What Will I Earn As a Textbook Author?

Research what it takes to become a textbook author. Learn about the education requirements, job duties and salary to find out if this is the right career for you. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Textbook Author Do?

Usually, textbook authors start with an idea for a book, write a few chapters, prepare a proposal, find a publisher and then complete the text. They may do it for the financial rewards or to support the goals of the institution for which they teach. Their work typically involves extensive research into a particular subject. Their research may include interviews with experts in the field, historic documents and more. Their work must be credible and properly cited. Once a publisher has agreed to print the textbook, textbook authors usually work closely with an editor to ensure that the material meets the desired expectations and is ready for publication. Below is a table that lists the general requirements for becoming a textbook author.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Key ResponsibilitiesDevelop an idea for a book,
find a publisher,
write a query,
act as independent contractor
Job Outlook (2014-2024)*Writers and authors: 2%,
technical writers: 10%
Median Salary (2015)*Writers and authors: $60,250,
technical writers: $70,240

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Submit My Elementary Textbook to a Publisher?

Methods vary. Some publishers accept queries or submissions only through an agent, while others will accept author queries. A number of publishers will seek your manuscript, chapter samples, or artwork.

The publisher defines what constitutes an acceptable query. In general, you'll need to state your credentials and briefly describe the book, including the age of the target audience or grade level. Finally, you'll likely need to include a table of contents and a specified number of chapters. You may also be expected to explain how your book will be different from other authors that have written on the same topic. If you're submitting a manuscript, publishers may request a cover letter that includes much of the same information as a query, including a page count and description of areas covered in the manuscript.

Occasionally, publishers may accept you as an independent contractor. In this situation, your name and specialty are kept on file and you will be contacted if they have a writing assignment. To be placed on their lists, you need to present a resume and writing sample. The publisher will let you how many pages to submit. Publishers generally accept queries and submissions only by mail, although some publishers will also accept them by email.

How Do I Submit My College Textbook to a Publisher?

All college textbooks require a query. Each publisher has a detailed submission guideline. One of the items that publishers look for is a short overview that describes the book and how it's different from competitive books. You may be expected to state what teaching strategies you'll use; what kinds of charts, graphs or illustrations will be included; the number of pages you anticipate the book to be; and other sections of the book you expect to include, such as appendices or glossary.

Another section commonly requested is a table of contents or an outline. Sometimes, a publisher will ask that this be annotated. The market type for the book (e.g., reference, professional) and what course or courses the book would be useful for are also something to have ready for submission. You may be asked for suggestions regarding how to reach your intended market. Publishers will likely ask when you expect the book's first draft to be completed and if sample chapters are available.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

There are no statistics available strictly for textbook authors. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) lists the median income for writers and authors in 2015 as $60,250 annually with a 2% job growth predicted between 2014 and 2024. College textbook authors might sometimes fit better in the category of technical writers. The median income for technical writers in 2015 is given as $70,240 with an estimated job growth of 10% between 2014 and 2024.

How Would I Get Paid?

In general, authors are paid either by royalty (a small percentage for each book sold) or by an agreed-upon flat fee. As an elementary school textbook author, you'll most likely write under a contract as an independent contractor with a flat fee. If you write for the college level, you will probably work on a royalty basis. However, you'll not usually get a monthly check if you get royalties. Publishers generally pay royalties only annually or biannually. Some publishers pay when your royalties have reached a minimal amount, such as $50 or $100.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Editors, public relations specialists and fundraising managers are some related careers that require a bachelor's degree. Editors work closely with writers and authors to prepare their work for publication. They check writer's work for grammatical errors and readability. Public relations specialists are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive public image of a particular organization. They typically achieve this through media releases and advertisements that inform the public about the organization. Fundraising managers oversee the events and campaigns meant to increase the funds or gather donations for a particular organization. All of these careers require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Ohio Christian University

    Ohio Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ohio Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »