Jeff Barr's Blog

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Doing a Tech Review

So, how does the review process work? After agreeing to the terms and the time frame, I typically work directly with the author and the editor. The editor will set the time frame and will also set up some working rules for the process, such as the turnaround time for each section, the method to be used for inserting comments into the draft chapters, and so forth. Then the author or the editor will start sending chapters to me as they are ready, often with suggested deadlines for review.

When I receive the chapters, I start to set aside some time in the evening to do review. I generally load them up on my laptop, and sit down in front of the TV with my family. That way I am in the middle of the action on the home, but I can still make steady progress on the review. To review a chapter, I simply read it with a very critical eye, checking for technical accuracy, overall flow, completeness, and so forth. Sometimes the editor wants me to check grammar and spelling, sometimes not. Even if I have been asked not to check these things, I will sometimes make a note if something really bothers me, or if I fear that it could be overlooked for some reason. I generally use Word’s “Track Changes” mode, making comments inline using a style and format set by the editor.

After I finish each chapter, I send it back to the editor, and start on the next one.

For me, the important thing is to set a consistent and sustainable pace, getting some work done each day instead of letting it pile up as the deadline approaches.