Sunday, July 18, 2010

And I thought publishing fiction was rough! Ever try writing a textbook?

On a cruise back in May, our table assignment landed me next to a fellow author. But she was no mere novelist. Dr. Ann Moseley produces such ponderous tomes as Strategies for College Writing: Sentences, Paragraphs, Essays and Interactions: A Thematic Reader. One has gone to five editions. Talk about suddenly feeling two inches high!

Of course, that’s not all she’s done. Besides achieving multiple degrees in record time, teaching college level English, and penning the above-mentioned texts, she’s also working on a comprehensive Willa Cather Scholarly Edition. OMG.

Once I recovered from open-mouthed awe, we began comparing notes. I have one editor. She has four: (1) acquisitions editor (who works out contract details), (2) developmental editor (who manages pre-publication reviews of a new edition, which involves about 30-40% change, and includes proposals and advice throughout the process) (3) permissions editor (who negotiates permissions and fees to use copyrighted materials), and (4) copyeditor who checks for errors and problems in style. Gasp.

My process is basically 3 steps: manuscript review, revision, production.

Dr. Ann’s current work consists of eight units. After all receive final revisions (she has just submitted #3), she must then create the Instructor's Resource Manual, some brief comprehension quizzes, and additional student instruction for the website.

Well, I bet she’s never had to deal with a Third World press writer...

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