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So, You Want To Write A Textbook?

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade Outside of Class

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1006.1 - 7.1006.12



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Paper Authors

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Donna Summers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 1675

So, You Want to Write a Textbook?

Donna C.S. Summers University of Dayton


For many of us, the idea of writing a textbook is appealing. But, even as we dream of the ideas we would like to convey, we aren’t certain about the concrete steps in the process. Even more mystical is what happens once we turn our manuscript over to the publisher. Writing a textbook is a rewarding experience and a wonderful outlet for creativity. Writing a textbook is an opportunity to serve your profession by further disseminating knowledge in your field. Writing a textbook allows you to enjoy the challenge of translating ideas into words. Writing a textbook is also a demanding and occasionally tedious job which requires a lot of attention to detail. Writing a textbook requires commitment and passion.

What does it take to write a textbook? Attention to detail. The author and publisher must make many decisions concerning the content and style of the text. The type of material to be presented and the particular audience for the text will have a significant effect on the pedagogical details. Several excellent texts exist which describe pedagogy and learning styles. This paper discusses the traits common to all texts: content, audience and readability. The paper also provides a flow chart showing the basic steps in the process of taking a text from prospectus to publication; the process of creating, editing, and publishing a textbook for the college market from an author’s point of view.

The Makings of a Good Book: Content, Audience and Readability

The overriding purpose of a textbook is to enable learning. Throughout the writing process, there are three critical components that the author and the publisher must focus on in order to create a textbook that supports learning: the audience, the content, and the readability of the text.

The Audience

Essentially, the author has two primary customers to keep in mind: the reader and the educational professional using the text. The educational professional will have a variety of reasons for selecting a particular text. These reasons will revolve around a text’s Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Summers, D. (2002, June), So, You Want To Write A Textbook? Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10075

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