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PDF, 94 pages
1. Doctor = Publisher
2. One hundred doctors
3. Train on the track
4. Behind the scenes
5. Home stretch
7. The seventh day
We'll inform you
since 13 May 2005
3. Getting the train on the track
Book format - Against the light - References - Journalistic handbooks - Styles - Key combinations -
Letters to the authors - Kick-off - List of contributors - Bank details
Book format - Against the light - References - Journalistic handbooks - Styles - Key combinations - Letters to the authors - Kick-off - List of contributors - Bank details
The editorial team is complete - lectorship, secretariat, mentor, proofreaders - and the authors of your choice have agreed. The authors need four more things before kick-off:
Document for the texts
The authors must not be allowed to write at random, but must write their texts into a template supplied by you. An exemplary template can be found on the internet underwww.HIVMedicine.com/chapter.doc. There, you will find examples of tables, diagrams, frames and reference lists.
Before you send the template to your authors, you must define the book format, because the maximum width of tables and diagrams depends on this format.
How high, how wide?
Over a glass of red wine in your library, you should decide how high and how wide your book needs to be. Take different books out of the shelves. Weigh them up. Which books feel good? Above all: which books feel good in your hands? The decision is not usually difficult.
HIV Medicine 2005 has the dimensions 15 cm x 24 cm, Free Medical Information 13 cm x 21 cm and the pocket edition of HIV Medicine 11 cm x 18 cm. Table 3.1 gives an outline of heights and widths of the printed area.
* All measurements in centimetres
In order to set the height and width of a Word document, you must access the dialogue window "Page set-up" (File->Page set-up). Click on the index card "Margins". For a book such as Free Medical Information, you would find 2.2 cm for the upper margin, 9.2 cm for the lower margin and 5.5 cm each for the left and right margins.
In the menu "Apply to" (bottom right in the dialogue window) select "Whole document". Then define the margins according to the size of book required (see Table 3.3; in "Header" and "Footer" the same values are set as in "Top" and "Bottom"). The new values are saved by clicking on "OK".
* All dimensions in centimetres
Experiment with the document: write a sample text, change the tables, insert diagrams, make test printouts. Put the printouts on top of the book that felt so good in your hand and hold it up against the light. Are the margins broad enough? In half an hour, you will have decided what size your book will be.
Before you send your authors the template for the text, you must prepare two more things. Firstly, instructions for the compilation of the references and secondly, instructions on how to write well.
The authors of a medical textbook should compile their references in accordance with a standard format. This sounds like a very simple statement, but is in fact difficult. It is never too soon to commit the authors to uniform procedures. We have wasted many hours correcting the references.
It doesn't matter which format you decide to adopt, just make a commitment. The New England Journal of Medicine, for example, uses the format surname, initial of first name, et al. Title. Journal year; volume: page-page. For example:
There are more details in these three lines than most authors can cope with without help:
A farce? Unfortunately not! Do not be afraid to explain the format of the references in equally great detail. You will save both yourself and your authors a lot of work in the proofreading phase.
Doctors are grateful for assistance with writing, despite A levels, a medical degree and post-doctoral lecture qualification.
Some suggestions, very general and valid for every subject:
As we said earlier on, doctors don't have to be able to write. The medical faculty is not a place which insists on stylistic skill. Reassure your authors. No one needs to be ashamed of learning things he hasn't learnt before. Recommend the purchase of handbooks. The best ones are the ones for journalists.
The number of text elements which you require for your textbook is limited. Apart from the normal text (that is the text you are reading at the moment), we only used the following text styles in HIV Medicine 2005, for example:
Headings 1 to 4 are the chapter headings according to the hierarchical structure. "Table" is used for the text in a table and comments below the table, or for diagrams, "Table heading" is for the bold-print column headings in the tables.
The most important rule is: you must never - and this applies to your authors as well - change typeface or type size via the pop-down menus shown in Fig. 3.1 (where Times New Roman and 12 are given). Instead, you should change them via the menu styles (Fig. 3.2), There, you can allocate a text (word, sentence, paragraph) to the so-called "style". Among other things, a style contains information about type size, typeface, and also line spacing between your text and the previous and subsequent text section. If you want to change the style of a paragraph, you just have to position the cursor somewhere in the paragraph. If you want to allocate a style to several paragraphs, you must mark the paragraphs first.
The advantage of styles: later, you can alter your entire text in a matter of minutes, simply by changing type size and spacing for the individual styles. This is helpful if you are planning a pocket edition.
The central control station for styles is located under
Figure 3.1. Forbidden functions; typeface and type size.
Figure 3.2. Selection of the styles
Working with Word
Every doctor who writes thinks he knows his word-processing software. But do you really know the little things that make life easier?
In order to help your authors save time, we have put together a few tips and tricks in the appendix for working effectively with Word. (Chapter 8). The so-called shortcuts, i.e. quick key combinations, are particularly helpful and make work easier. Recommend this outline to your co-authors.
You have now assembled all the elements for the kick-off of your project. As we already mentioned in the last chapter: good deadlines are clear deadlines of 6 weeks to 4 months. As an exception, 6 months is acceptable, while longer time limits than this can only rarely be justified. Arrange different deadlines with your authors, so that not all chapters arrive at the editorial office at the same time.
InChapter 8 you will find a sample letter for your authors. In it, you will also ask them to supply data for entry into the list of collaborators, a brief CV and a photo for the website (example: www.hiv.net/link.php?id=253), as well as bank details for later payment of the author's fee. This will save you unnecessary email correspondence towards the end of the project.
Ask your authors to confirm receipt of the letter, and keep an account of this confirmation. If someone does not answer within 3 days, you must follow up by telephone.
Your letter is on its way, the train is in motion.