Since the selling prices of textbooks keep rising these days, you might want to write one yourself. You may be a teacher too often unhappy with the quality of overpriced textbooks that don't even meet the needs of your learners, or you have deep expertise in a given area and are looking to put it all together into a useful guide.. Regardless, the world of textbook publishing has become much more accessible to academics and writers lately, which is why if you show a little patience and practice, there is no there's no reason why you can't get through the writing and publishing stages of your book.
Part 1 of 4: Prepare to write the manual
Step 1. Choose the topic
First, you need to determine the topic to be developed as well as the grade level of the learners for which the textbook will be intended. These two factors are essential, and you should take them into account as well as you decide on the form and the content of your work.
- Choose to write for a target that you already know well. If you've had to work as a college math teacher, you might not be able to reach college kids and get them across.
- If you still decide to write for a target that you don't know, you should consider hiring the services of a collaborator who knows it well.
- When deciding what topic to cover, try to identify areas that are not well provided in modern education. See if your book will fill an existing gap in the market.
Step 2. Do market research
Publishing textbooks is big business, even more so than publishing ordinary books or magazines. You will therefore need to do some research to find out which books already on the market are similar to yours and to determine their prices.
Find your key selling point. This determines what makes your textbook special. It must indicate what the latter brings more than other similar works. You will need to tell other teachers, who may become potential clients, as well as publishers, why they should prefer your book over others
Step 3. Chat with fellow writers
You should seek information from your colleagues who have had textbooks published in the past. You could ask them if they published it themselves or if it went through an editor. You should also find out how long it took them to complete the book and what information they wished they had when they started their adventure.
Step 4. Go for the mobile format
Most of the textbooks currently available are in the form of e-books. There are even some that are only available in this format although others have a physical format. You should therefore consider providing a mobile version of your manual for those who prefer this format.
Decide whether you are going to include a website in the manual where students can find hands-on exercises, or whether you are going to design fun games (especially for younger targets) that will speed up the learning process. It is important to take these additional elements into account
Step 5. Prepare to start a long journey
Writing a manual can be time consuming. Sometimes it can even take years from when you first do the sketches to when you go to the printing stage. Are you ready to invest that much time?
Find out if you are passionate about the topic you are discussing. If you are really invested in what you write about, you will find it easier to deal with the difficulty of the task. On the other hand, if you are just looking to make easy money, you won't feel that your time and effort put into this job is being paid for
Part 2 of 4: Writing your manual
Step 1. Make a first draft
Find the basic idea that will be the structure of your book. To do this, you can ask yourself some of the following questions.
- How many chapters will the book have? How will the different topics be distributed among the chapters?
- Will the chapters be independent of each other, or will they be related? Are students going to have to read one before moving on to the next?
- Will the chapters be arranged in increasing order of difficulty? When the student has finished reading the textbook, will the student be ready to move on to the next academic level in this subject?
Step 2. Know what to include
You actually need to determine the most important data to put in your textbook. It is very likely that you will not be able to include all the information relating to the subject in your book. For this, you should identify the most essential content and prioritize it.
- What are the objectives that need to be achieved in the course for which the textbook will be used? What skills will students need to have acquired? What do they need to know in order to be well prepared to understand the courses that will be delivered at the graduate level?
- Determine how your textbook will correspond to the standard exams that students are required to take during the year. Find copies of these exams so you can do it well.
Step 3. Make an outline of all the chapters
You might be tempted to finish an entire chapter before moving on to the next, but this can slow you down considerably, so you should avoid it.
- Instead, make a complete sketch of each chapter of your book. Once you have a full outline of each chapter, you'll be in a better position to understand how they fit together and where you need to add content as well as where you need to lighten up.
- Set a time limit for writing and stick to it. If you get into the habit of writing your textbook, say 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Thursday and Tuesday, you will be able to consistently do a certain amount of work. Avoid writing erratically over long periods of time.
- If you have a publisher-imposed deadline, don't procrastinate. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your task on time. To do this, set weekly goals that you will need to meet to meet the deadline.
Step 4. Insert the images in an attractive way
You have no interest in your students falling asleep in front of your textbook, as long paragraphs can be hard to digest. That's why you need to break up the monotony of pages by inserting pictures, charts or tables.
- Text entry programs like Microsoft Word might not be very suitable for inserting pictures into texts. You should therefore use software like Adobe InDesign which will allow you to add images to text.
- Take the time to familiarize yourself with Adobe inDesign and learn the basics. This will be useful if you decide to publish the manual yourself.
- If you want to include images or graphics in your work, make sure you have permission to use them. You could be taken to court for copyright infringement if you do not take this precaution.
Part 3 of 4: Prepare your manual for publication
Step 1. Use an editor
You could opt for a freelance editor, a publicist employed by a publishing house, or even a colleague who works in a similar field. Either way, you must have your work evaluated by a third party.
Your editor can help you find the best way to clarify or reorganize your content. It will also help you improve certain sentences in terms of word choice or grammar
Step 2. Publish your book
You can choose to publish your manual yourself, or go through a traditional editor. The main publishing houses are among others Editis, Belin, Bordas, Hachette, Hatier, Magnard and Nathan. The royalties to which you will be entitled by working with these publishers will generally be between 8 and 12% on each textbook sold.
- Visit the publisher's website to find out how you can use their services. There you will probably find guidelines for submitting one of your books or contacting the publisher.
- To get approval from a publishing house, you will need to submit your manuscript to them. This should usually include the title of the book and a summary of each chapter in one or two paragraphs. Be sure to highlight the content of your textbook and indicate how it will be important to the students you are targeting.
- Make sure the book matches your publisher's editorial line. You should therefore find out if he sells anything similar to yours. If so, that would be a good thing, as the publisher will no longer have to spend extra money to promote a subject different from what it usually talks about.
- If you are using a traditional publishing house, you will also have to resell your copyright to the publisher. You will therefore no longer have any rights to your work as soon as you sign a contract with it.
Step 3. Publish your manual yourself
As the publishing process at a publishing house can be taxing and ultra-competitive at times, more and more authors are choosing to publish their work on their own. This way of doing things often brings them more profit.
- Amazon recently entered the textbook publishing market. If you are an author and sell your textbooks on this platform, you will receive up to 70% of the royalties. This is more than 10% above the rates usually offered by traditional publishing houses.
- You could also make your book available on another e-book sales platform or publish it on your own website.
- When you choose to publish your manual yourself, you will not have to provide an overview of it and you also retain all rights to the work. On the other hand, it will be more difficult for you to make your work known to universities and schools.
Part 4 of 4: publish and sell your manual
Step 1. Market your textbook
If you go through a publishing house, they will take care of the marketing of your book. On the other hand, if you have decided to publish yourself, you will certainly need to develop a marketing strategy.
Step 2. Sell to your students
If you are a teacher, your students are your first and most logical customer base. Make your textbook mandatory for the course you are teaching and explain why you designed it.
Try to price your textbook at a significantly lower price than what would have been offered by a typical publishing house if you were the publisher yourself. You have no interest in your students or their parents coming to think that you are trying to take advantage of them
Step 3. Sell to your coworkers
If you have used your textbook in your classroom with satisfactory results, share it with your fellow researchers and teachers. Also offer to share small worksheets or lesson plans from the manual so that they can get a feel for it before buying it.
Step 4. Sell the book at business events
For example, if there is a big conference in your field every year, talk to the organizers to see if you can find a booth where you can sell your manual to colleagues who would like to have it.
If there are famous bloggers in your field who have a large following, you should also ask them to review your book and present it to their readers
Step 5. Get good reviews
You need to be able to show that other researchers and teachers have approved your book. This will give more credibility to both the book and yourself as the author.