about who they have contacts with. Many people have “invisible” contacts
with presses —
perhaps as reviewers of manuscripts, members of editorial boards, or
graduate school connections with people who work in presses.
g) Be prepared,
when you are introduced, to follow up with a jargon-free, clear statement
nature of the book with an attached table of contents (the proposed book,
dissertation). The length may vary from 1.5-2 to 7-8 pages. The statement should
what the book is about, what the main argument is, who the audience would
be, and what the
status of your manuscript is (i.e., when do you expect to have a
ready for review). Try your statement out on friends and advisors before
giving it to a
publisher. Get several careful readings. Proofread carefully.
h) Do not limit
yourself to discussions with one publisher. That is what publishers want, as it
is in their
interests, but it is not in yours. At some point, you may have to agree that
one publisher is
looking at the complete manuscript at any given time, but certainly until
that point you
can explore all the possibilities.
enthusiastic and confident about your book when discussing it with publishers
deference or modesty will kill you) and make sure that your ideas for a book
stands on its
own merits, not just in comparison with something else.
j) If you have a
solid academic contribution to make but do not necessarily want to sell a lot
of books, go
with a university press. If you have a manuscript that you think might have
potential, go with a commercial publisher with better distribution than most
publishers. If you seek good communication with your publisher, and do not have
for your book, go with a smaller, local academic press; the human
may be far superior to that at larger, more bureaucratic presses.
k) Pay careful
attention to the content of your contract.
l) If possible,
make agreements regarding the minimal number of the review copies to be sent
m) Insist on a
clause permitting termination of the contract if the book is not published by a
n) Consider a
code of behavior holding the publisher and the author to respond to each others’
o) Don’t forget
to discuss a date when the first royalties should be paid.
p) Be vocal and
persistent in raising issues and objections, not just with the particular
editor or staff
member (who may be sub-contracted out) in charge of a given phase or
production/advertising but also with the chief editor, who perhaps feels
responsibility for the final product and for the authors.
q) Finally, keep
your nose to the ground and go for places that are dynamic. Once the
out and “maturity” sets in, then shifting publishers quickly might be a
above, we are wondering whether it may be useful to design a contract example
us as authors against all sorts of problems that may occur after signing it.
would be great
if we as authors could draw one line vis-à-vis publishers so that they would
comply with our
wishes, however unlikely this may come about given the competition among each
find themselves in. Anyone?