20 Ways to get published in an academic environment

Money, establishing tenure and a passion for ideas are just a few of the many primary and secondary motives for publishing, said sociologist Mark Schneider and linguist Joan Friedenberg, both of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Many of these motives, they said, can be fulfilled by different types of academic publishing. They have come up with 20 ways to get published in an academic environment. They are:

How to extract articles from your dissertation

When I finally got around to writing my dissertation (that’s another story), I realized that its organization easily fell into several relatively self-contained chapters. Once I defended, I needed to convert as much of the dissertation to publishable articles as I could, for the “hound of tenure” was fast on my heels.

I realized that I had written each chapter with a possible article based on it already in mind. In philosophy one often takes on positions articulated by others, and seeks to attack them in a way that makes one’s own view more plausible and defended against those who would, or should, attack it. So, I “carved” the dissertation into three chunks and wrote them up as independent articles. I sent them to the same journals that had published the articles I was attacking, and they were accepted (usually subject to some revisions). Hence, my first three publications, followed by a fourth when one of my attackees sought to defend himself in print. Those, plus a couple of short pieces, secured a tenured appointment.

The most important writing tool

Hello. It’s me again, Ken. Dr. B. says that anyone who has polluted the journals as much as I have should have at least one more tip to offer, so here goes…..

Twenty acres, a tractor, and a toolbox, that’s all we had and all we needed. When the old John Deere broke down, we just grabbed the toolbox and put it right. Writing’s no different. Just keep a few tools…and know how to use them.

Turn bad editing into good writing

Whether soliciting advice from friends, family, or colleagues, on the receiving end of letters and track changes from journal editors, all authors have received bad editing. Bad editing is part of the writing game. Not everyone who is an editor is an excellent writer, in fact many are not. Although we’d like to think that our manuscripts are read by people with an interest or specialization in the material our articles or books cover, that’s not always the case. Readers can have bad days. Professors can be bogged down by exams; student editors may be more concerned with tests.

Tips & tricks for negotiating your first textbook contract

The most important things to negotiate in a first contract are the amount of the advance, the royalty rate and who will control which rights, said Jeff Herman, owner of the Herman Literary Agency in New York.

Keep in mind when negotiating the advance how the publisher calculates it, Herman said: “It will tell you how far they’re willing to go.” To calculate how much of an advance it will offer, the publisher looks at the number of books it will sell during the first year and the dollar amount the author will receive per copy. For example, if the author will receive $2 per copy, and the publisher will sell 10,000 copies the first year, the author will earn $20,000 in royalties. That $20,000, he said, is the highest the publisher will be willing to go in negotiating the advance.

Don’t use a scalpel to peel an apple

One of my favorite people was the legendary football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant. One event stands out. Coach Bryant had won more games than had any other coach, and his institution, The University of Alabama, had won more national championships than any other institution. A rookie player had made a great touchdown and had let everyone know it by spiking the ball. The Bear calmly called him over to the bench and said, “Son, don’t act like this is the only time you have ever made a great play.”