Why we write

Why we writeWhy are you writing? Next week is Peer Review Week which makes this a great time to discuss what may seem like a simple question. Perhaps all peer review (or all writing endeavors) should start with Why.

To fully understand what drives your effort as a writer, ask yourself why you are embarking on writing that article, textbook, monograph, etc. Here are some reasons that I have heard in the past. [Read more…]

Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: March 1, 2019

"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." ~Jane YolenJane Yolen reminds us to “Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” This week’s collection of articles from around the web provides some examples of just how to do that.

We begin our collection with a typical say in the life of five writers, planning scholarly visits, developing an academic home page, waiting on peer review, and counting down to thesis completion. We also found some articles of interest on the future of publishing platforms, books on pedagogy, and prioritizing organizational choices. Happy writing (every day)! [Read more…]

What motivates you to write?

What is the onecoffee and a corner booth thing you need when you sit down to write? I don’t mean the obvious pen and paper or computer, but that one other thing that you always have when you write? Maybe it’s a tall-soy-caramel-macchiato and a corner booth at the local coffee shop. Maybe it’s a stack of papers with all of your research, or an expanding file folder packed full, yet obsessively organized, with research material. Maybe it’s not even a physical thing or place. Maybe it’s nothing more than a seed of an idea or a spark of inspiration. [Read more…]

Register with the Authors Registry to receive secondary royalty payments from foreign organizations

The Authors Registry is a not-for-profit organization that distributes secondary royalties from foreign organizations to U.S. authors. The Registry was founded in 1995 by a consortium of U.S. authors’ organizations: The Authors Guild, The American Society of Journalists & Authors, the Dramatists Guild, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. To date, the Authors Registry has distributed over $22.5 million in royalties to over 10,000 authors living in the United States.

“Each year, hundreds of new authors are added to our lists and we attempt to locate and contact them to help them receive these royalties. We have great success rates, but sometimes these royalties go unclaimed,” said Terry King, Operations Manager at the Authors Registry.

The payments come from foreign and domestic organizations that collect secondary royalties for the use of authors’ works. They are collected from organizations such as the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, part of an extended collective licensing system in the U.K., and LIRA, the organization with the authority to collect and disperse fees for public library lending rights in the Netherlands.

To ensure that you receive any of these secondary royalties due to you, register with the Authors Registry by completing their Collection Authorization form here. You can also contact Terry King at 212-563-5904 and staff@authorsregistry.org or visit them on the web at www.authorsregistry.org.

Tax tips for authors: 3 Simple steps to organizing your business expenses

Tax Tips for AuthorsWhile it is understandable that most writers would prefer to concentrate their time on their writing, writing is a business and you will need to spend some time keeping the business of your writing organized and making sure you’re taking care of all of the tax deductions that you should be. The worst way to track your business expenses is to throw everything in a shoebox.

Here are three simple steps to staying organized so that at the end of the year you or your accountant can easily get the information needed for your tax return–from the fewest number of sources–to summarize the income and expenses related to your business. [Read more…]

Join us for the 2014 TAA Conference on Textbook & Academic Authoring

2014 TAA ConferenceWe invite you to attend TAA’s 27th Annual Conference on Textbook & Academic Authoring at the Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel in Camden Yards on June 20-21, 2014.

Network with the TAA authoring community, build your knowledge, and expand your publishing opportunities!

Participate in a wide variety of Textbook and Academic Authoring Sessions to help you improve your writing, negotiate better contracts, and learn new ways to become successfully published.

Network with fellow authors in the Hospitality Suite on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5:00 – 6:30 pm. and meet one-on-one with a veteran author or an attorney specializing in educational publishing. [Read more…]

Author Beware: Predatory scholarly journals, Insights on OA predatory publishing from Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall, Scholarly Initiatives Librarian at Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver

The increase in popularity of online scholarly journals has given rise to new open-access publishing models, including the gold open-access model, in which authors often pay to have their accepted papers published. While there are advantages to this model, according to Jeffrey Beall, author of Scholarly Open Access, a blog which tracks and critically analyzes questionable online open-access journal publishers, some online journals are exploiting this model by engaging in predatory practices that defraud authors and dilute the quality of the corpus of scholarly literature.

During his 2013 TAA Conference presentation, “A Primer on Predatory Open-Access Scholarly Publishers”, Beall, Scholarly Initiatives Librarian at Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, outlined several disadvantages to the gold open-access publishing model that have opened the door for predatory publishers to abuse the model for their own profit. [Read more…]

7 Tips for creating your own website

John Soares

John Soares

Writing College Textbook Supplements

It has become increasingly important for academics to create an online presence as a means of networking and marketing your work. One way to do that is to create your own professional website.

To reap the most rewards from your website, John Soares, a freelance writer and author of the popular Productive Writers blog (www.productivewriters.com), offers the following advice for each step in the process:

  1. Register a domain name. It is important to create a name that is easy to remember, is fairly short, and is related to the content on your site. You can reserve a domain name at any time—even if you’re not ready to create your website yet—in order to make sure nobody else beats you to it. As Soares suggests, “At a cost of only $10 to $12 each, it is worth the effort and expense to reserve a domain name that you may want in the future.”
  2. Select a hosting service. Using a large, national hosting service is recommended so that you will have access to tech support immediately if you need it. Soares uses hostgator.com for his own websites.
  3. Select software. Soares has long been a proponent of WordPress blogging software for personal websites, even for people who don’t intend to blog. WordPress is a good choice for beginners because it is easy to use and customize, and it is easy to set up for social media sharing and search engine optimization. WordPress is free and comes in two varieties—you can download the software yourself through WordPress.org and host your site elsewhere, or you can create a website that will be hosted by WordPress itself at WordPress.com. Creating a WordPress.com site is the quickest and easiest option, but Soares prefers to download the software through WordPress.org because sites created through WordPress.com have less customizability, must include “wordpress.com” in the domain name, and can be removed by WordPress for any reason. Blogger.com, another free and customizable blogging service, is very similar to WordPress.com in terms of both benefits and limitations.
  4. Design a professional looking website. Make sure the content and formatting on your site is professional and proofread everything carefully. To make your website look as sharp as possible, Soares recommends having your website professionally designed. A professional website developer can help create a site that is attractive, easy to navigate, and maximizes social media integration. “The cost for designing a basic WordPress site ranges from $100 to $500, and the cost goes up from there for a more elaborate site,” said Soares. “It is well worth the investment because it makes a site look more professional. When considering a designer, check references and look at other WordPress sites that designer has created.”
  5. Make your site easy to find. To increase the traffic to your site, learn about search engine optimization (SEO). You can start by learning the basics with a book, but since SEO strategies change frequently, Soares recommends consulting websites such as SEOmoz’s Beginners Guide to SEO or Search Engine Land to stay up-to-date. Another way to increase traffic to your site is to officially submit your website address to search engines Google and Bing. This way they are immediately aware of it and will start indexing key words from your website in their databases so that your page will appear in relevant search results.
  6. Set up social media share buttons. Social media share buttons allow others to share your content with their networks on social media, which can help build your site’s popularity. Soares recommends setting up social media share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  7. Optimize your traffic. Once your site is launched, your number one goal is to increase traffic. In addition to adding your website URL to your email signature and other print materials, you should also work to get reputable individuals and organizations to link to your site. If you write something for other someone else’s website, include a link to your site with your article, and be sure the content on your site is newsworthy so that related websites will link to yours as well.

Throughout this entire process, it is imperative that you make sure your content is interesting, relevant, and updated on a regular basis.

To see Soares’ tips in action and access more information on creating and improving websites, please visit his websites at www.productivewriters.com and http://writingcollegetextbooksupplements.com/blog/.