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Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide

Writing and Developing Your College TextbookBy Mary Ellen Lepionka, Sean W. Wakely, and Stephen E. Gillen

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Textbook & Academic Authors Association, 2016
eBook - ePub | Pages: 538 | Edition: 3rd | ISBN: 978-0-9975004-2-4

Online Course on Writing and Developing a College Textbook

Get support on writing your first textbook with TAA's new online course on Writing and Developing Your College Textbook, based on part 3 of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide. Whether you are writing a textbook for a traditional publisher, self-publishing, or writing an open-access textbook, this course covers everything you need to be successful.

"When I first started writing my textbook, I discovered Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide. I read the book, highlighted sections, typed out my own notes, and referred to it regularly over the next two years as I developed my own textbook. I can’t imagine a better guide to writing a textbook!
- Lisa Daniels, Professor of Economics, Washington College

"TAA and the authors have done a wonderful service to us all—textbook, academic, and even trade authors—with this seminal, blood-and-guts guide to the art, craft, and work of authoring. Even though I signed my first contract in 1987, I read every word of this valuable new book and took pages of notes to guide me forward!"
- Robert Christopherson, author of Geosystems, 9e

"This guide is an essential tool for anyone interested in writing textbooks, from beginner to seasoned veteran. It’s like having a group of trusted mentors sitting on the edge of my desk." - Kevin Patton, author of Anatomy & Physiology (9e). Read the full review on his blog, TheTextbookAuthor.

"I’ve authored two TAA-award winning texts, co-authored two more, and contributed to another dozen, but I still found plenty of tips and useful information that I will apply in my next project. My only wish is that I’d had this book 10 years ago. Every current and hopeful textbook author should read this book and every publisher should buy it for their authors." - Lorraine Papazian-Boyce, author of Pearson’s Comprehensive Medical Coding: A Path to Success, 1e

See what more readers are saying

Writing and crafting a textbook and attending to authoring tasks is a time-consuming, complex—some would say monumental—project, even harrowing at times. This updated and expanded third edition will empower you to undertake textbook development by guiding you through the nuts and bolts of the development process, and providing essential background information on the changing higher education publishing industry, as well as how to choose a publisher, write a textbook proposal, negotiate a publishing contract, and establish good author-publisher relations.

WDYCT sample download buttonYou'll also get 22 samples and templates, and in a new feature called "Author to Author", you'll get an inside look at how many of the concepts introduced in the book have been put into practice by successful textbook authors.

The book is divided into three sections:

Part 1 - Understanding the Higher Education Textbook Publishing Industry

The three chapters in this section, written by Sean Wakely, cover the evolving higher education textbook publishing industry, how college textbooks are published, and how to capture publishers' interest.

Part 2 - Negotiating Your Textbook Publishing Contract

This one chapter section, written by Stephen Gillen, covers steps to getting an offer, establishing a positive relationship, and what to know before negotiating your agreement.

Part 3 - Writing and Developing Your College Textbook

This 11-chapter section, written by Mary Ellen Lepionka, covers why your textbook needs development, how to write to reach your true audience; how to establish an effective authorial voice; why you need learning objectives; why heading structure matters; developing your pedagogy, apparatus and feature strands; how to make drafting and revising easier; how to attend to permissions and presentation; and putting it all together. 

View the Table of Contents
View Media Kit

Watch Mary Ellen Lepionka's webinar, "Creative Self-Help for Textbook Authors"
Watch Stephen E. Gillen's webinar, "20 Tips & 20 Questions for Your Next Textbook Deal"

Read Sean Wakely's blog post, "Trends in College Textbook Publishing: 5 Trends for Navigating the Digital Transition"
Watch an interview with the authors, "Author Q&A: Writing and Developing Your College Textbook"

Read these blog posts by Mary Ellen Lepionka:

About the Authors

Mary Ellen LepionkaMary Ellen Lepionka of Gloucester, MA is a retired publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with a Master’s in anthropology from Boston University and Ph.D. work at the University of British Columbia. In 1990 she worked in higher education publishing as a developmental editor of college textbooks, principally for Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education. Between 2002 and 2011 she established Atlantic Path Publishing as a retirement business and published two editions of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook and related titles. She presently is an independent scholar writing a history of Native Americans on Cape Ann.

Sean WakelySean W. Wakely is Vice President of Product and Editorial at FlatWorld. He began his career as a sales representative for Allyn & Bacon and was a top-performing acquisitions editor and editorial manager at Pearson Education and Houghton Mifflin's college division. In several senior executive roles at Thomson Learning and Cengage Learning, including president of Wadsworth Publishing and manager of National Geographic Learning, Sean successfully guided editorial, product, marketing, production, and digital media teams to achieve industry-leading growth.

Stephen Gillen
Stephen E. Gillen
teaches Electronic Media Law at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. He worked for nearly 20 years in publishing prior to entering private practice in the middle 1990’s. He is presently a partner at Wood Herron & Evans (a 145-year-old Cincinnati law firm focused on intellectual property) where he concentrates his practice on publishing, media, and copyright matters. He is a long-time member of the TAA Council and a regular speaker at TAA conferences.