Associate Executive Director's Messages
Every new member enriches our authoring community by expanding its breadth of knowledge and broadening its opportunities for networking and collaboration. You can help TAA grow its authoring community by giving gift memberships to your co-authors or colleagues.
Your gift recipient can take advantage of live audio conferences and webinars on textbook and academic writing, time management, publishing, working with co-authors, negotiating contracts, taxes, and more. He or she will also receive access to more than 70 podcasts available on these topics, available for download to an mp3 player or by listening directly on the TAA website.
Benefits specifically for academic author members include publication grants up to $1,000; a listserv to post questions and to get answers from fellow academic authors and industry professionals; and discounts on editing services. Benefits specific to textbook author members include a free consultation with an attorney specializing in intellectual property issues; a guide to contracts for assistance in negotiating a favorable contract; and a listserv to post questions and get answers from fellow textbook authors and industry professionals.
Your gift member recipient will also benefit from receiving the association's print member newsletter, The Academic Author, as well as the TAA eNewsletter to keep them up-to-date on timely news and upcoming events. They will also have access to an extensive archive of how-to articles and Q&As, as well as a mentoring directory for one-on-one advice from a veteran author.
For every $15 gift membership you give, you'll receive a $5 Starbucks gift card as a special thank you. So please help TAA grow its authoring community and give a gift membership today.
Please join us in beautiful
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
June 24-25, for the
association's 24th annual
conference. This year's
conference will feature 15
educational sessions on topics
such as academic writing,
changes in the publishing industry, textbook
contracts, royalty audits, collaborative
authoring, improving productivity, e-book
indexing, trademarks, finding images, and more.
TAA’s greatest strength has always been its members and their willingness to share their experience and expertise with their member colleagues.
The TAA Mentor-A-Member program is just one way to get involved in your association. If you are interested in learning about other ways to get involved, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAA will only remain strong as long as its members are willing to share their collective experience and expertise. For those members who have, I thank you. For those members who haven’t, I invite you to do so now.
This season's teleconference series started with Kathleen King's "Faculty Success: Tenure, Promotion & Merit Demystified." The second teleconference of the season was "BrandStoria: The Power of Your Unique Brand Story," by Sharlene Sones.
The third teleconference, "Fresh Eyes: How Working with an Editor Can Improve Your Work," by Laura Poole, will be held in March 10. Four additional teleconferences will be held in March and April. View the full schedule of upcoming teleconferences: Click here
If you missed or will miss any of these teleconferences, you can listen to or download them from the TAA web site: Click here
In fact, all past teleconferences are available for download on the TAA web site: Click here
You will need your username and password to register for or to listen to teleconferences. You can find your username and password on the membership card that was included in your New Member Packet, or you can contact me at email@example.com and I would be happy to send them to you.
Some of the 28 teleconferences available for download include:
All teleconference presenters are volunteers, who generously share their time and expertise with you. Most have also offered their time after the teleconference to provide one-on-one assistance. So if you are listening to a past teleconference, you can still contact the presenter if you have any questions.
If you have some expertise to share with your fellow members and would like to present a teleconference this fall, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
TAA's greatest resource is its members and both their questions and answers with regard to textbook and academic authoring issues
When a member asks a question, they are asking that question for hundreds of other members who may have been wondering about the same thing, and just haven't asked.
When a member answers a question, they are helping not only the member who asked, but the hundreds of other members who benefit form their answer.
Many of your questions come through our Textbook Authoring Listserv (TAATextbookAuthoring@mail-list.com) and Academic Authoring Listserv (TAAAcademicAuthoring@mail-list.com), which you were subscribed to when you joined.
Some questions that have been asked — and answered — through the Listservs include:
Other member questions come to us via email directly from a member, on the bottom of a New Member Application, on a Renewal Form, or on a Member Update Form. We work to get these members' questions answered by reaching out to other members within TAA that we know have the knowledge to answer that question, by reaching out to individuals outside of TAA who may have the answer, or by developing teleconference sessions or conference sessions that address those topics.
So for those of you have generously shared your expertise with other members by answering questions, a sincere thank you. For those of you who have a question, I invite you to "Q&A with TAA."
TAA is launching a direct mail campaign this fall to attract more textbook
Help TAA grow by sending us the names and mailing addresses of your friends, coauthors, and colleagues who are either current textbook authors, or who are considering writing a textbook.
The first 30 of you who send at least 20 names and mailing addresses will receive a copy of Self-Publishing Textbooks and Instructional Materials, by Franklin H. Silverman (donated by Atlantic Path Publishing). To qualify for the free book, all names and mailing addresses must be sent via email to me at Kim.Pawlak@TAAonline.net by October 1, 2009. Those of you who send 1-19 names will receive a coupon for $5 off your membership renewal rate.
As TAA?s textbook membership grows, so does the network of support it can offer you.
Why are we only seeking to attract textbook authors? Because we already reach out to academic authors thorough the sponsorship of academic authoring workshops held on campuses across thecountry. Although we attract many new textbook authors each year through TAA gift memberships given by current members, through textbook authors who visit the TAA website, and through textbook authors who attend the TAA annual conference, we need to develop a proactive effort to reach out to even more of them.
I also encourage you to renew your TAA membership if you have not already done so. The best way to keep TAA strong is to maintain your membership. If you are unsure of your renewal date and haven?t received a renewal notice, please contact me at Kim.Pawlak@TAAonline.net or (608) 687- 3106.
TAA's Teleconference Series continues to grow, with almost 200 people participating in the first four teleconferences of the season. Many more have listened to the recordings, which are available to TAA members (click here).
Not only are this season's teleconference recordings available there, but those of past teleconferences as well. They can be listened to online or downloaded onto your desktop and loaded into an MP3 player for listening on the go.
We have received some great feedback about the teleconferences so far. Of the February 10 teleconference, "Taxes and Authors -What You Should Know," presented by Robert M. Pesce, partner at Marcum & Kliegman LLP, TAA member Robert Ferrett, a computer textbook author, said: "I'd like to thank everyone involved for setting up today's teleconference on Taxes and Authors. I had not realized the amount of taxes that could be saved by creating a Subchapter S corporation. From what Robert Pesce said, I probably should have done this several years ago. However, this one teleconference probably paid my membership for life ..."
Judging from comments such as, "Thank you for your excellent teleconferences. As someone new [and not yet published] in this field, these have been an eye-opener. I tell everyone to join TAA because it's the best value in an Association that I know of!" and "Thank you for this 'just in time' training that I needed for my next project," it seems these teleconferences have filled a need for many of you.
We plan to continue to offer teleconferences and are already working to develop our schedule for fall 2009. Many of you have shared your ideas for future teleconferences in your surveys, and we appreciate your feedback. Keep it coming!
Every day I hear from members who are struggling to complete their writing projects or find a publisher, and are looking for some assistance. I suggest they seek the counsel of TAA's network of members through one of TAA's two Listservs, match them with a mentor, or point them to several other TAA resources. But I know that what they are really seeking is someone who can be there for them on a regular basis; someone who can hold them accountable for not moving forward on their writing projects, and who can be there to answer the myraid of questions they will have along the way.
While TAA offers all this and more, it is all being done from a distance; and for some members, that's not enough. They need more one-on-one interaction. To fill this gap, TAA recently developed a TAA Chapter system that provides a local support network for TAA members. A TAA Chapter is structured like a writing group, with regular meetings led by a Chapter Chair. Existing writing groups can also enhance their offerings by becoming a TAA Chapter.
TAA Chapters receive all the benefits of a TAA membership for each chapter member, plus a start-up grant of $500 to cover the cost of purchasing a library of textbook or academic authoring resource materials, and conducting a chapter recruitment event; a chapter website and listserv; 20 percent of each chapter member's dues returned each year; and for chapters with 30 or more members, one free TAA sponsored workshop each year.
TAA sponsored workshops include "Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar"; "Writing for Publication"; "Writing Grant Proposals"; "Academic Publishing"; "Destination Dissertation: Practical Strategies for Writing the Thesis or Dissertation"; "Sharing Results: Crafting an Article"; "Textbook Writing 101"; and "Developing a Textbook Proposal". Learn more about these workshops: Click here
TAA Chapters can be made up of textbook authors, academic authors, or both. TAA so far has two chapters, the TAA Alpha Chapter at MSU, Mankato, and the TAA Chapter at Mansfield University, PA. Each is led by a "Chapter Chair", willing to recruit members and to serve as a liaison between TAA and his or her institution and chapter members.
Authoring a textbook academic book, scholarly journal article or grant application can be a challenge if you don't have a support network. A TAA Chapter can help you connect with other authors so that you don't have to feel so isolated. It can also help you create a sense of community, find collaborators for joint projects, and provide you with accountability partners. By meeting regularly as a group, your chapter's members can not only provide each other with peer support, but share advice that can increase their writing skills to get their book projects completed, their grants funded, or produce more scholarly journal articles.
You may think you don't have the time to lead or participate in a writing group, but a writing group can actually help you manage your time better by helping you become more productive and challenging you to complete your projects.
Chapter members pay only $30 for a TAA membership, and existing members can join a chapter for no additional cost. A TAA Chapter can be started with as few as 15 members. If you're interested in starting a TAA Chapter, or just want some more information, please feel free to contact me at (608) 687-3106 or email@example.com
Let TAA help you get published this year.
I have been reading the various online articles regarding textbook piracy, used books, the high cost of textbooks, etc., and the comments on these articles (mostly by students). I have found that a few common currents run through each of these articles, and that many of them include information that is simply taken as fact from previous articles, comments made by the media, someone interviewed for the article, or other students, professors, etc.
Some of those common elements include:
The public arguments by publishers and authors against these claims have been thin. TAA and its members need to combat the misinformation repeated in the media with some equally compelling statements. The "other side" is using the human issue of the poor student struggling to pay for their education and the burden of textbooks. We need to use the human issue of the author and his or her motivations for writing textbooks, and uncover the truths behind all the misconceptions currently being repeated in media articles on this issue.
After working with authors for almost 15 years, I know that they sacrifice much of their free time and family time to produce a textbook that will help students learn a subject. Many do so with little profit. They begin working on revisions shortly after a book has been completed; researching new developments in their field and building a file of new content to be included in the next edition. The number one reason authors cite for writing a textbook is that they thought they could offer a new perspective on the subject. The second is that there was no textbook currently available on that subject. Students need to know the reality of what authors make from their textbooks. Most aren't driving around in BMWs on their royalties. View a recent Q&A with new and veteran authors at the 2008 TAA Conference: Click here
Perhaps we need to delve into how professors choose textbooks (with a survey maybe) to see if it is as random an act as the media portrays it to be. They always seem to quote professors who say they can't find a good textbook for their course, or say their students are disinterested in reading the textbook. We need to quote professors who carefully choose quality textbooks and use them in their courses and how those textbooks enhance student learning. I would welcome any insight you can offer into how you choose a textbook for your course, when you make that decision, and how much cost is a factor in that choice (e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Students need to understand that their efforts are not decreasing the cost of textbooks but raising it. For every used book that is sold, the publisher and creator of that work receives nothing. The used book industry is not some "do gooder" out to help the student save money, but to make money themselves. They buy books at a fraction of their original cost and sell them at a huge profit. A profit that goes directly in their pockets, and not a dime goes back to the publisher or creator of that work. Some even sell complimentary copies, which no one ever paid for, and others sell Instructor's Editions, which should never make it into students' hands.
Students need to be educated about how the textbook industry works. The publishing industry image has been tarnished in their eyes, and publishers need to make efforts to market to this group. What is the value of a textbook? Why should students keep their textbooks rather than sell them? Why do publishers print revised versions of textbooks? What goes into producing a textbook? The marketing needs to be done on the students' level.
Whether print, electronic, digital, or some other future distribution tool, the content needs to first be created. That is the element that gets lost in all the hype over the cost of textbooks. The argument that we need to move toward electronic books so that they can eventually be offered free to students misses the role of content creation. While some professors may want to labor over a textbook for free, they will not be able to distribute it by any means for free. If they don't pass on the cost of distributing it to the consumer, they will absorb the cost of a website, the time it takes to maintain it, and the time it takes to update the content of the book. How many professors are going to want to do that over time? Students need to be reminded of the old adage: "You get what you pay for."
I welcome your thoughts and discussion on this issue.
Starting in February, we began publishing The Academic Author monthly, rather than quarterly. I hope that you are enjoying the more frequent issues of your member newsletter, and that it has helped you stay more connected to TAA and your authoring. We welcome your comments about the newsletter, and would appreciate any suggestions for content. You can also submit articles for publication. We are accepting submissions of how-to articles, Writer's Block essays (essays on the writing life), columns (on textbook and academic authoring issues such as used books, open access, comp copies, etc.), and member news (you published a book, journal article, or other educational work; received a promotion or an award; etc.). For more information, or for writer's guidelines, contact me at email@example.com
You may have noticed that we have begun sending TAA News Alerts, our bi-monthly e-newsletters, via a Constant Contact html-based service rather than through the TAA Listserv. This decision was based on the feedback we received from members, who said they wanted to receive the News Alerts, but didn't want to receive messages from the Listserv, and they couldn't get one without the other. We also wanted to send TAA News Alerts in a more attractive, easy-to-read format. We hope you like the new News Alert format, and welcome your feedback.
TAA began holding bi-monthly teleconferences on March 6. They have so far received high ratings. A participant of the first teleconference, "Publish & Flourish: Become A Prolific Scholar", moderated by Tara Gray, said: "It was great!!! Thanks Tara Gray and TAA!" "I was surprised -- agreeably so -- by the small number of participants so that there could be individual attention and participation, and feel I've already received full benefit from membership and am recommending this to others. I'm glad I found you! Thank you." A participant of the second teleconference, "Royalty Q&A" moderated by Paul Rosenzweig said: "Thank you TAA for hosting the Royalty Q&A teleconference. I learned some useful information about royalty issues, especially how authors should negotiate clauses in contracts that permit the authors to review the books to ensure royalty statements are accurate. I look forward to future TAA teleconferences." A participant of the third teleconference, "A Coach's Perspective on Finishing Your Dissertation," moderated by Dave Harris, said: "Dave Harris offers a valuable perspective that doctoral students working on their dissertation need to hear. He provides important insights to help students get the most out of this learning experience and his insights ring true. He clearly breaks down the dissertation process into its component parts and provides practical advice for every student working on a dissertation. What most resonated for me were his comments to stop researching and start writing, and his statement that there are many voices and opinions out there, so in putting your ideas on paper, there will be others who disagree. And that is okay. I think doctoral students at any stage of their dissertation process will benefit from Dave Harris' teleconference."
(The last two teleconferences, "Don't Settle for A Publisher's Standard Contract: Terms You Can & Should Negotiate," moderated by Stephen Gillen, and "Tips and Tricks for the Do-It-Yourself Indexer," moderated by Seth Maislin, were held after press time.)
You can listen to recordings of all of the teleconferences here on the TAA website: Click here. More teleconferences are being planned for fall. If you would like to moderate a teleconference, or have a suggestion for a topic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (608) 687-3106.
We recently sent out a Member Survey via email. I would like to thank those of you who have already responded. I encourage the rest of you to take a few moments and fill out the survey. A print copy of the survey has been included in this issue. This information will help us shape future member benefits and services, and restructure current member benefits and services to better serve you. This is your association and we want you to be part of its growth and development. I look forward to hearing from you.
In print and email surveys that we conducted bettween September 2007 and January 2008, some TAA members told us they found The Academic Author to be one of the most valuable member benefits, while others said it was printed too infrequently.
As a result of that feedback, we have decided to begin publishing The Academic Author monthly rather than quarterly, starting this issue (except in the months of July and August).
This is just one example of the changes we have made in member communication and services in the past year, most of which were a result of member feedback. Here are several more:
I hope that you will continue to provide us with feedback, both by responding to surveys, and by contacting us directly at TEXT@tampabay.rr.com or (727) 563-0020. We're listening.
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