Ricki Lewis: Human Genetics

Human Genetics cover

Human Genetics cover


Ricki Lewis
McGraw-Hill Education, September 5, 2017, $205.25
ISBN-10: 1259700933 ISBN-13: 978-1259700934

Lewis reports:

This is the 12th edition of my textbook. I’m sole author of all 12 editions. My Ph.D. is in genetics, and I came to this project, in 1991, with a decade of freelance science writing experience.

The “proposal” was a chapter outline scribbled on a napkin at a dinner with the publisher of my intro biology textbook, Life. Human genetics was the book I’d wanted to write in 1981 when five publishers asked me to do an intro book. Genetics wasn’t yet a big deal.

Ricki Lewis

Ricki Lewis

My science writing skills infuse this textbook, in the boxed readings, chapter intros, and pedagogical elements about families I’ve interviewed. I once overheard a male professor seemingly insulting me by saying, “She writes like a woman.” I took it as a compliment.

McGraw-Hill has been great about letting me lead, such as going from a three-year cycle to a two-year cycle as human genome sequencing revved up. I decide which topics to cover and how and in what sequence, based on instructor reviews. I’ve had tremendous freedom.

Covers: All 12 editions of Human Genetics

Covers: All 12 editions of Human Genetics

I didn’t need an agent because publishers found me, and I’ve only taken advances on two of the 33 textbook editions I’ve done (I have written two other books with co-authors.) What I’m working on today won’t generate royalties for two years, given publishing cycles and semester timing.

The editorial situation is very different from that of magazines and other types of books. Editors mostly “manage products,” and now developmental editors are actually called Brand Managers. McGraw-Hill isn’t even a publisher, it’s an educational company. The one constant and the professional I’ve learned the most from over the years is the copyeditor. Copyeditors rock!

I’m not sure how much longer textbooks will exist. Many are being chopped up, reconfigured, and spat back out as “content,” to compete with other streams of “content.” I am not a content provider and never will be. I am an author.

Contact info:

Ricki Lewis, 518-210-2017, rickilewis54@gmail.com, @rickilewis
Website: http://www.rickilewis.com/
Blog: http://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/
Publisher: http://www.mheducation.com/

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