Book proposals and query letters are the primary vehicle to ask publishers if they are interested in a project. But is that the only way publishers find new works? Or are publishers out seeking new books or authors, and if so, how do they find them?
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?
Book 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.
Due to an increase in availability of print-on-demand services that provide lower-cost alternatives for converting a manuscript into a printed and bound product, there is growing confusion among new authors about what constitutes the role of a publisher. Although many publishers and printing companies have symbiotic relationships, publishing companies provide much more than simply printing and binding of a manuscript.
To better understand the role of a publisher, and what authors should look for in a publisher relationship, we reached out to two of TAA’s industry professionals and 2017 conference sponsors: William England of Sentia Publishing and Sean Wakely of FlatWorld.
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