History in Review
Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books, 2nd edition
(Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
By William Germano
University Of Chicago Press, 2008
Reviewed by Herbert White - August 24, 2011
"Publish or perish." This is the oft heard mantra surrounding academia. But, how do you get started. By this I don't mean simply how do you write your book, but more important, how do you get your manuscript published? When William Germano's book, Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books was first released in 2001, it became an instant hit with scholars of every ilk, as well as for countless non-academic writers. In short, for anyone who has ever written, is writing, or is thinking about writing a serious, scholarly book, this has been the book to turn to for advice and information on just about everything from how to write a book proposal to promoting your book.
Getting It Published should be on the bookshelf of every academic writer, and both high school and college libraries. Far too often academicians are told that they have to 'publish' without being given any guidance on how to go about achieving this feat, and without any real knowledge about the technical aspects of writing beyond some basic composition class that they might have taken as an undergraduate. This book helps to rectify these deficiencies, by providing tips on editing, formatting your manuscript, how to choose your audience (i.e., will it be a textbook, a book for general readers, or a book slanted toward specialists in your field?), how to decide when it is appropriate to use jargon, and how to plan out your project.
While Germano does provide a brief overview of the basics of writing a scholarly book, the bulk of this text is given over to getting your book published once you have finished writing it. To that end, he explains some of the ins and out of the academic publishing industry and how to submit your book to publishers - along with all the minutiae that doing so entails from writing out a proposal to selecting a publisher to whom to submit your book. From there he explains what publishers are looking for in a book, how they go about the selection process, the scholarly review process that your book might undergo, and what happens once they say that they would like to publish your book. Germano tackles such common issues as obtaining the necessary rights and permissions that will enable you to use illustrations, quotes, or similar items that were created by a third party. He tackles the questions of, now that your book is in the publishers hands, what about your next book? Germano also tackles the new realities associated with electronic publishing, from how to ensure that any work you publish electronically still meets the rigorous standards of academia to how electronic publishing works.
Over the course of his career, Germano has earned a PhD in English, has served as the editor-in-chief of Columbia University Press, was the publishing director at Routledge, and he is the author of several books including From Dissertation to Book. He has also taught college-level courses in publishing and currently is a Professor of English Literature and Dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He is an authority in the field of scholarly writing, and publishing, and this book has greatly benefitted from his years of experience in the field. This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in scholarly writing or publishing, and a handy reference book for anyone currently writing, or planning to write, a scholarly book.
The Rowman & Littlefield Guide to Writing with Sources, by James P. Davis.
A handy reference guide that examines how, and why, you need to cite your sources, in both written and oral presentations across all academic disciplines.
Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article, by Howard S. Becker.
A lifesaver for writers in all fields, from beginning students to published authors. Becker's message is clear; in order to learn how to write, take a deep breath and then begin writing. Revise. Repeat.
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