Reflections on seeking a publisher 5: On giving sole consideration

book publishingSome publishers ask for sole consideration of your proposal. In my process, I have mostly given sole consideration to the publishers to whom I have been proposing. This has been largely a product of my approach: as discussed in previous posts, I feel that it’s best to write a distinct proposal for each publisher, to better match their list. Because that’s a pretty big effort, I don’t send out a lot of proposals at once. In August, I sent out one proposal that never earned any response, so I suppose that I wasn’t quite offering sole consideration on the two proposals I sent after that. Because it takes time to move from one proposal version to the next, and because the responses I did receive were generally quick (on 3 out of 5, I received a response within a day or two), I was basically offering sole consideration: as soon as I got a positive response, I focused my energies on responding to that one publisher, and not one making a proposal for another. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 4: On writing proposals

book publishingIn my experience, proposals are more difficult and nerve-wracking than writing the book. When I work on my book, I think about the strengths and about what I can offer to people through my writing. When I work on a proposal, it’s hard not to think about the possibility of acceptance and rejection, which is rather more stressful.

In writing, I find it crucial to hold on to my ideas as a foundation and focus first, before considering other people’s interests. But for a proposal, especially, I have to speak to someone else’s interests. It’s all well and good for me to believe that I have great ideas and that everyone could benefit from reading my book, but, realistically, the editor at a publishing house doesn’t much care about me; they care about their job and about finding books that will sell, and who knows what else? If I want that editor to do something—like read my proposal, or offer me a contract—it’s important to know what they want, because that knowledge gives me a better chance of writing something that will suit that editor. [Read more…]

Writing and publishing for everyone; Not just the 90%

Authors need to consider accessibility when creating materials and choosing a publisher, but how can they this when it is such a misunderstood word?

Accessibility, in regard to publishing, means making content available in alternative formats for individuals with visual impairment or learning disabilities.

People may conjure up Braille as making content accessible to people with disabilities or learning issues. Publishing, however, has progressed so much farther than this. Using such technical standards as ePub3, HTML5, alt text, and other specific initiatives, publishers can make their content accessible to a growing audience. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 3: Write the proposal before the book?

book publishingBefore I started the proposal process for my book, I had written a complete draft (as well as two almost-complete early drafts), and also hired an editor to check that draft. I had, in short, a pretty mature draft. But the questions publishers ask about the completeness of the draft, led me to wonder whether that was the best plan for seeking publication.

Common proposal questions ask: “When do you plan to finish the book?”, and “When can you deliver the manuscript?”, which seem primarily relevant for proposals written by people who have not yet completed their book. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 2: A lengthy process

book publishingThe 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. [Read more…]

Reflections on seeking a publisher 1: Introduction

book publishingFor most of this past year, I have been 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. [Read more…]

Cultivating a relationship with a publisher; sooner rather than later

liberty bellMost 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? [Read more…]

#AcWriChat TweetChat: Not on Twitter? Watch live here on 4/6 at 11 a.m. ET

acwrimoJoin TAA on Twitter on Friday, April 6 at 11 a.m. ET using the hashtag #AcWriChat for our latest TweetChat focused on sustaining and maintaining open access platforms for academic publishing. Not on Twitter? Not sure what a “Tweet Chat” is? Follow us here (you won’t be able to actively participate, but you will be able to follow the chat live). [Read more…]

Playing the field: Is it ok to submit a single book proposal to multiple publishers?

Textbook StackBuilding 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. [Read more…]

10 Remedies for mid-book slog

It's book o'clockWhen 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.

And then it hit. Three months in, I should have been barreling along. But I dragged out of bed, succumbed to at least an hour of home-page clicking, read every word of emails selling everything, and with lukewarm attention, perused writing sites. After way too long, I pecked a phrase, deleted it, pecked another, almost cried. My malady: mid-book slog. [Read more…]