Thank you for visiting the TAA blog, Abstract. Article content is reserved to active members of the Textbook & Academic…
The best way to ensure clarity is to write well. When editors mark passages “Not Clear,” they are not being stupid but are basing their judgments both on the perceived needs of your target audience and on standards of good expository writing. All good writing for any audience at any educational level has the same basic qualities, including clarity, concision, unity, coherence, and emphasis. Wordiness is perhaps the greatest enemy of good writing.
Drafting and production schedules are more important than one may think in the world textbook publishing. At the same time, deadlines can be burdensome for authors. Missing them is a principal cause of marketplace failure. An untimely textbook, finding no uncommitted customers by the time it reaches them, is doomed. Furthermore, postponement—pushing back a product another whole adoption cycle—is usually not a good option.
The best way to deal with schedules is to master them at the very beginning through realistic planning, starting with a drafting calendar.
You might be informed by your copy editor that your textbook manuscript is too long. Say, for example, your copy editor has returned five of your chapters marked as seriously over length. Instructions say to reduce length by the equivalent of three manuscript pages per chapter. Reading over the manuscript, barring a word here or there, you believe there is simply no way you can cut without destroying the brilliance and integrity of your exposition. You ask if the book can just be made sixteen pages longer. The answer, categorically, is no, because of the cost. What should you do?