The Questions You've Been Afraid to Ask
Happy Wednesday, Manuscript Workers!
This week I’m celebrating a little milestone: 3 years of writing this newsletter. I launched it in February of 2019 without much of a plan. A couple hundred of you signed up and I tried to offer some useful tips and tools to help prospective authors navigate the academic book publishing process on a weekly-ish basis.
Three years later, the newsletter has grown steadily to nearly 3500 subscribers (still a nice cozy number), and I’ve tried to keep the information-packed posts coming as regularly as possible so these emails feel like a reliable, positive presence in your inbox and (hopefully) always earn the attention you decide to pay to them.
The newsletter platform I use does keep a searchable archive of posts, and I refer back to my old newsletters often, pointing authors toward some of them quite frequently when recurring questions arise (e.g. how long should your book manuscript be, anyway?).
But the archive isn’t super navigable at a glance — you either have to know what you’re looking for or be ready to just scroll back through the weeks to find the info you need. And some of the older posts are just announcements of time-limited programs that aren’t applicable anymore, so you’ve got to weed through those too to find the good stuff.
I wanted the information I’ve offered about academic book publishing to be a little easier to find and refer to, so last year I embarked on the project of creating a more accessible archive housed on my own website.
I enlisted the help of web designer Amanda Recupero, and after several months of collaborating to figure out what the archive should look like and how we could make it as user-friendly as possible, we’re finally ready to share it!
At the main landing page for the Archive, you’ll see six curated collections of posts, a “Greatest Hits of the Manuscript Works Newsletter,” if you will.
These posts are meant to answer all the questions about academic book publishing you either didn’t know to ask or were embarrassed about not knowing the answers to already. (Which is understandable but not at all rational — no one teaches academics this stuff systematically! Anywhere!)
I hope you’ll take some time to scroll through the whole archive of thumbnails and see what’s interesting to you, but I thought I’d share some suggested starting points here:
In the “Book Proposal Tips” collection, check out this post that addresses the most common question I receive from prospective authors:
In the “Working with Publishers” collection, there’s this post that’s been (unfortunately) evergreen for a couple years now:
In the “Writing & Revising Your Book” collection, you’ll find my classic post with a template for writing book introduction chapters:
In the “Book Promotion & Marketing” collection, you might appreciate this post that demystifies the intimidating concept of “author platform” and points out many ways you’ve likely already begun building a platform that will appeal to scholarly publishers:
The “Behind the Scenes of Academic Book Publishing” collection has plenty of insider details from my own publishing journey as I pitched and landed a contract for The Book Proposal Book, along with insights from other authors and publishing professionals. For example, check out this post on what it might look like to negotiate a contract if you’re offered one by a publisher:
And finally, the “Developmental Editing” collection offers a glimpse into the academic developmental editing process, including this post on how to find a developmental editor who’s a good fit for your project:
If any these titles piqued your interest, go ahead and check out the whole archive at a glance.
And can I ask a favor? If you have a friend or mentee who is hoping to publish a scholarly book someday, would you forward this post along to them? Or just send them a link to the archive? Thanks!
I want these free resources to be accessible to as many scholars as possible, so I really appreciate your help getting the word out!