Questions Academic Authors Should Ask (4)

Here are two final questions in my series (see here and here and here) of questions that scholars should be asking about publishing.

What about self-publishing?


Self-publishing won’t help an academic who is trying to build a vita of peer-reviewed publications. But if you can’t find a publisher for your text, sometimes self-publishing can be a good option to make it available to your students. And if it catches on beyond more than your institution, it can be a way to get an established publisher to take notice and consider it for traditional publication.

But keep in mind

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that self-publishing takes a lot of work to do it well (design, proofreading, editing, production, printing, warehousing, shipping, billing, etc.). Even a self-publishing service requires authors to do a lot of work to prepare the electronic file to their specifications. And then your job isn’t over if you want it to be used beyond your own classes. Marketing and promotion is needed.

How do I get started?
When you do go to a publisher with your proposal, you want to present as strong a case as possible for why they should take on your project. That includes more than just a good book idea. It includes showing that you are building a reputation in your discipline. This can be done by writing book reviews or articles for academic journals, gaining an audience for your blog, developing a social media following, and giving papers at academic audiences. You may even want to find opportunities to speak to lay audiences. That may not be for everyone, but it is worthwhile to see how you like them and how they like you. All of those will help a publisher take you more seriously.

Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Champaign-Urbana_area_std_1742.jpg
Source: Dori. License: Dual GFDL CC