Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 15, 2021

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “A man’s mind, stretched by new ideas, may never return to its original dimensions.” As textbook and academic authors, our writing should not only stretch our minds, but the minds of our readers.

In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we explore what it means to write an academic argument, practical advice for conducting research, and differences in editing processes.

4 Paths to writing productivity and publication success

In his 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Organizing for Writing Productivity and Publication Success”, history author Kenneth Campbell shared organizational advice and tips based on his personal writing experience.  

Specifically, Campbell offered strategies and techniques for research and writing, time management, working with editors and publishers, and responding to peer review criticisms throughout the writing process. In conclusion, he encouraged participants to “focus on the contribution you are making to educating and enriching the lives of others” if the goal is success.

The author’s life jacket: Surviving publishing mergers and acquisitions

For many veteran authors and publishing industry professionals, like TAA members Karen Morris and Steve Gillen, mergers and acquisitions are not new occurrences in academic publishing. However, in light of recent announcements, including the pending merger of industry-leaders Cengage and McGraw-Hill, many authors are concerned about their own survival options.  

In their 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Mergers and Acquisitions Among Publishers: Authors Need a Life Jacket”, Morris shared her experience as a survivor of mergers throughout her career and Gillen offered perspective on what a merger may mean to the individual author, what they can do to protect themselves, and what to do after the deal is announced.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 15, 2019

Today marks the halfway point in Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) 2019. Most academics are also about a month away from the end of the semester and a holiday break. For Americans, we’re less than two weeks from the Thanksgiving holiday and everyone is a month and a half from a new decade.

There’s no question that this time of year brings with it a heightened sense of stress, urgency, and emotions associated with perceived “endings” and “new beginnings”. Our collection of articles from around the web this week cover many of the things academics face in their writing efforts and ways to promote success and satisfaction in the process.

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: June 21, 2019

At last week’s Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Philadelphia, there were some wonderful presentations and discussion on topics of inclusive access, textbook subscription models, open access, writing and publishing strategies, and the overall trends in the changing landscape of academic publishing. This week’s collection of articles from around the web extend that discussion with some of the same topics present in our list.

As you ponder the future of textbook and academic authoring and publishing for yourself, I encourage you to consider the thoughts of Rob Siltanen, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Here’s to changing the world. Happy writing!

Publishers: Getting to know you

Book publishing is the long game. Thinking of publishing in a short-term way will likely either get you discouraged or frustrated.

Of course, publishing starts with an idea and the desire to communicate it to your community. Once you are ready to act on it, a publisher (likely) needs to come into the picture. Authors may know the names of publishers in their field, usually from going to conference or speaking with their salespeople. But how do you approach them with your idea? I would suggest you start well before any proposal or actual discussion. Developing connections or relationships with publishers can pay off in many ways.

5 Questions to ask your publisher about their author websites

In today’s marketplace, authors need to be integrally involved with the marketing of their books, including making decisions about author websites. While many authors have the opportunity to use their publisher’s author website option, they should carefully consider whether that website offers the design elements, content features, and editing flexibility to best serve their needs.

Develop a master publisher and writing contacts list for your textbook

Since 1987, when Robert Christopherson signed the contract for the first edition of his now best-selling textbook, Geosystems, his textbooks have gone through five different owners, and he has had 14 different editors and hundreds of editorial assistants. “Such dynamics in the publishing landscape is quite typical of the industry,” said Christopherson, who textbooks are now published with Pearson.