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Short Course #4: Have Content…. Need Publisher: Perspectives on the Confusing Confluence that Joins a Manuscript with Its Ideal Publisher

Saturday, April 27, 11:30 am - 12:45 pm


Have Content…. Need Publisher: Perspectives on the Confusing Confluence that Joins a Manuscript with Its Ideal Publisher


J. Kanan Sawyer,  West Chester University
James Klumpp, University of Maryland
Moira Donovan, Hayden-McNeil
Cheryl Falkowski, Pearson Publishing



As academics in pursuit of publication avenues, we have all produced manuscripts, course materials, or book proposals and then wondered how to find that content a publication home. This short course is about the union between your content and a publisher. You will be led through the process of publisher selection by two authors who have collectively worked with six publishers then go through the publication process with representatives from two competing publication houses (Pearson Publishers and Hayden-McNeil) who will NOT sell you anything but instead will layout their procedures so that you can learn to make your best choices. 

Target Audience


The intended audience should be any faculty who are considering writing a book or have begun the process and are looking for a publisher.

Outline of Topics


 1)    Types of Materials & Author Purpose (10 minutes)

-       What do I hope to achieve with this publication?

  • setting goals
  • considering audience

-       Choosing a publisher to approach

  • considering levels of review
  • considering publisher name recognition
  • evaluating marketing

-       What content form and level of completion do I bring to the table?

  • forms
    • custom publication, scholarly text, course textbook
  • existing materials or ideas
    • editing versus crafting a proposal

2)    Producing a Proposal (20 minutes)

-       What is a proposal and do I need one?

-       How many proposals can I / should I send out?

  • articles versus books

-       How to I format a book proposal?

  • publisher requested parts and examples
  • tone
  • research
  • examples

-       What should I expect from reviews of the proposal?

3)    Negotiating a Contract  (20 minutes)

-       What should I expect from the publisher?

  • tone and information
  • marketing planning
  • price and accessibility
  • electronic access 

-       What does it mean when they offer me a “grant”?

  • subvention fees
  • advances and royalties

-       How important should money be to me?

  • gross versus net
  • realistic expectations
  • taxes
  • payment timelines

-       Who owns my content once I sign?

  • individual contracts
  • online and technical versions of material
  • control over final product
  • open source and SPARC agreements

4)    Steps toward Full Production (15 minutes)

-       What are traditional timelines?

-       What is involved in editing?

  • author responsibilities
  • publisher responsibilities-        

-       How is the layout and look for the book determined – and should I care?

  • author portion
  • publisher portion
  • negotiations

5)    Getting a Few Publishers’ Perspectives (25 minutes)

-       How can an author differentiate one publisher from another?

-       What is an ideal working relationship with an author?

-       What holds up publication deadlines?

-       How likely is acceptance?

-       What might my book look like in the end?

** both authors and both publisher representatives will also be at the conference throughout the duration of ECA to meet individually with participants should they wish to ask further questions or get more individual guidance; facilitator contact information will be made available to all participants at the onset of this program as part of our take-home materials

Learning Outcomes


At the completion of the short course, participants will:

  • be able to assess the time commitment of bringing a text or idea to press
  • understand the steps needed to bring a book to press (including proposals, editing and revisions methods, indexing, image selection, publishing house interaction)
  • have an general understanding about the locus of control in producing a text with a reputable publisher
  • know the difference between different publishers’ expectations, requirements, processes, and styles
  • have an understanding (and examples) of book contracts and finances

Teaching Methods


This short course will include information dissemination in a lecture format with active Q&A from participants throughout followed by two brief presentations from publishers and then small group interaction with each presenter.

The course facilitators will utilize PowerPoint slides to guide the discussion and show screen shots of publisher websites or relevant materials and then distribute electronic copies of material examples and templates.