For many textbooks, it’s essential that we think not just about the book but also about creating a high-quality suite of products for the instructors who will choose the text for their courses. Human Kinetics textbooks often include ancillaries such as instructor guides, test packages and chapter quizzes, and presentation packages. Student ancillaries, such as downloadable web resources and interactive web study guides, are also appropriate for some books. All of these products are delivered electronically through the Human Kinetics website. If your acquisitions editor has determined that ancillaries will be an asset to your book, here are some tips for ensuring their success.
1. Understand the importance of ancillaries.
The decision to include ancillaries is based on feedback collected from instructors. These are the people whose decisions on course adoption determine the sales of your book. Our marketing and sales staff consistently hear that instructors want substantive ancillary materials. Increasing teaching loads at many institutions and the diverse subjects many instructors cover make these materials even more valuable. A strong ancillary package can help your text win out over the competition.
2. Plan ahead and allow time.
If you are asked to write your ancillaries, plan to work on them as you are writing the book itself if possible. This will prevent a time crunch later on, when you will be busy with the book’s publication process. Budget time for the writing and revisions as well as final review of the copyedited text. If a colleague or freelance writer will create the ancillary materials, note that you will still need to review the manuscripts at some point. Work with your editor to identify the timing of your review and to fit it into your schedule alongside work on the book.
3. Draw on your teaching experience.
If you are writing ancillaries, your teaching materials may be a good place to start. Your experience with students and strategies for lecture and discussion are often good content for instructor guides. However, your materials will likely need to be expanded and developed as well as organized to match formatting requirements. If a freelance writer will create the ancillaries for your book, your professional connections can often help HK identify the right person. Graduate students or colleagues who are familiar with the subject area and your approach are often the best candidates.
4. Note length and formatting requirements.
Even though HK ancillaries are delivered electronically, the length requirements provided by your acquisitions editor are important. Too-short ancillaries don’t provide adequate value for instructors. Too-long materials jeopardize our ability to get the material copyedited, proofed, and formatted on time. For all ancillaries, aim for content of fairly consistent format and length in each chapter. For instructor guides, work with your acquisitions editor to identify the subsections that should be provided. For test packages, pay close attention to the types of questions that can be included, note limits on length, and provide correct answers for every question. Our test packages must work with test-creating software and be importable into online learning management systems, so the formatting must meet specific requirements.
With your help, Human Kinetics can produce the high-quality ancillary materials that will make your book stand out in the marketplace!