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First Time Authors: The Proofing Process

By: , Posted on: September 26, 2016

Source: Flikr

We were very excited to finally press “send” on our final chapter. Our book was complete! Our effort was over! Or so we thought! Of course, the Word document submissions that we had made were a long way from what the final finished product would look like. It was time for someone else to take over the effort of turning our pages into an actual book.

A few weeks after the final submission, we were contacted by Vijayaraj Purushothaman’s production team with an update. They would be putting the book together chapter by chapter and would be sending us back the manuscript in chunks to proof.

Although it was exciting to see our chapters turned into a reality, it was also tough, as there was a lot of reading to do and quite tight deadlines by which to get through it. If we chose to speed-read, there was always the chance that we’d inadvertently miss something or introduce new errors. Close inspection and a quiet space were required for absolute focus.

However, once we got into the swing of it we found it quite manageable. This was helped by the fact that we had done a considerable amount of editing when the chapters were actually submitted. The chapters were also marked with comments from the production team with areas for our specific attention. We had also built up some good relationships with our contributors so felt confident that we would get quick replies to any queries we had.

Some of the easier areas of the proofing process were agreeing terms/spelling of key words (for example, should it be “physicochemical” or “physico-chemical”?). Once we had made up our minds the production team would roll this out across the whole book.

There were also some pages that we hadn’t even considered. For example, the index, the contents pages, etc. If we didn’t really know exactly what should be included here, how did we know if we had missed anything? Once we had compared with other books on our bookshelves we were relieved to see that there wasn’t much to it. We were also happy to be able to find the odd small thing here and there as it assured us that we were being as thorough as is humanly possible.

Although not the most interesting stage of the process, there was a sense of gathering excitement that this was one last hurdle to cross until publication.

About the Authors

Dr. Komang Ralebitso-Senior

komangI am an early stage academic with a keen interest in research, and research-led teaching, on how microbial communities are studied and then exploited in different environmental biotechnologies. My senior lectureship with Teesside University in 2006 was my first academic post following postdoctoral fellowships in Singapore and Oxford. I really enjoy working in successful partnerships with different colleagues especially where we do research across disciplines, share ideas and learn from each other. So co-editing a book with Caroline will go down in my memoirs as one of my career highlights.

Dr. Caroline Orr

caroline orrI am a relatively early stage researcher whose area of expertise is in molecular ecology specifically looking at functional microbial communities within the soil. I first joined Teesside University a couple of years ago as my first lectureship position following my PhD and a small amount of postdoc work. When I first joined the University I was keen to establish myself as a researcher not just a member of teaching staff but struggled initially to juggle the two. I was quickly introduced to Komang who was interested in research similar to my own area.

View our previous articles in this First Time Authors series, on:

  1. Getting Started: What it Is Like to Publish Your First Book
  2. Coming Up With a Book Idea and Creating a Proposal
  3. First Contact With Elsevier and Responding to Reviewers’ Comments
  4. Getting the Contract
  5. Waiting for Confirmation from Authors/Contributors and Coping with Suggested Changes
  6. Writing Our First Chapter
  7. Keeping Up with Contributors
  8. The Process of Co-Editing
  9. Balancing Writing with Other Obligations
  10. Revealing the Book Cover

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Earth & Environmental Science

The fields of Earth science, planetary sciences, and environmental science encompass disciplines critical to the future of our world and its inhabitants. Our well-being depends on a thorough understanding of air and water resources, soil chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, geology, and geochemistry, along with a myriad of other aspects of the environment we live in. Elsevier supports the efforts of researchers and scholars in these areas with content that meets their cross-disciplinary needs: journals, books, eBooks, and online tools that span computer science, chemistry, energy, engineering, biology, agronomy, ecology, environmental impact and many other topics fundamental to the study of our world. Learn more about our Earth and Environmental Science books here.