Pitch your wares, speaking of being outgoing, one of the best sales techniques is to approach acquiring editors at academic conferences, says Singerman. At any conference that has a book exhibit, one of the people attending from each press will be an acquisitions editor. Were not there because were particularly good at selling books. Were there because we want to talk with authors about their projects. So take advantage. Its good to have a prospectus and a cv on hand for those editors who ask to see one.
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Theres nothing resume to be ashamed. Youre in a conversation; youre are at the table because you deserve to be there. Feeling self-conscious and thesis shy about all that? Seek help and support, says McClennen. Maybe networking feels corporate and businessy but it is important today. You have to be able and willing to make statements such as I met so-and-so at the University of Chicago last week and he recommended I talk with you. Networking can not only help you impress publishers but help you buddy up with good prospects for blurbing your book. All this may require a personality overhaul. Be a little more open—not aggressive, but extrovertedabout promoting your work, suggests McClennen. If you cant stand in front of someone and talk about your book and explain quickly why its important, its reasonable for a press to wonder whether they should invest their time and energy in you.
Good networking skills will bring you into contact with more powerful people who can help you approach acquiring editors. You have to make connections, says McClennen, who suggests drawing up a list of prospective networking partners. I always tell my students to pretend their book is sitting at a table having a beer with three other books. Now ask Who are you going to have a beer with? Whos drinking with you? Those people, she adds, are your potential networking partners. If you think your work is connected to those people, you should reach out.
Your ability to fill that gap can become a justification for your text, notes Abel. A series editor can, in a very powerful way, make an argument to the acquisitions editor for your book. Thats like having an inside advocate for your text early. A bonus is that series editors very often know the best and most agreeable readers in your subject field. One caveat: Not all series editors are active in acquiring new titles; it may be prudent to submit your proposal to both the series editor and the houses acquisitions editor. Once youve prioritized your candidates you can avoid untimely delays in your career by sending your proposal to several publishers at the same time. This practice is accepted and recommended by the industry. However, you must not send your completed manuscript to more than one publisher simultaneously. Track your quarry, now that weve entered the topic of marketing, just how do you get the word out about your proposed book?
Dear First-Time author: How to turn your
Those stars are the historically elite presses, harvard and Stanford among them. At the bottom of the incline, he cautions, are some independent publishers who do not enjoy the reputation required by tenure committees. While you want to be as high as possible on the publishing house food chain, that should not be your sole criterion. A successful publication can involve striking a balance between the reputation of a press and the company you keep. You also want to be publishing in the company of the scholars with whom you want to be seen, the people with whom you are in dialogue, says Singerman. Consider what placing your book with a specific publisher would do for you professionally. One easily overlooked pathway to publication is the matching of a proposed book to an established series, notes Jonathan.
Abel, director of Undergraduate Studies in the department of Comparative literature at Pennsylvania state University. (Abel is himself a recent first time book author.) requirements There are a couple of reasons why i would recommend fitting your book into a series, says Abel. Acquisitions editors tend to look at your work in a marketing way. Series editors, though, are generally academics who were given their series because they know the field in a certain way. They have made a proposal to put a number of books into the field because they see a gap.
The successful book, adds Singerman, takes a stand. A dissertation will usually be more research driven, its argument subordinated to sourcing that is wide and deep. The book switches things around as its research is trimmed and honed to support a strong argument. Nailing down that argument is key: If the argument has not been made, additional research and writing needs to be done, says Singerman. Pick your publisher, what publishers should you approach? Compile a list of candidates by looking through your dissertation bibliography, seeing whos been publishing the work in your field that you find most interesting.
But pay attention to publication dates. Publishing programs change over time, cautions Singerman. Just because a hugely important work was published. Press X fifteen years ago doesnt mean that theyre still developing that field. Picking the best publisher from the scores of prospects can be daunting. One important factor is reputation, notes Steven Tötösy de zepetnek, editor of a series on Comparative cultural Studies. Start with the stars and then go down, he suggests.
a guide to quantitative and qualitative
Get barbing me re-write, once youve fenced in your dissertation its time to eyeball some revisions. All of the panel participants caution against believing a dissertation can be transformed into a book with little editing. Thats not the case, and the author who rushes to submit unrefined work is destined for rejection. My advice is to set your dissertation aside for a while, says Singerman. Give yourself time to think about how a dissertation written for a committee first differs from a book written for the public. A dissertation is an apprenticeship work in which you need to show that youve read all of the scholarship and covered the field, says Singerman. By the time you publish the book its assumed you know all that; you are no longer an apprentice. You are writing from a position of authority and the book should be written in an authoritative voice.
The dissertation title, of course, is one give-away: A book laden with one might be added to a do not buy list. (Which brings up a related piece of advice from Singerman: Dont waste your title on your dissertation if its the perfect title for the book.) Unfortunately, just changing your books title is not protection enough: availability of your dissertation proper on the Internet can also. While the existence of your dissertation on the Internet is not a death knell for the book, it does mean you will be in for some significant labor. The availability of an open access version of the dissertation greatly raises the bar on the amount of revision you will need to do before publication, says Singerman. Youll need to really transform the work so that it could never be mistaken for the open access or the Proquest version. Singerman points out another downside of publishing your dissertation on the Internet: It might be less than prudent to publish a version of your work that will likely be later improved through peer first review and editorial revision. Keep in mind that if your institution has an open access policy for all its dissertations you may be able to opt out. Says McClennen: If your dissertation is an open access you need to do everything you can to get it out—right now.
successfully you need to prevent your valuable work from escaping into the wild. That means protecting your dissertation from distribution through channels created by the so-called open access movement which—working under the rubric that information wants to be free—promotes the posting of dissertations on publicly accessible web sites, making work available to anyone with a twitchy computer mouse. Before participating in such a site, understand that your books only market of importance will consist of academic libraries—and those institutions will not purchase any book which is already available in dissertation form on the Internet, whether in open access or on Proquest. If we cant sell your book to libraries we cant publish your book, says Jerome singerman, senior Humanities Editor at the. University of Pennsylvania press where he acquires books in a number of fields including literary medieval, early modern, and Jewish studies. Academic libraries buy their books through approval plans from one dominant wholesaler. That wholesaler has people checking to see whether a book is a revision of a dissertation.
McClennen is also Professor of International Affairs and Comparative literature at Penn State University as well as that institutions Director for Global Studies. McClennen brings empathy to her chosen topic, admitting that she was terrified when she first approached academic presses. Publishing your first book is a fearful process, she says. That emotion arises partly from a misunderstanding of the working environment. The book publishing process carries an aura that is out of sync with reality, says McClennen, noting that many authors look upon the process as somewhat mystical. . The reality is that publishing is a business run by people who are a lot roles like you. They care about their fields and they want to see good books come out. Another damaging misconception, adds McClennen, is the negative view held by many authors toward publishers.
Nicolas Medtner: books, articles, dissertations
So youve completed your brilliant dissertation—or a good portion. How do you turn your hard work into a published book? Its a question common among doctoral candidates—especially those seeking tenure, for which book publication is de rigueur. In an attempt to ease the transition dates from scholar to manuscript peddler, the. American Comparative literature Association (acla) sponsored a workshop titled Publishing your First book during its spring. Capitals conference at New York University. Organizer of the session was Sophia. McClennen, a member of the acla board and Chair of the groups Publications Committee.