Presentation on theme: "Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 WRITING AND GETTING A MONOGRAPH PUBLISHED Presentation at University of Kent, Canterbury, November 27th, 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 WRITING AND GETTING A MONOGRAPH PUBLISHED Presentation at University of Kent, Canterbury, November 27th, 2013
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What are publishers looking for (in a monograph)? One problem for all authors is that fewer and fewer publishers are willing to publish scholarly monographs Publishers are looking for textbooks, professional reference and scholarly reference works, for sale to a global audience Subject specific monograph publishing is not in fashion – because of declining sales, the threat of Open Access, preference for online journals, e-book collections, Publishers who will publish monographs are usually looking for something extra – which could be potential sales in paperback to Masters students, potential sales to a general audience, or “special sales” to a group, society, corporate etc.
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Why monographs are hard to sell (to Publishers) The demands of REF are perceived, by publishers, to favour journal publications Global market for monographs is still shrinking in many disciplines. From print runs of 2000 in the early 1980s, to 1000 in the 1990s, to 250-300 today. Distribution is global, but purchasing is confined to a shrinking number of elite universities The Open Access movement has taken the publishing industry by surprise, and there are worries that it will eventually lead to monographs being published OA
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Your justification for writing a monograph must be a good one, as the effort involved is massive : Good Reasons 1.For pleasure/scholarly enjoyment 2.Because your research may be important 3.To provide materials for your students and colleagues 4. For professional advancement/ academic profile 5. To satisfy demands of funding body Poor Reasons 1.To make money 2.To turn into a publication something you have written anyway Why Write a Book?
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Before you start 1.Have you time to write a book, and how will you live while you do it? 2.Will you need to find and apply for funding? 3.Will you need to apply for a job – tenured or non-tenured i.e. post-doctoral positions? 4.Have you material to develop into a book? How much research do you still need to undertake and how long will this take? 5.Perhaps you already have, or expect to have a manuscript e.g. a PhD thesis. 6.Would journal articles be a better or faster output? Will you reach a wider audience by publishing online? 7.Consider other outputs. Conference papers, chapters in books, journalism, reports or policy papers.
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Creating your own ‘brand’ Will you speak about your book at conferences? Will you use the book for teaching? Will you spin off other research? Will you even be working in this field again?
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 The Golden Rule You should write for yourself. Show your work to people whose views you trust and who will be brutally honest with you. And remember, you are no longer speaking to one, two or three people, but to an audience of hundreds, possibly even thousands…
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Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 The most common question, with the most difficult answer What should I write about to improve my chances of getting a publishing contract?
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 If you are revising a thesis Is there a secret to converting a good thesis into a good book? There are things you will almost certainly have to do: 1.Change the word ‘thesis’ to ‘book’ 2.Think very carefully about your methodology section 3.How much of the thesis is speaking to the examiners and how much is original. 4.Strengthen introduction and conclusions 5.Cut out repetitious linkages 6.If the thesis presents an unorthodox argument, decide on your message and emphasise it throughout the book. De-emphasise secondary points 7.Update and add new chapters if asked
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Titles Authors regularly have problems deciding on titles. Which is better? Title: Regulation, Recidivism and Reform Sub-title: The Privatisation of Prisons in the UK Or Title: The Privatisation of Prisons in the UK Sub-title: Regulation, Recidivism, Reform Be brief Be explicit Be Googleable Assume readers will not discover your book online, not in libraries.
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Searching for the right Publisher
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What you should look for? 1.Who publishes the books that you read and use regularly? 2.Who are the publishers currently publishing in your area? Look at their websites. 3.What is the quality of their books? Are they well edited and produced? 4.What are the publishers’ pricing policies? Compare 5.Who do your colleagues recommend? 6.Which publisher best meets your future needs in terms of prestige/distribution/impact? 7.Do a little bit of research
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What do publishers look for? 1.Commercial Viability 2.Commercial Viability 3.Commercial Viability
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What makes a book commercially viable? This will vary from publisher to publisher Is the book likely to be: Interesting? Topical? Original? Likely to be influential? Likely to enjoy longevity? What is the readership? How large is the market?
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Writing your proposal
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Writing the Proposal 1.Explain your methodology – e.g. is your approach theoretical, empirical, historical, philosophical? 2.What writing style are you aiming for? Try to demonstrate it. 3.Describe the book in 300-400 words 4.Provide detailed table of contents 5.Provide a brief cv 6.Provide a brief critical literature review 7.If a thesis, include examiners’ reports 8.If a thesis, explain how you plan to revise it 9.Remember to include the thesis, revised or unrevised 10.How long will the book be, and when will you finish it
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What will happen to your proposal? 1.The publisher will make an initial evaluation 2.There may then be a peer review process 3.Receive and respond to criticisms 4.Be willing to rewrite 5.Take the opportunity to hone your style
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Common Problems The publisher is taking too long. What do I do? My examiners’ reports were not positive Can I make simultaneous submissions to publishers? How do I deal with rejection? I want to publish articles from the thesis
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 What are the chances of getting a contract? 1.British publishers now deal with academic books from all over the world – English is increasingly the chosen language for publication 2.Not every worthwhile book manuscript will be of sufficiently wide interest to merit commercial publication 3.Some publishers are very wary of doctorates 4.Many doctorates now available electronically via university repositories 5.We receive 1500+ proposals annually 6.We accept 1 in 10 proposals
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Common Questions Q: A publisher has offered me a contract, but has told me that I must either subsidise publication with my own cash, or produce an index and pay for editing. Is this normal? Q: What terms should I expect for publication of my first book? Q: How long does publication take? Q: Does it help to be in a series? Q: How many copies will my thesis/book sell?
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 Finally, 5 Golden Rules 1.Choose the right publisher 2. Prepare a proposal specifically for that publisher 3. Don’t worry about rejection 4. Be prepared to write and rewrite, and be willing to take the advice of those whose views you trust 5. Be realistic about deadlines…
Hart Publishing, Oxford January 2012 And remember… Throughout your career, only ever publish what you want to write about, not what you think will help you get the next job. Write with a passion for your subject, and don’t ever worry about the commercial possibilities of a project. Leave that for the publisher to lose sleep over. It is what makes our jobs interesting…