The Process of Research Writing

Steven D. Krause, Eastern Michigan University

Version 1.0,Spring 2007



The Project

I started writing this textbook way back in 2000-- that's right, seven years ago, based on the date for the publication of this web site. I signed a deal back then with McGraw-Hill and I began work on the project, thinking it would take me a year or two, tops. Well, a series of things happened, some of which were McGraw-Hill's fault, some of which were my fault. In 2005, I put together a "last chance" draft to send out for review. The reviews were not positive enough for McGraw-Hill's standards and I was not willing to revise anymore. Thus the project with McGraw-Hill was dead.

Originally, McGraw-Hill didn't want to revert the rights back to me for some reason. Needless to say, I was frustrated by that. But ultimately, McGraw-Hill did give me back my rights in the summer of 2006. That meant that I could send the book out to another press, but I wasn't interested in starting all over again with a different press and a different review process.

So I decided to publish this electronically. As long I don't make any money at this (which I won't-- see "the Rights and Fair Uses"), I can do anything I want with this project, and so this is what I'm doing.

Is this book any good? I don't know, to be honest. As I looked through it to prepare it for web publication, I can say that there are parts of it that still make me proud, there are parts that strike me as rather dated, and there are parts that make me cringe. This isn't the book I would write now; it's the book I would have written when I started this seven years ago. It isn't the book I would have written by myself because it changed a lot as a result of the whole textbook review process.

Would I do this again? Absolutely not. I was seduced by the prospect of making a lot of money, not realizing how much work this was going to be and how much time it was going to take. True, I did make a few thousand dollars, but I could have made a lot more money with fewer headaches if I had just gotten a part-time job at Starkbucks for seven years. In the time it took me to write this book I could have written at least one "academic" book, one that would have paid me a lot less money but one where I would have been able to advance my career in more productive ways. In short, it was the worst decision of my academic career and the advice I have for anyone thinking about writing a textbook is to not do it.

But hey, live and learn.

I'm publishing it on the web now for two basic reasons. First, I wanted to make this all available electronically for myself and for others because I thought it might be useful. Second, I wanted to bring some closure to this whole thing. I am getting ready to start on a different academic project, and, for whatever reason, I felt compelled to "end" this entirely before I started something else. Now that my project is out here for the entire world, I think of it as being on it's own. Now it's time to write a new book....