Publishing journal articles: Seasoned pros give tips

Jay Black, co-editor of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics, and Charles Holland, professor emeritus of chemical engineering at Texas A&M University, share the following tips for getting published:

Black: “Get familiar with the journal – don’t submit blindly. Skim through several issues and find the journal’s pattern, topics, style, etc. If your article is too long or not in the required style, it shows that its not really focused. Don’t give up. Eighty percent of resubmitted articles are accepted.”

12 Secrets of a prolific textbook author

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How to determine what and what not to index

A good rule of thumb for deciding what to index, said freelance indexer Kay Banning, is to ask: “Is the user happy to be there when you send them there?” The answer to that question, said Banning, will help determine what to index and what not to index.

Banning said she charges usually charges $3.25 to $3.50 per page, subtracting any pages that don’t need indexing. After receiving the hard copy pages by express mail, she said she does a first read-through of the book to see the “big picture.” Then she reads the introduction and review questions to get the author’s slant for what is important in the book.

How to negotiate the textbook royalty clause

All standard publishing contracts are enormously lopsided in favor of the publisher. In textbook contracts there is no such thing as standard royalty provisions. Having said that, a review of more than 100 TAA author contracts in my files does reveal some common “ranges.”

“Standard” ranges. The concept of “standard” royalties is less common in textbooks than trade books — so much so that it is almost counterproductive to state ranges. I am concerned that young authors may put too much stock in a so-called standard range, while more seasoned authors may find it contrary to their experience. Accordingly, view the following as indicators only, and don’t be afraid to push for royalties appropriate to your stature, leverage and revenue generation for your publisher — even outside the ranges discussed here.