So far along our road trip you’ve read Germano, got your solo writing cape on, have a belief in what you’re doing, know for sure why your work needs to be published, and had another piece of pie. Okay, time to check the GPS (online resources) and think about where we are headed by considering all the publishers ever known. It’s Bucket List Time, folks. That’s right, you need to look at all the possibilities so you don’t miss the right possibility. Think big! Now ask yourself some questions. Pretend you are doing a Buzzfeed quiz.
1) Readership: who would be interested in reading this work?
2) Academic or popular or both: is the work framed for a more educational/institutional setting or for popular culture? Does it serve both sectors?
3) What is the main discipline? Women’s Studies, Political Science, French Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Shakespeare Studies, Communication, Canadian Art History, Social Sciences, Anthropology, Theatre, Psychology, Creative Writing, Religious Studies, Medicine, Art Education, Law, Fine Arts, American Literature, East Asian Literature, etc.
- Note: this is tricky especially if you are an interdisciplinary scholar because more than likely you will be able to select 18 possible disciplines. In this case, narrow it down to 3.
4) What is the main theme within the discipline? Write it down in one sentence, for instance, “The main theme that my book follows in the discipline of Political Science is …”
5) What are two secondary themes? One sentence!!!
6) Which country is the work grounded in? United States, South America, Canada, Indonesia, Finland, Africa, etc. Detail the specific region if possible.
- Even if your work has a global trajectory, it is more than likely your research is based somewhere (or a few somewheres). Identify these spaces.
7) Name 5 published works that you could imagine your book appearing next to on a bookshelf. Identify the publishers.
- Note: This is a great opportunity to take a few minutes to close your eyes and picture your book’s cover. Do it! It’s fun.
8) Name 3 publishers that you have already considered, probably around 2 a.m. while you were highly caffeinated and formatting your dissertation’s bibliography.
9) Select one of the above. The dream publisher. What is it about this publisher that makes you believe that it is the right house for your work?
10) In one sentence, write why your work is suited for the above publisher. * Note: I’m a big fan of “get it down in one sentence.” The elevator pitch. Think Mad Men. Concision is a struggle with constraint. But a necessary one. I’ll talk about this more a bit later.
11) Talk to your advisors. Ask the only other people in the world who have read your work for their suggestions. They are also published, right? They may suggest publishers you have not considered.
Now that you have gone from big picture to a more narrowed field, take the time to examine all the possibilities while reflecting on your answers to the above questions. To follow are 2 online resources for your search. It is not the be all end all list, but it will get you started:
Association of Canadian University Presses
International Academic Press
When you have finished your research, do the following:
- Write down 5 publishing houses that you think would be well suited for your work.
- Short list 3 out of the 5.
- Return to the 3 publication sites and really consider “the one.” Write down the name of the one publishing house.
Now you are ready to begin to draft your proposal.
Next stop: The Million Dollar Question: How many proposals should I send out?