Manuscript Considerations

Before you begin your book, consider the shelf life of your content. Avoid dating content with references to specific names and dates that may change before or soon after publication. Also consider the future. Is the subject written in a context that will be relevant years from now? Does the subject lend itself to future revisions or editions?

  • Refer only to significant current events and always describe them in the past tense.
  • When using tables or statistics, summarize the conclusions rather than present data that refers to specific years.
  • Place people and their titles in context so that their position is obvious, even if they no longer hold it at the time of publication.
  • Include the year in introducing text. “As of 2017…” rather than, “recently,” or “this year.”

Text Features

Incorporating learning aids into each chapter will make your textbook more functional for readers and easier to use. Think of features in terms of making the book more interesting to read and the material more relevant in practical terms. Features should be consistently used in every chapter of the text, especially in multi-authored books.

Features should be important enough to be called out from the main flow of text. Limit features only to the most relevant aids to avoid confusing or distracting the reader. Examples of text features are:

Chapter opening material

  • Outlines, learning objectives
  • Cases and anecdotes
  • Key terms and definitions
  • Epigraphs (quotations that reflect the concept or theme of the chapter)

Within each chapter

  • Informational asides, case studies, research
  • Important terms, steps, laws, best practices, tips, etc.

Chapter closing material

  • Discussion or study questions
  • In-class activities and projects
  • Problem-solution
  • Summary or conclusion
  • Further reading or research

Back Matter

  • Bibliography
  • Glossary
  • Appendices