So many choices

Envision your final product before you start writing. See the package. Imagine all the different formats. It could impact how you write.

Most people seem to be publishing a print version and an eBook version of their work. That sounds simple. But is it?

I have put together a chart of my two favorite print providers, Lulu and Createspace. This is not a legal-and-forever kind of description. I just pulled info together for my own benefit. The print choices are staggering.

Your words are unique. Make your format just as unique, but appropriate to your message and attractive to your customers. (Be sure to keep reading. Yes, I know it is a long list.)


The next thing I am excited about is Glass Tree Academic Publishing.

Glass Tree challenges the traditional academic publishing model by placing academics in complete control of their content, accelerating time to market and reversing an exploitative revenue model allowing academics to actually profit from sales of their work.

 Glass Tree will provide free tools for book publication, extensive subject matter taxonomies, complimentary promotional tools and free distribution to a global network of online bookstores. Additionally, authors will have access to an array of competitively priced supplementary services including book editing, translation, peer review and marketing assistance.

 Through the use of print-on-demand technology and Lulu’s global network of printers, Glass Tree minimizes production costs resulting in a high-quality, affordable product that can be printed and delivered anywhere in the world in a matter of days rather than months – regardless of the quantity needed.

 You control your work. You own your copyrighted material and choose the license under which it is published. You determine the publication date, set the retail price and earn 70% of profits from the sale of your work. When discoveries are made in your field that warrant a new edition, you choose when to update, revise and republish ensuring your content is always up-to-date in the ever-changing academic environment.

Why is that exciting? Years and years and years ago, I taught workshops for faculty and staff at a large university. Many instructors, or their staff, took the PageMaker classes. I can tell how young you are if you don’t recognize that name. It has evolved into InDesign.

They were there because faculty wanted to produce their own classroom materials. Many of them were creating lab workbooks–but certainly not all. What they all were was visionaries. They wanted to create their own learning materials.

I still laud that. Just as I laud the kindergarten teacher who opts to hand-craft the materials for her classroom bulletin boards, rather than buy mass-produced materials.

Back when I was teaching PageMaker, the issue became print production. There was a printing plant on campus where instructors could print…most things. But, that meant the instructor had to be involved in the vending process. Some tenacious folks figured out that they could pay for the printing, especially if they had discretionary grant money. Then they could sell their texts to the campus bookstore, who would then sell them to students.

No faculty member ever wanted to become a bookstore.

With Glass Tree, they can produce and print higher quality textbooks and the students (or the campus bookstore) can buy the printed copies directly from Glass Tree. It solves so many issues for faculty and their staff.

If I were a professor today, I would love this. It means no longer waiting for a traditional publishing house to hire textbook writers, go through the editing process en masse, and then printing and distributing and so on.

It does not mean the quality of content will be less. It means it can be more current. It means texts that more accurately mirror the professor’s message. It means an entire course can be based more on a textbook based on the course lectures, and vice versa.

Students should really get on board with this. The text can now be fully, or more fully, used. Everyone has taken classes where only certain chapters of a very pricey textbook were used. Then, after all that money students spent, they had to traipse to the library to read an endless list of selected readings that say what the professor wished the textbook said. But, didn’t. Often, again, because the textbook was out of date or did not fully cover the topic of the course.

It wasn’t a bad textbook. The faculty did not choose the wrong textbook. It’s just that a textbook doesn’t always fit a course perfectly.

The worst possible class is one where the instructor teaches to the textbook. Is it a class based on a topic, or is it just a semester-long book review?

I have seen new/inexperienced instructors opt to use the previous instructor’s textbook or, worse yet, use the textbook their own professor used for the class a decade ago.

Then, they numbly took their class through the book, chapter by chapter. It was a book review. That is not teaching.

Teachers love teaching. They don’t necessarily love book clubs which is what that kind of class quickly becomes.

Lively teaching encourages students to think. It brings together different viewpoints. It sparkles. Like Glass.

I can’t wait to see Glass Tree. I ghost write textbooks. (Yes, I am perhaps part of the problem.) I know there will be exciting formatting to be done.

I admit that I do not read books that do not have an index. It is not always easy to format an index. It takes work. It takes a keen understanding of the subject. Creating index for someone else’s book means envisioning what the instructor and student will need in order to quickly locate content.

So, put on your Styling Hat. There is fun stuff coming down the pike.

Glass Tree. From Lulu. Did I mention that I am a big fan of Lulu?