Before I started the proposal process for my book, I had written a complete draft (as well as two almost-complete…
The process of proposing and publishing takes a long time, so patience is important. I started the proposal process nine months ago, and there’s a chance I may be working on a new proposal soon. There are ways that I could have saved time in the process, but even if I had been maximally efficient, I would still have been looking at a process of several months.
In February, I sent my first proposal to an agent who specifically requested sole consideration, which was fine with me, given that part of why I was trying an agent was to avoid doing multiple proposals. (I will discuss the question of giving publisher sole consideration in a future post.) The agent’s website said if I hadn’t gotten a response within six weeks that I should assume that my proposal was rejected, so I waited (and avoided the difficult task of preparing another proposal). When I hadn’t heard within five weeks, I started to work again, thinking about to whom to send my next proposal.
For most of this past year, I have been in seeking a publisher for my book for graduate students about using scholarly literature. As I write this, my proposal is scheduled to be discussed at a publication meeting a few days from now, and by the time this blog post gets published, I will either have a contract offer or another rejection.
In this and the following posts, I reflect on some of the issues that have come up in my process—issues that might be of interest to writers who are not yet experienced in proposing books to publishers. Those with more experience might view my reflections as naive (and if so, feel free to comment), but those with less experience might at least find comfort in someone else struggling with similar issues, even if they don’t find useful suggestions.
Most academics and authors want to have a productive relationship with a publisher or publishers. It eases the road ahead and makes the process less mysterious. A good (or dare I say great) relationship with a publisher will also give an academic market knowledge about their chosen area of authorship and its readers. But how do you go about cultivating such a relationship?
The first step is to start now. Waiting until after the research and writing is done it like going on vacation and only reading about your destination after you’ve landed at the airport. Sure, you know about the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, but what else is there to do?
Building a relationship with a publisher, for many authors, is a lifelong commitment, so the decision of which publisher to work with shouldn’t be taken lightly. How do you know that you’ve found “the one” for your book? We sought the opinions of seven TAA members on whether or not it’s acceptable to submit a single book proposal to several different publishers. Here are their responses and reasoning.
When the contract arrived for my book Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation, I levitated and floated on the ceiling. My proposal had been accepted, my outline was complete, and my files of notes overflowed. I dove into the full book head-on, bounding out of bed early every day, even Sunday. With not a single email detour, I clicked the manuscript onto the screen and started typing. I would easily make the agreed-on publisher’s deadline.
You’ve determined to dive in and write that monograph or textbook. You know it will be countless hours of work, but it will be worth it. Right?
No one wants to spend time on a “me too” project; going over ground already covered in other books. By spending time up front using creative thinking, you can increase your project’s chance of success.
Although a number of software tools are now available for managing citations and references for research papers and journal articles, I have found that using the tools built into the latest versions of Microsoft Word provide a single tool for document creation and reference source management. The reference features of Word support a variety of manuscript styles, allow for quick and accurate citations, automate the development of bibliography or works cited pages, and support the reuse of sources across multiple documents with ease.
In this article, I will discuss the basic steps for implementing the tools to manage your academic reference sources in Microsoft Word.
To have a successful career, faculty members must publish books or articles in keeping with their institution’s expectations. Unfortunately, many have received little training on navigating the publishing process. In a TAA webinar entitled “Ask the Editors: What Publishers Want and Why”, Dr. Julia Kostova, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Oxford University Press, and Patrick H. Alexander, Director of The Pennsylvania State University Press, provide strategies to help academic writers get published. The pair focused on the following four topics: identifying and approaching a publisher, writing a successful book proposal, turning a dissertation into a book, and publicizing your own work.
As textbook and academic authors, your copyrights are your livelihood, and the value of your copyrights is often enhanced by registering them in the U.S. Copyright Office – something that you can easily do for yourself. Yet, as publishing and copyright attorneys, we find that many text and academic authors know less than they should about copyright registration. Here’s our sample Q&;A conversation with an author who wanted to know more about when, why, and how to register the author’s copyrights: