Thank you for the intro. It’s great to be here to talk with you about book publishing. I’ve actually co-authored 3 books with Joan Kaplowitz: ILI: Theory & Practice, 1 st ed (2001) & 2d ed (2009) Learning to Lead & Manage ILI (2005), All published by Neal-Schuman Publishers, Inc.
If anyone’s interested, you can see the TOC and index for this book on the NS web site: http://www.neal-schuman.com/bdetail.php?isbn=9781555706661 Just click on “Free Preview” and then “Click here to view a full-sized PDF” And also, if anyone’s interested, here’s a url where you can find a pdf of a discount flyer if you want to buy a copy: http://bit.ly/9zDKTb I’d suggest ILL’ing it first, though, to see if you do want to buy it
Let me begin by asking you do something: STAND UP IF YOU THINK IT WOULD BE CRAZY FOR YOU TO EVEN DREAM OF WRITING AND PUBLISHING A BOOK? That’s actually what I thought, and I’m still stunned by the fact that Joan Kaplowitz and I actually did it 3 times… But I hope that in the end you’ll see that it’s definitely possible to do this, though you do need to have support, make a commitment and then stick to it.
Ok, I’m going to try to address 4 points about book publishing in the next 15 minutes: A bit more about our books— what they are & why we wrote them How we found a publisher What publishers want to see from prospective authors I’ll be happy to try to answer any other questions at the end.
JK and I have written these textbooks for the Information Literacy Instruction course we developed in 1989 and have been teaching to MLIS students since 1990 in the UCLA IS dept. We’ve also geared our books to serve as support for librarians already teaching or new to teaching, who haven’t had a chance to take a course like ours.
WHY THE CLASS & THE BOOK? We proposed the class in 1989 because there was such dire need for librarians to learn how to teach and how to develop instructional programs & materials in all sort of libraries and for all sorts of users. The last textbook on this topic had been published in 1989 – Library Instruction for Librarians , Anne Roberts, and was out of print and out of date by the mid-90s. We made do with a variety of articles and book chapters cobbled together, but lack of a textbook was a real handicap. SO, THAT’S THE 1 ST Q TO ASK YOURSELF ABOUT WRITING A BOOK—IS THERE A NEED FOR IT?
HOW? How did this whole process actually take place? Well, it was rather accidental. Joan and I had been batting around the idea of writing a textbook for our class for a year or two, once we found out that Anne Roberts’ book was out of print. Then, in Spring 1996, I was asked to give a short presentation at a conference held at Harvard called “Finding Common Ground.” While I was there I attended a panel discussion where various publishers spoke, including Pat Schuman.
When the panel discussion ended, I got up my courage, introduced myself, and asked if she would be interested in publishing a textbook for a course like ours. I was so surprised when she said Yes, very eagerly. We had never dealt with book publishers, so we had no clue about what to do. So for 6 months or so, we went back and forth with the main Neal-Schuman editor, Charles Harmon, proposing our book in one letter after another, thinking that was all that was needed. We didn’t realize that N-S has some detailed requirements for a book proposal. Here’s what they require:
Description (including need for the book you’re proposing) Competitive analysis—which other books are already out there that would compete with your book Draft TOC w/estimated chapter length & est. length of book, plus # & types of indexes Detailed Outline Sample Chapter or 6-10 sample pages Draft Preface Projected Completion Date Resume Other publishers may or may not require as much up front as NS does
We ended up each writing a sample chapter for our proposed 1 st book, plus all of the other materials they wanted And we drew heavily on what we did for our course in order to write the book Then for our 2d and 3d books, it was easier. The 2d book, Learning to Lead, wasn’t really our idea… We had too many chapters for the 1 st book, so they took out 4 of our chapters and we added a bunch of others to make a 2d book Then they asked us to write a 2d ed of our 1 st book
All of this took lots and lots of time and support… I can’t emphasize that enough For our 1 st book we had tons of both— We got an $8000 research grant from the Librarians Assoc of UC Also, each of us got 3 months off with pay to work on our book We used some of the $8000 grant funding to pay for reference desk replacements for ourselves For the 2d book, neither of us got any time off or a grant, so we both worked on it when we weren’t on the job And for the 2d ed of our 1 st book, Joan had retired, but again, there was no support for me So, I spent all of my nights, weekends and holidays working on it for 2 or 3 years… That was really tough…
So, here are a few tips re book publishing Do your research—ID a need for a book on a topic ID potential audiences & competing publications Check w/your dept. head to find out what kind of support you can expect—ask for time off & look into grants Research publishers & find a good fit If you get a contract offer, check w/your administrators again to be sure of support Make sure the timeline is long enough for completion Communicate frequently w/your publisher abt. Feedback Get feedback from colleagues & credit them for their time & contributions Give yourself *lots* of extra time to complete a rough draft of the manuscript, to respond to & incorporate feedback, to review page proofs, to create an index, etc. —it could take 3 or more years So, I’d recommend not entering into this sort of endeavor unless you have *lots* of support, from administrators & colleagues at work, and family members at home
Book publishing for cvl book fair 8 25 10
Book Publishing CVL Book Fair Esther Grassian/Alexandria Knight UCLA College Library 25 Aug 2010 [email_address]
Tips <ul><li>Do Research! </li></ul><ul><li>Check for Support </li></ul><ul><li>Spend Time… </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate with Publisher </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge Colleague </li></ul><ul><li>Support is Essential! </li></ul>