The title page of a textbook is one of countless steps that must be taken to create it. (Image credit: Arallym)

Are you a college instructor or a longtime professional in a certain field? Have you ever thought about writing your own textbook on a subject with which you are confident and knowledgeable about? If so, there are several factors you should consider before moving forward with this task.

The first thing you should do is come up with a niche for your textbook. What this means is narrowing down exactly what you want to write about. For example, “science” is far too broad a subject. Even “chemistry” is a little to general. But if you zone in on a subject such as the periodic table, you’re more likely to find fewer publications on a topic that is not as wide-ranging.

The next step is to do research – a lot of research. You’ll need to research your subject, of course. You’ll need to research what other similar books are out there and how well they have sold on the textbook market. You should check into different book publishers to find out which ones can give you the best deal in terms of cost to publish and efficiency on how many copies can be printed. Since digital textbooks are more prevalent than ever, this is something you’ll need to find out about as well. Plus you should determine who your specific audience for the book might be and do some market research on that particular demographic to craft the text so it appeals to these particular readers. Research is probably the most time-consuming step in the book publishing process.

Once you are confident in writing extensively about your subject, know who is likely to read it, and know who might publish it. The process of putting the book together comes next. This involves a lot more than simply writing the textbook. You must have a layout for the book, including a cover image, a table of contents, graphics, a bibliography, and a backing to the book. If you aren’t a visual thinker, you’ll need to consult with graphic artists and designers and publishing companies to make sure the images in the book complement the text effectively. Write chapter by chapter and stay organized as much as possible. There are resources from publishing companies and other outlets on how to actually lay out a textbook. This process is vitally important to make the book marketable for a mass audience, such as the popular Diary of a wimpy kid ebook.

A completed textbook might have to be tested by certain educators to see how well it works for students. Changes could be made to improve it, especially if more versions are set to be written in the future. But if you find the right niche and the right instructors to use your textbook, there is a good chance it will be a fairly successful book.

Be sure to use to see examples of thousands of textbooks that have already been published.