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First Time Book Authors: Getting the Contract
The process of responding to reviewers’ comments took a fair amount of time. This was a little difficult to juggle as it came at the busiest point of our teaching year. However, with the support of our husbands we made good progress by working a little on evenings and over the weekend (this seems to be what “research” is all about!).
We managed to keep in regular contact with each other, which was helped by both checking our emails when we should probably have been relaxing, and being able to arrange impromptu meetings at work. This may have been difficult if we had not been located at the same University, on the same campus. That being said, our Elsevier contact was based in a different continent and the wonders of Skype made keeping in touch simple… Even if we did forget the time difference sometimes!
Looking back over the changes that we made, our proposal evolved quite interestingly with complete changes to some chapter themes, additions of new chapters, and even the book title being modified to make it more “punchy.” As the final reviews came in we were reassured by Marisa that we were almost there. Elsevier prepared a short, customer-facing book description which we tweaked as the final stage of the process.
Excitingly, a couple of weeks before Christmas, just two months after initial contact, our proposal was accepted by the editorial team! Our contracts were sent out for us to read and sign electronically and we could relax over the holidays knowing that all of our hard work had paid off. All that was left to do was to hold a small celebration with our husbands to thank them for supporting us through the process.
At least that was all that was left to do before we had to contact the chapter contributors we had identified between us at the proposal stage, get them to agree to terms, finalize the table of contents, write chapters, edit chapters… We might have to hold another few celebrations to keep them on board before this is finished!
About the Authors
Dr. Komang Ralebitso-Senior
I 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
I 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.
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