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Author’s Guide

Part 1. Developing a Book Plan

1.1 Introduction

Before you signed the Author Agreement to produce your textbook, you most likely created a proposal and possibly sample materials. It is now critical to have a plan for your work that you and the publisher agree to and can refer to as the product develops.

When we publish your text, we don’t want to publish a single edition; we hope that the book will be successful enough to last through several editions. What can set your text apart from others in the field? Look within yourself to incorporate some aspect of the field about which you are especially knowledgeable or passionate.

You may reveal this uniqueness through pedagogy, writing style, special experiences, or through research. Are you an acknowledged expert on a topic?

student groupYour special qualities or qualifications can usually be converted into something that will work in a textbook. If you do a lot of consulting, you may have some wonderful examples that can become mini-cases. If you have worked for years in a field, you may understand the “realities” of a job-task or procedure versus what is written in a technical service manual. If you have special knowledge, it can become a theme for the book—highlighted through boxes or integrated with special headings. Are you good at coming up with analogies that help your students understand complex topics? Reviewers sometimes indicate that an author has explained a topic or presented information extremely well. Perhaps you can build on that.

Spend time analyzing competitors’ texts. Always remember to ask yourself why your book is needed in this field, and use the answers to create a book that is different and better than the others on the market.

Click here to download this information as a PDF.

1.2 Guidelines For Writing A Book Plan

The book plan should contain the following information:

  1. The general theme, approach, or application of the book. Meaning should be attached to whatever theme you use.
  2. The general organization of the contents. More than just the listing of contents, you should have an understanding of why the contents are put into a certain order.
  3. The pedagogical organization within chapters. While it is generally advisable to go from “general” to “specific,” there are many variations. Having a plan, or template, may make a book more consistent and easily used by students.
  4. Chapter features. Listing the features and using them as a guide for each unit may help you be more consistent in their use.
  5. Artwork. It is critical to determine the sources and types of art to be used at the outset. This will help maintain the publisher’s budget, save you time and aggravation, and give you a far better chance of creating a book you will be pleased with.
  6. There are many other features you and your AE may discuss and agree to add to your book budget. See the link at the end of this section to download the supporting PDF.
  7. In some markets, ancillaries (or supplements) may drive sales of the product.
  8. Feature-Benefit Analysis. A feature is an aspect or element of your book that provides pedagogical value.

Click here to download a PDF for more details on how to write a book plan.

Other helpful documents:

Marketing Questionnaire

Permission Request Form

1.3 Guidelines For Writing Promotional Copy

The following are elements that should be present in the Preface of your book. Please note that not all of these elements will be applicable to your book, however, you should include as many as possible to give an accurate and complete description of the content.

  1. Introduction
  2. Organization of the Text
  3. Features
  4. New to this Edition (for revisions)
  5. Supplemental Package/ancillary materials (if applicable)
  6. About the Author
  7. Conclusion
  8. Acknowledgments

The following are elements that should be present in the Back Cover Copy of your book.

  1. A description of the book
  2. A list of features
  3. For revisions, a list of what’s new to this edition.

Click here to download a PDF for more details on writing promotional copy.

Other helpful documents:

Back Cover Copy Sample 1

Back Cover Copy Sample 2

1.4 Developing Your Art Program

Developing a good art program can be one of the most challenging tasks for authors.  It is also one of the most important components in developing a marketable textbook.

Two critical aspects of creating a successful art program for your textbooks are understanding student needs as well as how competing books are illustrated.  Please note that your desire for a highly illustrated text must be balanced against the project budget as determined by your AE.

The following are items to keep in mind when developing your art program:

  1. Choose the right type of art: illustrations and photos need to be functional or instructive. 
  2. The importance of managing the size of your art program.
  3. Provide sample files for author-created illustrations.

Click here to download a PDF for more details on developing an art program.

Other helpful documents:

Sample Art Log

 

 
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