June 30, 2011
We at Eleven Learning are officially announcing our intention to publish a series of short-form textbooks. I say “officially” because it’s something we’ve discussed internally for a while, but we haven’t pulled the trigger until now. Since it’s possible that we could un-decide to do this, I’m going public with a call for authors before my colleagues can stop me. Muahaha.
So what, you might ask, is a “short-form textbook?” Here to explain, without further ado, are my good friends Bullet 1 and Bullet 2:
- Short-form textbooks are tightly-focused texts that capture the essence of a well-defined subject area. 100-300 pages should be sufficient for a deep dive on a particular field. Many disciplines have a dominant, 1000-page textbook that is still weak in certain areas: a short-form textbook can serve as a companion to fill that gap. Unlike the ‘concise’ editions published by conventional publishers, our shorter titles will be no less rigorous than a standard text: they will feature the pedagogy, exercises and problem sets found in a bigger book.
- This is the approach that we’re asking authors to take: think about how you would distill your expertise into a textbook that you could use to give your Thanksgiving dinner guests a meaningful understanding of a particular subject.
So, who wants to be a short-form textbook author?! Before you answer that, here are a couple more bullets:
- We’re an open source publisher
- We publish under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike 3.0 license (CC-BY-NC-SA)
- This means that there will always be a free version of your book available. We charge money for premium print and online versions of the book;
- Like traditional publishers, we pay royalties on the sales of those premium versions;
- Unlike traditional publishers, we view our authors as partners, so we pay much higher royalty rates. As high as 25%, depending on sales.
- We provide editorial and marketing expertise
- Your manuscript will be part of our peersourcing peer review process, done online in collaboration with potential adopters of your book;
- Working with both you and the reviewers, we help spread the word about your book to the instructors in your field.
- We are currently recruiting authors for books in computing, math, and social sciences. We’re happy to entertain other ideas if you want to make a case for them.
Still interested?! Good! The last set of bullets cover what you should provide so we can consider your idea:
- An outline that is broken out to at least the “A” heads (major sections within a chapter);
- A 1-paragraph description of the content of each chapter;
- An overview of the audience for the book, and the course(s) it might be used in;
- A quick comparison to current titles on the market, and the gap it’s filling;
- A brief overview of any special features, pedagogy, problem sets, etc.
Questions? Need more info? Want to submit an outline? Email me, and together we’ll solve the Textbook Problem.