Q&A: Author’s questionnaire–What it is and what you need to know

Q: “What is an “author’s questionnaire’?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide:

“An Author’s Questionnaire usually comes from the marketing department to develop leads for reviewers of, contributors to, and especially adopters of your text. I suggest filling it in as completely as possible to make your contacts, colleagues, affiliations, and achievements known to the people who will attempt to market and sell your title. Also include any press–news articles about you (and keep sending them). List your upcoming opportunities to promote your book, such as guest lectures, keynote addresses, interviews in the broadcast media, academic conventions, teleseminars or webinars, etc.

Q&A: How to get through the first textbook chapter

Q: “Can you share some advice for getting through the first chapter?”

A: Karen Timberlake, author of Basic Chemistry, winner of a 2006 Texty Award:

“Skip the preface and get some words down. Once you have something written, you can go back and analyze and edit it.”

A: Ann McHoes, co-author of Understanding Operating Systems, winner of a 2006 McGuffey Award:

“Don’t start with chapter one. Start with the chapter you feel the most comfortable with. If possible, delay writing chapter one until you’re almost done with the project so you know exactly what you’re introducing in chapter one.”

Q&A: Maximize your chances of being published: Know the journal’s style expectations

Q: “How do I find out what a journal’s style expectations are?”

A: Kären Hess, the author or co-author of more than 30 trade books and college-level textbooks on a variety of topics including financial planning, dental marketing, art, literature, engineering, hospice care, reading, management and report writing:

“Most journals publish their manuscript requirements (usually at the end of the journal). Also, read several articles from the journal(s) of interest to see what gets published.”

Q&A: Make journal revisions efficiently to get published faster

Q: “I probably will have to submit my article to several journals before it is accepted. Each of the ones I am likely to send it to has a different style for footnotes and references. How do I make revisions efficiently and not spend undue hours with trivia?”

A: Richard Hull, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy:

“There are excellent reference management software programs available. You type your references in once; subsequent revisions are often possible by simply giving the periodical’s name, or by providing a simple template that will, for example, cause first and middle names to be replaced by initials (followed or not followed by periods), journal volume numbers to be preceded or not preceded by “vol.”, the year of the publication to be placed just after the author’s name or after the volume number (surrounded or nor surrounded by parentheses), and so forth. End Note and Reference Manager are two common ones, and they are sometimes freely provided to faculty by their educational institution’s Instructional Technology centers.”

Q&A: Definition of ‘camera-ready copy’ & how it could affect your contract negotiations

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Q&A: Hardcover vs. Paperback-Which option is better?

Q: “My publisher has asked if the 5th edition of my book should be published in hard or softcover? The first four editions were all hardcover. Do you know of any reasons to favor one over the other?”

A: Don Collins, the author or co-author of seven school mathematics textbooks, and former Managing Editor of Mathematics at Merrill Publishing:

“The answer to this lies in the royalty agreement. If the agreement is so much for each text sold, then by all means go the paperback route. However, most publishers base their royalty agreements on dollar volume. In this case certainly since paperbacks are cheaper and do not last as long, then more of them will be sold. So one has to consider which is greater: Cheaper price X more volume or Higher price X less volume. The author sort of has to roll the dice. In most case there isn’t a great deal of difference. I don’t think you can go too far wrong either way, but if it were me I would go the paperback route.”