The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: February 9, 2018

"Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind." ~Debasish MridhaThis week’s article roundup includes a mix of foundational advice and reinvention of ideas. In the academic world, there are posts discussing ways to establish a track record of grant writing, visualization techniques, and ways to survive a PhD mixed with new scholarly search tools, publisher roles, and disruptions in scholarly communications.

From the textbook perspective, the benefits of print over digital, the intellectual properties of learning, and opinions on professors teaching from their own textbooks are mixed with open-access publishing, OER disruption, and new platforms for self-publishing textbooks.

As Debasish Mridha tells us, “Writing is a process of creating yourself again and again for an ever-searching mind.” As you write this week, keep searching as well. [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: November 3, 2017

"Wondering leads to writing" ~Lailah Gifty AkitaThis week brought with it the close of our Textbook Awards program nomination period and the start of Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). It also brought with it articles focused on creative process, tips to improve writing, and cautionary tales for textbook and academic authors alike. Articles include innovative textbook development using augmented reality and creative learning activities, secrets and tips for improving your writing, how to manage commitments, and topics of potential concern related to copyright, predatory journals, and peer review. As you begin this month of academic writing, keep in mind the words of Lailah Gifty Akita, “Wondering leads to writing”, and stay curious, pursue new ideas, and write. [Read more…]

3 Strategies for getting published

So you’ve written a provocative and timely piece, had it edited, Determining author orderand are now just chomping at the bit to have your article published. Publication can often be the hardest step of the process (hard to believe I know after toiling away so long on producing your article).

I’ve used the following strategies to get my articles published:

Write a remarkable cover letter. This is where you really need to sell your article. Describe why it is timely and relevant. Are you commenting on a recent article? Are you discussing an important piece of legislation, current event, or controversial policy or practice? The editor wants to know why your article belongs in their journal and why it would be a mistake for your article to go elsewhere. [Read more…]

Academic publishing: How to deal with rejection

WritingRejection can certainly be discouraging, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of a project. It is important to move forward after your work is rejected and there are some steps you can take to avoid rejection altogether.

Overcoming disappointment is often one of the first things an academic author must face after a rejection. Dannielle Joy Davis, an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Law at Alabama State University and a new co-editor for the journal Learning for Democracy, recommends setting aside a finite amount of time to feel disappointed before moving on and taking steps to resubmit. “I always send [a rejected paper] back out to a refereed venue and do not dwell on disappointment for more than 24 hours,” she said.

After conquering your disappointment, you must decide whether or not to resubmit your work to another journal. Tara Gray, the director of the Teaching Academy at New Mexico State University, and author of Publish and Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar, suggests objectively evaluating whether the costs of revising the project outweigh the benefits, rather than making a decision based on your emotional reaction to the rejection.

“When you get the rejection feedback, it feels devastating,” Gray said. “But when you try to respond one step at a time, usually you can respond reasonably and well. I would never reject a project based on reading bad feedback. I would reject it only upon trying to make those changes and finding they are insurmountable.” Gray said she always resubmits when her own work is rejected.

Davis urges writers to persevere and never give up on their manuscripts. In her experience as a writer, co-editor and reviewer, she has never come across a project that should be abandoned. “Authors must persist in the face of rejection and not take rejection personally,” Davis said. “Remember, every good manuscript has a home. It is our job as authors to find that home and to continue to polish the work while searching for it. Persistence is key in the publishing process.” Davis has never given up on a rejected project. Her strategy of persistence has paid off, earning her more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and a recent book contract.

One way that academic authors can potentially avoid the disappointment of rejection is to request pre-submission feedback in order to identify and fix problems early. Gray is a strong advocate for this strategy and works with three groups of readers for her pre-submission feedback. She asks non-experts, such as family members or friends, to read her work and look for issues in clarity and organization. She also asks people in her field that she trusts to read her work and comment on issues related to content, methodology, and theory.

In addition, Gray contacts the scholars that she has cited the most often and/or the most heavily in her manuscript to elicit valuable additional feedback. “I generally get about a 50% response rate from these experts,” Gray said. “I contact them and ask them for feedback on how I am using their work. That tends to be the hook that gets them to want to interact with me more. I also ask them for just a quick read—just 20 minutes of their time—to look for the biggest problems they see. Some of them have been enormously helpful to me.”

Gray asserts that pre-submission feedback can be extremely helpful in avoiding rejection and can help ensure that a project is worth pursuing in the early stages of the work: “If you’ve gone through a half a dozen experts and non-experts before you submit, you won’t be working on many projects that need to be abandoned.”

 

How a copy editor can help you polish your work

Laura Poole

Laura Poole

As a professional freelance copy editor, I have the pleasure and honor of working with publishers and authors of scholarly titles. I have known authors who resisted copy editing (or any kind of editing), and publishers who won’t pay for a thorough edit of a manuscript. Sadly, these occurrences generally result in inferior work being published.

You may wonder why you should work with an editor at any stage of your writing. Working with an editor that you hire can help prepare your book for a publisher by making it clearer, effective, and easier to read. Most reputable publishing houses will have copyediting done as part of the process of publishing to clean up your text and make sure it conforms to the publisher’s style. [Read more…]