Publishers: Getting to know you

Connecting puzzle piecesBook publishing is the long game. Thinking of publishing in a short-term way will likely either get you discouraged or frustrated.

Of course, publishing starts with an idea and the desire to communicate it to your community. Once you are ready to act on it, a publisher (likely) needs to come into the picture. Authors may know the names of publishers in their field, usually from going to conference or speaking with their salespeople. But how do you approach them with your idea? I would suggest you start well before any proposal or actual discussion. Developing connections or relationships with publishers can pay off in many ways. [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…]

Two academic editors share tips for getting published

Julia Kostova photo high res color (2)

Dr. Julia Kostova

Patrick Alexander color

Patrick Alexander

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, provided 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. [Read more…]

Forming a publisher relationship: 6 Strategies for building rapport

Textbook ResearchIn the first part of this three-part series, I described how product acquisitions works, and in the second part I covered how to submit a project proposal.  But what if you just aren’t ready to take the plunge and submit a proposal yet?  You can still take constructive action by building relationships with higher education publishers through working on smaller projects.  Why is this important?  Because most higher education publishers and their editors prefer to work with authors they know and upon whom they can rely.  As an aspiring author, it’s also valuable to experience what it’s like to partner with various publishers before committing to a major project.  Building rapport with one or more publishers today can yield rich dividends down the road. [Read more…]

How to write a book proposal for an academic press

academic book proposalSo, you want to turn your dissertation into a book? Or, perhaps you want to write your first academic book on an entirely different subject. Unless you are famous and have publishers soliciting manuscripts from you, you likely will have to submit a formal academic book proposal to an academic press to have a hope of publishing a book with such a press.

Many university press websites have guidelines that can help you through this process. UC Press has a good set of guidelines as does Harvard. Be sure to check the websites of the press where you plan to submit to find out if they have specific guidelines.

Here I provide generic suggestions for what should go in an academic book proposal, and then suggest a method for writing such a proposal. [Read more…]

Forming a publisher relationship: 3 Steps for submitting your project

high stack of booksIn the first installment of this three-part series, “Forming a publisher relationship: The acquisitions editor”, I provided a perspective on the typical acquisitions editor, also called product manager. Now that you have a sense for this audience, how do you successfully connect with higher education publishers and make it easy for them to understand your project’s value?

Step 1: Target the Right Publishers. Think about your own experiences as a customer and what’s important to you as an author. Among the questions you might explore are: [Read more…]

Forming a publisher relationship: The acquisitions editor

Sean Wakely

Sean Wakely

For aspiring higher education authors and content writers, one of the first goals is to connect with a publisher. The next step is to leverage that connection into an immediate contract offer or build a working relationship that will one day result in a contract.

In this first installment of a three-part series, I’ll provide some insights about acquisitions editors. The acquisitions editor is the gatekeeper to forming a productive publisher relationship, so it’s particularly useful for authors to understand who acquisitions editors are and what typically motivates them.

Let’s start with a brief overview of the acquisitions editor’s role, key responsibilities, and performance metrics. Then I’ll cover how authors can leverage this knowledge in building a relationship with a publisher. [Read more…]

Textbook proposal tips: Read publishers’ author guidelines

TextbooksMost textbook publishers provide instruction on their website in the form of author guidelines for developing a book proposal that includes detailed information on how you can become an author for their company.

TAA has compiled this list of author guidelines for many of the major textbook publishers. [Read more…]

How to reach out to potential textbook publishers

high stack of booksQ: “I am interested in researching the types of textbooks that currently exist regarding preparing a student for a job and which courses utilize this book. Is there a way to determine, other than contacting universities directly, if books are currently being used regarding this topic and if they effectively address the current job market issues? Also, is it recommended, if you have a textbook topic idea, to send the proposal to multiple potential publishers? Is it necessary to completely write the book before marketing it to potential publishers?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing and Developing Your College Textbook:

“You don’t mention the type of job you are referring to. Textbooks that prepare people for jobs may be [Read more…]

How to write a book proposal for an academic press

So, you want to turn your dissertation into a book? Or, perhaps you want to write your first academic book on an entirely different subject. Unless you are famous and have publishers soliciting manuscripts from you, you likely will have to submit a formal academic book proposal to an academic press to have a hope of publishing a book with such a press.

Many university press websites have guidelines that can help you through this process. UC Press has a good set of guidelines as does Harvard. Be sure to check the websites of the press where you plan to submit to find out if they have specific guidelines.

Here I provide generic suggestions for what should go in an academic book proposal, and then suggest a method for writing such a proposal. [Read more…]