Information Label Association (CAILA). The article explains how publishers can serve the needs of college students with disabilities while making, not losing, money.

For years, publishers have been encouraged to produce books that are accessible to students with disabilities. Those advocating for accessible books include people with disabilities, naturally, and organizations that represent their interests. But the sector with pressing legal, practical, and economic interests in the accessibility of educational materials are colleges and universities. [Read more…]

Acronym Scrabble: Understanding your royalty statements

Milan, Italy - July 2, 2013: Scrabble is an Italian variant of the famous board game Scrabble, published in the late fifties by Aldo Pasetti and then by Editrice Giochi.Publishers love acronyms. They take up less space in their software programs and they are convenient to use in daily conversations. Royalty statements are not easy to interpret. When publishers use abbreviations, it can add to the already confusing task of understanding your statements.  To help authors better understand and navigate their statements, here we outline some of the most common abbreviations and terminology.

“ISBN” – International Standard Book Number.  You use this every day, but you may not have known for what it stands.  These numbers are purchased from the Library of Congress.  Any product sold by someone other than directly from the publisher must have an ISBN. [Read more…]

Fall 2020 TAA Writing Gym receives high marks

Writing GymThirty-five authors participated in TAA’s six-week Fall 2020 Writing Gym, which was held October 5-November 16. The gym included templates for tracking writing time and developing a six-week workout plan, a TAA Writing Gym-branded writing journal, weekly inspirational emails, 6 on-demand writing classes, several writing stations that allowed participants to target specific writing areas, and a Facebook Group for networking with other gym members.

In a survey sent out after the close of the fall gym, the majority of respondents gave the gym 5 stars. “The weekly writing classes and blog articles in the Writing Gym were very helpful, especially those about time management, managing multiple projects, and revising,” said participant Andrew Reyes. Participant Su-Jin Jung said: “I appreciate your support of my writing. I got lots of writing done during 6 weeks.”  [Read more…]

Time Management Survey respondents cite prioritization, procrastination issues as biggest challenges

Time ManagementAs part of writing coach Mary Beth Averill’s TAA webinar on time management this month, we surveyed members anonymously on their time management challenges.

When asked what they saw as their biggest time management challenges, respondents highlighted scheduling, exhaustion, estimating how long their projects will take, and prioritizing. One person wrote, “waiting to the last minute and finding the project is bigger than I anticipated.” Another pointed out time of day: “First thing in morning: rituals of Internet headlines and email checking.” And, as academics, they have to answer to competing priorities: “The amount of service work required in academic work. Calculating how much time it takes to do things. Prioritizing my own work.” [Read more…]

Nominations for the 2021 Textbook Awards now open

2021 TAA Textbook AwardsNominations for the 2021 Textbook Excellence Award (“Texty”), McGuffey Longevity Award (“McGuffey”), and Most Promising New Textbook Award, will be open September 1 to November 1.

For more than 20 years, TAA has supported textbook and academic authors through these highly-recognized awards, given annually to emerging and veteran published authors in eight subject categories. [Read more…]