Caveat: I have not been published by these venues. I am just repeating what was told to me by managing editors and acquisition editors of two book publishers and two journals at PCA.
This is a live blogging of the session.
Most useful information for newbies: Write the editors of a journal in your field and offer to write reviews. This is better if you have a book in mind, but the editors said they often have books and no one to write for them.
To propose a book for McFarland or Greenwood:
Go to the website.
Find the area contact for your research area.
Send an email. A brief email.
This should include a description of your project in no more than 15 words.
It should also indicate your willingness to write accessible prose.
What you will have to submit for a book:
The press sends a proposal form.
This requests info about the author and the book.
An annotated table of contents is required.
They also like to know what kind of effort the author can put in.
Will you be able to get reviews? Will you make appearances? Is someone important in the field willing to give endorsements? How many students will you require to use the book each semester?
Shop the competition:
As an author, you need to know what’s out there.
If it’s good, what will your work add?
If it’s bad, how will your work fill a need?
But, they said, you should find a publisher first. (Not sure why. It’s what I wrote in my notes.)
When signing on with a publisher:
You should know what is the support you can expect.
Who has to get permissions? (Usually you.)
Who has to pay for images? (Usually you.)
Who indexes the work?
What support is there for an author?
Important things to remember:
Academic book publishers do not mind simultaneous submissions. But do let them know that you are submitting elsewhere.
Work with publishers who work online.
If the book is previously published (even self-published), tell the publisher that.
You can usually use a total of 400 words from a full-length book in your book without permission.
You can use one line or less of lyrics or a single poem.
You can use up to 3 stills from a movie (or none, based on the publisher).
How to get permissions:
Make sure that you say it is for an academic work.
Know that if you ask for permission and are turned down, you cannot even use the 400 words listed above.
Lyrics are almost never given permission for use, even in academic works.
Same for television stills.
But comics are often given permissions, if you make sure to state that you are doing academic work and that your purpose is not to defame the work.
If you need a picture, two places were recommended: Getty and Photofest Digital.
Often there is a cost for images, but sometimes you can get them to lower it for academics. (They know most of us don’t make gobs of money.)
How to know what permissions you need:
Ask your publisher.
McFarland wants worldwide publishing rights, so North American rights does no good for them.
Find out how long the rights last. McFarland books stay in print.
Get rights for print and/or online. Those change.
Read the submission guidelines.
Works are not read if they do not correspond to the submission guidelines.
Familiarize yourself with what the journals cover.
Know the kinds of things they do and accept.
Do NOT submit simultaneous submissions for journals.
Blind peer review:
According to the two journals at the conference, blind peer review will only be looking at your work.
AND, if they don’t accept it, they will send the work back with comments, so that you will know why they didn’t accept it.
Step outside the box.
Look for opportunities to publish.
Look at online journals.
Check out CFPs regularly. (I find more the more I look.)
Graduate student assignment:
One attendee said that her professor made them read ten years’ worth of ten journals in their fields.
It’s an excellent idea that I intend to pursue next time I have six weeks free.