how to write an academic book proposal | The Professor Is InWriting and submitting an academic book proposal can seem like a daunting task. University presses specialize in subject areas. So, you first need to make sure that your book is a good fit subject, methodology, etc. To do so, determine which subject area your book fits in. Then, consult the AUP Subject area grid to see which presses publish in your area. Visit the press website and peruse recent books in your discipline to make sure they publish books like yours. You can also consult your own bibliography and bookshelf to identify possible publishers.
How To Write A Book Proposal
You all know that the book proposal is the cornerstone to a successful tenure track career in most areas of the humanities and social sciences. Sure, some parts of psychology and economics and other fields are not book-based, but basically, the law of the land is: write a book. What you may not be aware of is that the book proposal should be an element in your job applications. In this job market, you have to be looking ahead to the book, and able to speak intelligently about the book and its publishing plan, from the earliest days, ie, even when you are ABD and still finishing the dissertation. The fact is, the dissertation does not get you a job. The anticipated book gets you the job. OK, having established the necessity of writing a book proposal from early, early stages in your career, we now turn to the proposal itself.
Download the Writing Roundabout eBook to understand the challenges involved in planning, drafting, revising, and editing your academic writing. Academic book proposals typically contain six basic types of information. It is important to understand the purpose of each section because different presses use slightly different terms for each section. The following captures what they have in common. The Introduction describes your topic, your overall message, and the scope of your topic. The Structure details your plan of organization for the book, often through a Table of Contents. It includes a listing of tables, figures, and similar types of materials.
So, you want to turn your dissertation into a book? Or, perhaps you want to write your first academic book on an entirely different subject.
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Writing and research
In the world of book publishing, it is difficult enough for known authors to get their books published, but even harder for researchers. Researchers would like to believe that their research is fascinating and would surely contribute to the betterment of society. The answer to this question is how to persuade publishers to work with you.
If you are a novelist, you have to write your whole book before you talk to an agent or a publisher. You do, though, have to write a proposal. A publisher worth their salt should have a book proposal form, guidelines, or similar on their website for you to download. The guidelines from my publisher, Policy Press , are here. The publisher is also likely to want a sample chapter, particularly if you have no track record as a book author. From time to time, aspiring academic writers ask whether they can see one of my book proposals. This happened again last week and it occurred to me that I could write a post here, and include an embedded pdf, to make an actual book proposal available to anyone who would find it useful.