- Choose an appropriate journal.
- Follow manuscript guidelines carefully.
- Submit as clean a draft as possible to the current editor of the journal. Depending on the journal, you might need to send the manuscript electronically, with or without a hard copy and floppy disk sent separately.
- Send your manuscript to only one journal at a time.
- If the journal is refereed, the editor will decide whether to send your article out for review. If the journal is not refereed, the editor will make decisions.
- If you receive reviews, pay attention to (but do not be bound by) the (sometimes conflicting) suggestions. Note that “revise and resubmit” is not a rejection. Decide whether to revise and send to the same journal, revise and send to another journal, or not to revise, but send to another journal.
- If you revise and send your article to the same journal, write a careful cover letter in which you address all the points made by the reviewers, explaining what you changed in your manuscript and why you did not make other suggested changes.
- Understand that the editors may still decide to reject your manuscript even after you have revised it.
- Be patient with possible long delays at each stage. From start to finish, it may take 1 to 3 years to see your article in print.
- Identify several publishers that seem to have a line of books that are compatible with your book plan. (A good place to do this is at professional conferences where there are publisher displays.) Write query letters explaining your book briefly and requesting to be sent book prospectus guidelines if the publishers seem interested.
- Prepare your book prospectus carefully, according to each publisher’s guidelines. In almost all cases this will involve your identifying a market, discussing competing and compatible books, and providing a strong rationale for why you think your field needs this book.
- Send in the prospectus to the current acquisitions editor. Usually you will also need to send a draft of the introduction to your book, a complete table of contents, and one or two chapters. In most cases you do not need to send an entire draft.
- You may send your prospectus to multiple publishers.
- If the acquisitions editor decides to send your prospectus and chapters out for review, there may be a space of several months while reviews are done.
- Study reviewers’ suggestions carefully and write a detailed response to the reviews, explaining where you agree, disagree, and why.
- If the book looks promising (e.g., professionally important and a potential money maker), the acquisitions editor will recommend to an acquisitions committee that you be given a contract. Royalties typically range from 5%–10% and are difficult to negotiate upwards. Read the contract carefully and be realistic about the eventual length of your book and timelines for completing it.
- Revise the chapters you sent as needed, draft the others, and submit as clean a manuscript as possible, following all details and conventions of style and formatting. (This will save a great deal of hassle down the road.) The full manuscript may or may not be sent out for review.
- Check with your acquisitions editor about the details of production. At the very least, you will have a great deal of detailed work to do once you receive a copyedited version of your manuscript to check carefully, and later the page proofs, to check equally carefully. Do not rely on a production editor to catch all mistakes. Authors are ultimately responsible for all details of their books, including typos that were not caught.
- If you have strong feelings about a cover design, communicate your ideas to the production editor.
- Be realistic about the time required, from start to finish, to get your manuscript into print. Depending on the publisher and type of book, this could be 2 to 4 years.
Huff, A. S. (1999). Writing for scholarly publication. Sage.