Write … and More
During production, it’s a good idea to have — in addition to a copy editor — someone who oversees the layout, formatting, and correct treatment of the various elements of your book.
This is your fixer.
At BCcampus, we found a good fixer to be invaluable. Through experience, we learned they should be an individual with a keen eye for detail, have the ability to accurately match the exceptions noted on the style sheet against the textbook, be willing to review each chapter and section of your book repeatedly, and be able to distinguish between errors they should correct as part of their job and problems that require input from the author or project lead.
A fixer can also help add elements to the textbook, such as learning-objective textboxes and attribution statements.
Lastly, you and your fixer will learn as you go. The fixer will be spending a lot of time with the textbook, and because of this, they can offer many helpful suggestions about what’s working, what isn’t, and where the problems are.
Before they begin, create a detailed job description for the fixer or fixers so it’s clear what’s expected. Keep a running “fix list” to record both anticipated and discovered errors and inconsistencies, and note details regarding each correction, including what was fixed, the date completed, and who did the job (if there is more one person involved).
The fixer does not copy edit. However, if the fixer notices problems with the language — such as grammar, unclear text, repetitive phrases — they can report these to the copy editor or author.
Typical fixer tasks might include:
- Auditing external resources (images, videos, audio clips) to ensure they meet licensing requirements
- Ensuring that all images, videos, and other external resources added are correctly attributed. The fixer can also be assigned to adding attribution statements. (See Resources: Captions and Attributions.)
- Making sure that figures and tables are correctly captioned, numbered, and referenced in the text
- Comparing key terms highlighted in the textbook against the glossary
- Confirming that links works
- Reviewing the citation style of in-text references or footnotes and the reference list
- Checking the heading styles are correct
- Depending on the country in which a textbook is published, the fixer might be instructed to:
- change measurements (e.g., from imperial to metric)
- ensure Canadian spelling is used. (See Appendix 3: Canadian Spelling and Word List.)