Q&A: You’ve reached your maximum number of textbook pages, but lack content. Now what?

Q: “I am writing a book under contract and my chapters have been running so long I have already written the maximum number of pages negotiated with my publisher, yet have only fulfilled half the overall content promised. How should I approach this with the publisher? Should I renegotiate the overall content covered in the book or engage in some major editing?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing & Developing Your College Textbook:

“I suggest first clarifying if the publisher’s contract is referring to book pages or manuscript pages. You can usually figure 2.5 double- spaced manuscript pages per book page for a book with around 500 words per page, which is standard for an 8 X 10 trim size, which is standard for a textbook. For a 14- to 16-chapter textbook, no chapter should exceed 40 book pages in length.

Q&A: How to efficiently blend multiple writing drafts

Q: “I find that I am forever writing different versions of the same thing, leaving me with the problem of collating them, or blending them together. It also wastes time, of course, to duplicate effort like that. Can you share some ideas for a more efficient process?”

A: Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Holistic Education, Department of Special Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato:

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.”