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4 Paths to writing productivity and publication success

In his 2019 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference presentation, “Organizing for Writing Productivity and Publication Success”, history author Kenneth Campbell shared organizational advice and tips based on his personal writing experience. Specifically, Campbell offered strategies and techniques for research and writing, time management, working with editors and publishers, and responding to peer review criticisms throughout the writing process. In conclusion, he encouraged participants to “focus on the contribution you are making to educating and enriching the lives of others” if the goal is success.

Research and writing strategies

For greatest success, Campbell encouraged audience members to “enjoy every stage of the process.” This includes early stage reading and research, the writing process, revising, and even editing and proofreading. More specific strategies for success were shared, as follows:
  • You don’t have to write every day.
  • When you finish a chapter, read it out loud to yourself.
  • Maintain a Virtual Library.
  • Keep notes on your computer.
  • Read books about writing.
  • Continue to improve your vocabulary.

Time management techniques

Campbell reminded participants that “the only way to have time for something is to make time for something.” In order to prioritize your writing tasks within your schedule, he suggested the following time management techniques.
  • Break complex tasks into smaller, manageable ones.
  • Plan your schedule around your deadline.
  • Take advantage of opportunities that allow you more time for writing.

Working with editors and publishers

“It’s easier than you might think,” says Campbell, who offered the following “(perhaps) obvious but practical advice” for working with editors and publishers.
  • Respond promptly to emails (within a day).
  • Be open to suggestions and revisions.
  • Meet your deadlines.
  • Adopt a friendly but professional tone in your communications.
  • Be appreciative.
  • Do good work.

Responding to criticisms of peer review

Subjecting yourself and your work to peer review can be one of the most difficult aspects of the writing process but doing so improves the quality and credibility of the results. Campbell said, however, it’s important that you “don’t take it personally.” When responding to criticisms offered during the peer review process, remember the following tips.
  • It is your book, but if you can live with the suggested changes and think they improve your work, use them.
  • If not, ignore them, make the changes you want to make and re-submit.
  • Recognize that sometimes their comments reflect their own biases and interests and not what other readers will want.
While success is different for every author, Campbell shared several benefits of textbook writing from his experience. In addition to learning more about your subject or discipline, he said the act of writing a textbook makes you both a better writer and a better teacher. It also provides “a great outlet for creativity” and can “add meaning and purpose to your life”. The entire session recording is available in TAA’s Presentations on Demand library.
Eric Schmieder
Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.