Sunday, November 06, 2011

the step-12 program for academic success!

The 12-Step Program for Academic Success
Step Nine:

Do you know how many academic books are published every year?

Do you know how these books get into print?

If you've ever read an academic book, you may wonder about these questions. But even if you haven't, it's important to note that every academic book, before being published, is proposed, or "pitched" to a publishing house. Generally, would-be academic authors pitch their books to knowledgeable editors. This can be a problem, especially if the editor knows something about your field.

Shop around for a publisher whose editors know little or nothing about your specific interest. Put together a proposal and an outline that shows how your book will:
  • sell!
  • resolve ages-old disputes!
  • become required reading for courses at universities everywhere!
  • look nifty and contain many sections, chapters, and headings!
  • be less than 300 pages!

Surely you've seen the enormous publishers' displays at major meetings of academic societies. Who do you suppose the guy is standing behind the table with the University of Chicago Press banner? He's a University of Chicago Press employee. Get information from this person. Find out the names of editors, who their friends are.

Look at the books on the display. Don't look at the titles, look at the names of the Big Shots who wrote them! Then, go schmooze those Big Shots and inform them you may soon have a monograph or a 'volume' under review there.

(IMPORTANT: never say "book." Academics do not "write books," they "put together volumes" or "work on a monograph." If you must refer to the content of your volume -- which should be avoided for obvious reasons, namely, that it might become a topic of critical or rational discussion -- use the term "my work," never "my book." Words are crucial: you should know that by now!)

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