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Author Guidelines

Preliminary Editions

A PRELIMINARY EDITION IS WRITTEN and produced three or four years before the formal first edition is created. Many technical textbooks start out as preliminary editions, to allow the authors and publisher to present an innovative approach to teaching a subject without exorbitant costs. Another reason for producing a preliminary edition is to give selected schools an opportunity to class-test the material. Feedback from these test sites is then used in the development of the first edition. The sponsoring editor, development editor, and the author team usually work together to identify appropriate test sites. The editor in chief and sponsoring editor ultimately decide whether to publish a text as a preliminary or a first edition.

Writing a preliminary edition

Once the author team and sponsoring editor have agreed on the proposal and table of contents, the authors begin work on their first draft just as they would to create the first draft of a first edition. The first-draft manuscript is usually reviewed in batches consisting of two or three chapters.

Based on feedback from reviews, the sponsoring editor decides whether the book is likely to survive as a first edition. If reviews are positive overall, the sponsoring editor, development editor, and author team agree on a revision plan. Usually the second-draft manuscript becomes the final draft because of time limitations. The final draft ultimately becomes the preliminary edition. The amount of development and number of drafts generally depends on time constraints and marketing needs.

The authors of a preliminary edition are responsible for checking the text for accuracy before publication. Freelance accuracy reviewers are rarely hired because the preliminary edition is the "test" version of the first edition. Errors uncovered by class-testing are corrected before production of the first edition begins.

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Producing a preliminary edition

Preliminary editions often have a two-color or four-color soft cover and a simple, one-color interior design. Increasingly, authors are creating camera-ready preliminary editions with text and art in place.

If the authors submit camera-ready documents, it takes two or three months to produce the preliminary edition in its published form. Usually the development editor has the first draft of manuscript copyedited and the authors input changes before submitting the final camera-ready copy.

If the authors do not submit camera-ready copy, the manuscript is turned over to production to be copyedited and typeset.

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Sometimes publishing companies create preliminary editions that are supported by instructor's resource guides, software, and other ancillaries. Many companies, however, consider preliminary editions as "draft versions" and therefore provide no accompanying materials.

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Class-testing preliminary editions

The class-testing of preliminary editions can take from one to three semesters, depending on the course for which the book is intended. Schools are selected as test sites because of their course structure, enrollment, and interest. Authors are typically responsible for receiving regular feedback from these test sites and incorporating it as appropriate into the next draft of the manuscript.

Sometimes instead of test sites, we rely on feedback from market surveys, user diaries, and focus groups. In that case, the sponsoring editor and development editor collect and interpret the feedback for the authors.

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A work-in-progress

Although preliminary editions are bound, softcover books, they are really works-in-progress. Instructors who adopt such a book are often willing to sacrifice color and ancillaries for the opportunity to test a cutting-edge approach. If an instructor's feedback from focus groups or test sites is incorporated into the first edition, that instructor is likely to be a powerful supporter of the first edition upon publication.

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Instructor's Annotated Editions

For some markets we publish instructor's annotated editions (IAEs) of texts to give to adopters instead of (or in addition to) instructor's manuals. The difference between the students' text and the IAE is the presence of annotations (annos) suggesting teaching strategies, offering additional examples and exercises, and providing exercise answers or other information that does not appear in students' books. The annos are printed in the margins or in the white space between text and art in a color that makes them easy to spot. Answers are generally inserted as a separate section following exercises or questions. A special introduction for instructors--with information about the features of the text and suggestions for using them--may be added at the beginning of the book.

The annotations are added to the text pages, and they must be brief to fit in the limited space available. During the project-planning stage, you and your sponsor will determine the number and types of annos that are needed. You should create the annos for the IAE as you prepare the text manuscript, chapter by chapter, so they accompany the final draft of the text when you deliver it to your sponsor.

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Prepare the IAE annos as a separate manuscript that is keyed to the text manuscript. Number the annos consecutively within each chapter, using a double-numbering system (the annos in Chapter 2 are 2-1, 2-2, etc.). Start a new manuscript page for each chapter, start each anno on a new line, and include the number of the text manuscript page that the anno applies to. Then on a copy of the text manuscript, write each anno number (circled) exactly where each anno should be positioned in the final text pages. If necessary, write additional instructions for the typesetter on this keyed manuscript. When you have completed the annotations for the first chapter or two, send them to your sponsor for review. Send in your complete anno manuscript with the keyed copy of the text manuscript when you send your complete, final text manuscript to your sponsor.

Sample Manuscript Annotation

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Technical Manuscripts


Manuscripts that require mathematical and other symbolic notation are especially difficult, time consuming, and expensive to set in type, so careful planning and a neat, accurate manuscript are crucial. Consult your sponsoring editor early and often, and submit a sample chapter or two in hard copy so that we can deal with any problems specific to your book or discipline before the preparation of the physical manuscript gets well under way.

A consistent format that students can quickly identify is one of the most important sales features of a technical book. Decisions should be made at an early stage about such matters as the organization of the book into parts, chapters, sections, and subsections; the enumeration of subdivisions and displays; the style of abbreviations; and especially the notation. Some of our recommended forms follow. In addition, we suggest you consult the style guides of your particular field.

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Using a computer

Consider using word processing software in conjunction with other special programs (e.g., a math editor or extension) to prepare your technical manuscript on a computer. This can be an efficient, effective method that ensures the greatest accuracy and clarity in the final manuscript. Additionally, we may be able to use your disk to typeset the book. If you plan to prepare your manuscript electronically, check with your sponsor before you begin keyboarding, to identify the software that would best suit your needs and be compatible with our typesetter's equipment. As early as possible, send your sponsor a sample chapter on disk and a hard copy, and indicate what software was used to produce it. This sample must show all the features of your book (including graphs, formulas, chemical structures, special notation, etc.), and you must prepare it as if it were final manuscript. Our production department will review the disk and comment on its suitability for computer typesetting. For additional information, see "Preparation of Text on Disks" earlier in this guide.

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The style sheet

For all first editions of technical manuscripts, we prepare a preliminary style sheet, which we send to you for approval before copyediting begins. In the left column we list manuscript usages grouped by categories that include general style considerations, numbers, abbreviations, capitalization, hyphenation, separated and closed-up forms, and spelling. In the right column we indicate the usages that we prefer. You should indicate your assent or disagreement with each recommended form directly on the style sheet, keep a copy for yourself, and initial the original and return it to us. This document becomes the master plan for details of style in the first and later editions of your book.

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Numbering systems

As a general rule, we suggest you number the chapter sections, exercise sets, figures, and tables in your technical manuscript to help organize the material and to facilitate cross-referencing; you may also want to number theorems, definitions, examples, formulas, and equations. Use a double number (chapter and item number) for sections, theorems, definitions, figures, tables, and exercise sets. For example, in Chapter 12, the second section is Section 12.2, the exercise set in that section is Exercises 12.2, and material at the end of the chapter is Review Exercises 12, Chapter Test 12, and so on. Number figures and tables (and theorems and definitions, if you so choose) with chapter and item numbers consecutively throughout the chapter. Thus, for example, Figure 12.18 in Section 12.5 is the last figure in Chapter 12. Generally speaking, you should number examples and equations consecutively within a section, using a single number; however, you may use a double-numbering system similar to that described above if there are many cross-references (from one section to another) to these features. The problems within each exercise set are numbered consecutively, beginning with the number 1.

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Equations and chemical formulas

Before you type your manuscript, try to visualize how you want equations and chemical formulas in your text to appear, and then type them all in the same way to avoid bad breaks and costly resetting when the book is set by the compositor. Although your project editor will query you about ambiguities, complicated arrangements should be clearly and correctly marked from the start.

Type a simple equation or formula in running text. Display an equation or formula that is too long to fit on one line, is complicated (e.g., an equation that contains built-up fractions), is numbered, or is important enough to warrant special emphasis. (In the last case, so indicate to the copyeditor in a note in the margin.) To display material, skip one line above and one line below and indent from the left. Always align series of related equations on signs of relation. For example,

If an equation will not fit on one line, break it after a sign of operation or relation (but not within parentheses); break a chemical formula after an arrow.

When typing mathematical expressions in running text or in displayed material, leave one space before and after all signs of operation and relation, as well as after the symbols dx, dy, log, ln, lim, sin, cos, cot, and tan. However, leave no space when these appear as superscripts and subscripts (e.g., ax+1) and when indicating positive and negative numbers (e.g., -12). Type limits above and below symbols in displayed material

x 1
but to the right as superscripts and subscripts in running text: x 0. Be sure to show clearly what belongs under a radical sign and what does not. When grouping terms, use parentheses, then brackets, then braces.

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Matrices and determinants

Make sure that the brackets enclose the entire array of numbers. Use three spaces to separate columns, and right-align the terms in each column. For example,


To indicate the footnotes on a page of running text, use the following symbols in the order in which they are given: *, , . In tables, however, use letters: a, b, c, and so on.

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Units of measure and abbreviations

Decide whether you want to abbreviate units of measure or spell them out. In general, we prefer to abbreviate all units of measure preceded by numerals. However, in some texts for introductory markets you may want to spell out units of measure for pedagogical reasons. Please consult with your sponsor on this decision, and then adopt a system of abbreviation that meets the needs of your audience and the expectations of your discipline.

Chemistry and biology are customarily presented in metric units. Terms in mathematics may be presented in metric or English units, as you and your sponsor judge appropriate. For units of measure and abbreviations, we recommend that you follow the style guides of your particular discipline.

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Avoid writing symbols by hand. Always type every letter both in the text and on the art manuscript to avoid any possible confusion. If, however, typing is impossible and you must write some symbols--for example, Greek characters or special symbols that may be unique to your manuscript--carefully draw them exactly the way you want them to appear, and tell us both in the manuscript and on a separate list what they represent.

Symbols are usually set in italic type; abbreviations, in roman type. Be sure to clarify any symbols and abbreviations that may be confusing to a copyeditor preparing your book for the compositor. For example, if you use a lower-case letter g to represent gas (g), grams (g), and gravity (g), mark each clearly on the manuscript. In addition, mark any symbols that should be boldface--for example, vectors--at each occurrence. (Be sure to include any relevant signs of operation, such as dot product, as well.) Use a single underscore to indicate italics, and use a wavy underscore to indicate boldface. Use the same abbreviation for both singular and plural units (e.g., 32 lb), but distinguish between the two for spelled-out measurements (e.g., 32 pounds and 0.32 pound). Keep these rules continuously in mind while you prepare your manuscript. You can save everyone a great deal of time and money if you alert us to any possible ambiguities.

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In equations and nearly all displayed mathematical material, use numerals. In running text, follow general style rules for spelling out numbers versus using numerals (see the earlier "Numbers" section under "Styling the Manuscript"), but use numerals when numbers are to be manipulated. Use a comma in numerals of five or more digits; in a four-digit number, use a comma only if the number appears in conjunction with a larger number that has a comma. In a column of numbers in a table, the comma in a four-digit number maintains alignment with larger numbers and facilitates addition of the column of numbers.

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There are three basic fraction styles. The case style (e.g., ) is used for purely numerical fractions in running text. If you cannot type a case fraction in your manuscript, type a shilling fraction and write "case frac" in the margin. The shilling fraction (e.g., a/b) is used for simple non-numerical fractions in running text, for exponents (e.g., a1/2), and in built-up fractions. Built-up fractions

are used for complex equations and are displayed to avoid awkward spacing in the text. Some developmental math texts use built-up fractions in both the text and displayed material for clarity. When you type your manuscript, and again when you review the copyediting, check fractions carefully to ensure that parentheses, braces, or brackets have been included if necessary to make the statement mathematically accurate.

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Superscripts and subscripts

Type superscripts and subscripts one line space or a half space above or below the number:


If you have more than one level of subscript, mark the position of each clearly.

Multilevel subscripts and superscripts are difficult to set, and often the third level is too small to be seen clearly. Therefore, if you use third- and fourth-level superscripts, try to combine as many levels as you can by using parentheses. Type subscripts before superscripts, but align primes and asterisks vertically with the subscript. Primes, the number 1 as an exponent, and apostrophes are often confused, so use consistent notation and annotate your manuscript for clarity if necessary.

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For numbers less than one, always use a zero in front of the decimal point: 0.25.

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Insert an ellipsis to indicate missing material by typing three periods with one space between each. In a series of items, add space between the first and last periods and any following punctuation: a, b, c, . . . , x. In a series of operations, use centered dots: a + b + c + + x.

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Chemistry notation

A chemistry manuscript offers special challenges. Our recommendations follow; we suggest that you consult the American Chemical Society Style Guide as well.

  1. You may leave a space between the coefficient and the symbol or not, but be consistent.

  2. Use wt (weight), mol wt (molecular weight), and % (percent).
  3. Use the Greek letter, rather than the name for the letter: particle.
  4. Use one hyphen to show a chemical compound: -carotene. To show chemical bonds, use two hyphens closed up by hand (single bond), two equals signs (double bond), and two equals signs with one additional hand-drawn line above them (triple bond). Include a note to the compositor in the margin as necessary for clarification.
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Chemical structures

You must make every effort to show chemical structures in your manuscript exactly as they should appear in the book to ensure accurate typesetting. We recommend that you use a template to draw structures by hand or a computer program that works in conjunction with your word processing software. You may also attach a figure from another source to show your style preference or to clarify your sketch. Always center the label under the structure. Write a note (circled to show that it is not to be typeset) or use shading to identify spheres. If angles must be drawn exactly, write in the values (and circle this note).

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Computer Programs

If you plan to include computer or graphing calculator programs in your text, run them first to make sure that they work. We prefer that you submit computer printouts as camera-ready programs, if possible. This eliminates the need for typesetting and avoids the introduction of errors. If you must submit copy for typesetting, indicate indentation, alignment, and spacing clearly for the compositor. If you think that a line of your program may be too long for the width of the text page (or that the whole program may run longer than one page), show the best places to break the line (or program).

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Illustrations in technical books represent precise concepts. To achieve the accurate renderings that are required, you must submit clear sketches accompanied by explicit instructions to the artist. Computer-generated art "sketches" (drawn, for example, by a point-plotting program) are optimal because, in addition to being mathematically precise, they also may exist in a format that the compositor can incorporate into the typesetting system. If you plan to create computer-generated art sketches, check with your sponsor and production staff in advance to identify the drawing software that would be most suitable for your needs and ours.

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Follow the general guidelines given in the section on "Preparing the Index," and also consult a style guide for your discipline to ensure that your index conforms to the specific requirements of your field. Because the index functions as a sales tool--prospective adopters may scan the index to determine whether certain topics are covered in the text and how--consult with your sponsor to be sure that you reference all necessary terms and concepts. Be sure to include any necessary synonyms or alternative forms that are in common use. In many technical books, words that are defined appear in boldface in the text and must appear in the index.

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