How to keep your textbook on track during the production stage

Textbook On TrackOnce you have delivered your textbook manuscript to your publisher, the book production process begins. What should you, the author, do after the final manuscript has been submitted to ensure the book starts—and stays—on the production schedule?

Three textbook authors share their advice:

“In order to ensure that your book adheres to the production schedule, keep in constant contact with your editor and respond to all queries as quickly as possible.”

Dr. Kimberly Collica, Associate Professor, PACE University, Co-Author of Crime and Society with Dr. Gennifer Furst, Associate Professor, William Paterson University

“I keep up with all phases of each production schedule with an Excel spreadsheet. This spreadsheet charts each due date for every phase required for each chapter. The editors copy me each time they submit to production, then I log that date into my spreadsheet.”

Sherry Bishop, Cengage author or co-author of thirty-seven textbooks on Dreamweaver

“I’ve never had control of the production start date. But once it did start, I returned all copy edits and page proofs ASAP–like within a week of receiving them–to keep the schedule. I don’t introduce new content unless it corrects errors or replaces outdated content. That said, I do keep an a file of small things I’ve discovered or want to change after the chapters have been submitted. I keep this file organized with content grouped by chapter so the additions don’t slow my copy edit review down too much.”

Lydia Cline, drafting professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS, and author of 12 text and trade books.


What strategies have you used to keep your textbook on track during the production stage? Share your comments below.

About Kim Pawlak

Kim Pawlak is Director of Publishing & Operations for the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA). She has been writing about the textbook and academic authoring and publishing industry for 20 years.