In my last post I offered a few questions academic authors should be asking before they start thinking about a manuscript. Here are some more.
Aren’t simultaneous submissions taboo?
That used to be the case, but these days it is usually not a problem. Most publishers I know are fine with simultaneous submissions as long as you make it clear in your cover letter that you are presenting the proposal to several others also.
in my academic career. I should probably wait to publish a book until I’m established, right?
It would seem to make sense to wait until the end of your career to publish when you finally can consolidate all you’ve learned and taught successfully for decades. But that is often too late. It is hard, from a publisher’s perspective, for authors to start publishing just at the point when they are about to retire, leaving their discipline and all their connections. Publishers are looking for authors who are becoming known through presenting papers and publishing journal articles, who are active participants in the key discussions going on in their discipline, who are networking with colleagues across the country and beyond. Publishers want to build authors whose reputations they can help develop over the course of several books.
What can help me have a successful author-editor relationship?
Ask yourself, what do you want in a student? Probably you are looking for curiosity, teachability, flexibility, a willingness to work hard and take direction. That’s what an editor is looking for in an author. Those students who are too sure of themselves, too confident, are the ones you may have the hardest time with. They forget the years of experience and learning you have amassed, and simply don’t show sufficient humility. Likewise, remember that while you may have published one or two or even six books, an editor will have published dozens or hundreds of books. Take advantage of that hard-earned wisdom.
Yet an editor is also looking for a partner. Students who are too passive aren’t what you want either. Editors want authors to bring something substantive to the table. So ultimately an author-editor relationship should also be a collaboration of equals.
Image: Andrew Horne. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:University_of_Michigan_campus#/media/File:Law_Quad_2009.JPG