Textbook Independence Day!

Well, it’s official, finally: McGraw-Hill and I have seperated ways. The signed and sealed copy of my “TERMINATION LETTER” was in my school mail box today. I’m finally free (well, sort of….)

In a way, this process is a little version of the way the whole thing with McGraw-Hill went, especially in terms of the time line.

  • In December 2005, things weren’t going well, and we had a mutual “parting of the ways,” so to speak. At the time, they said if I wanted the book back, I’d have to give them the advance. Needless to say, I was not happy about that.
  • In March 2006, I talked with some folks (no publishers, just people) at the CCCCs and, because they thought I was getting a raw deal here, they encouraged me to ask for my book back again. So in early April 2006 or so, they decided they could set me free.
  • They sent me the frightfully titled “TERMINATION LETTER” at the end of April 2006. In brief, it says all the rights revert back to me, but if I sell it to some other press and/or figure out another way to make money off of this, then McGraw-Hill is entitled to the advance they gave me. Seems like a reasonable deal to me.
  • I signed this document on May 8, 2006.
  • The folks at McGraw-Hill signed it between May 30 and June 1, 2006.
  • The envelope indicates it was mailed on June 30, 3006.

In short, I couldn’t even get TERMINATION in a timely fashion.

Anyway, I’m going to let bygones be bygones and bask in my new textbook independence to do… what, exactly? Well, I haven’t completely decided, but I’m not interested in going through the whole textbook revision process with another press. Because while I would ultimately describe my experiences with McGraw-Hill as “bad,” I’m not convinced that any other textbook publisher would treat me a whole lot better. Some other publisher would send the thing out to a group of readers and then want me to make revisions based on every little whim of the 10 or so readers roped into reviewing my book in the first place.

So, not interested in all of that rig-a-ma-roll but still interested in making my book accessible (at least to my students and myself), I think what I’ll probably do is throw it all up on a web site some place. I don’t have the time or energy to format it for the web, so I think what I’m going to do is just try to clean up a few things here and there and then post it all as a series of PDFs.

Oh, and I’m gonna change the title. One of the sets of reviews came back with two or so readers who said something cryptic about wanting more info on “critical thinking.” So one of my editors insisted suggested that I title the book Thinking Through Research. I’ve never been crazy about that. So I’m going back to my original title, The Process of Research Writing.

Hey, it’s my book. I can do whatever the hell I want.

Anyway, stay tuned for more details and free and open availability of the complete manuscript.

7 thoughts on “Textbook Independence Day!”

  1. Congrats Steve on your newly-won freedom from TEXTBOOK HELL. I too have gotten various psychos at Routledge where my book resides who demand/suggest things that have already been decided months ago. There’s some sort of Dr. Strangelove in charge of the lackeys who deal with us writers who can’t seem to get anything straight. Oh well, I wasn’t planning on doing another book so once is enough.

  2. Yes, nice that the rights issues worked out and you can now do something with it. Like you say, whatever you want. Good to hear it.

  3. I’m curious. Did the book have chapters titled Thinking Critically About Research? Understanding and Using the Library and Internet for Research? and so forth?

  4. Congrats! If you haven’t done so already, I think that http://www.lulu.com is just the answer you’re looking for. I’ve purchased a couple of books from them, and they are a very fast POD service. Good luck!

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