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Five tips for successful textbook revisions

Lisa Ede, a professor of English at Oregon State University, and author of Work in Progress: A Guide to Academic Writing and Revising, shares the following five tips for successfully revising your textbook:

  1. Start off strong. If you have a clear revision plan for a portion of your manuscript, do those tasks first. Starting with the revisions you are most confident about means that “you’ll start with a positive experience and build up energy and synergy,” said Ede.
  2. Focus on global issues before local ones. Doing the global changes in your manuscript first means you won’t waste time revising paragraphs or sections that you later decide to delete.
  3. Analyze your manuscript. “If you’re having trouble deciding if a section of your text is working,” said Ede, “analyze each paragraph by identifying what the paragraph says at the level of content and determining what it does for readers.” This kind of analysis will help you gain perspective on your writing and what needs to be done to improve it.
  4. Listen to your sales reps. They are in direct contact with the developmental editors who work on your book and the students and teachers who are using it.
  5. Learn from your students. If you use your book in your classroom, show your students your working versions of chapter revisions and ask them for their feedback on any new examples, etc.

Dionne Soares Palmer is a freelance writer based in northern California.