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Publisher Tips: Gylphi

Gylphi is an academic arts and humanities publisher focused on the twentieth century and beyond. It is home to the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, the forthcoming Transgressive Culture journal and book series, and the SF Storyworlds book series.

Here, they offer their top 5 tips for getting published……

1. What’s in a title?

A title (not the subtitle) should describe the book as precisely as possible in as few a words as possible. If you are going to use a pun make sure it describes your text, it is no good being undecipherable and profound. You don’t want to be writing for a readership so narrow that only those who already know the subject inside out will understand the title and buy your book.

Think also about librarians and booksellers looking for books to purchase. Will they, without specialist knowledge, know what your book is about? Bear in mind that they draw their information from databases that can cut short long titles. If your title is long and ends with the title of the subject or an author name, then the short version of your title may give no real indication about what the book is actually about.

2. Publications, institutions and potential

A list of previous publications (and conference papers) is essential for the publisher because it can be used as a quick measure of the quality of your work. If it is good enough to be published by respected publishers and journals, then they are more likely to take an interest.

Provide the names of institutions you’ve attended or have managed to attach to the current publication/proposal.

Supply the publisher with an indication of your market potential (i.e. how well known you are in the field): through, for example, things people have written about your work.

3. The book (or journal), its market and the competition

Describe the publication precisely, even if you haven’t written it yet. Provide a contents list, summary, approximate number of words and sample chapters.

Tell the publisher the market you are aiming at. Is the book written to sell as a core text on an undergraduate course or is it a book that only postgraduate researchers will be interested in?

Name the courses, research centres, recent conferences and publications that demonstrate your subject area is current (and preferably growing in popularity).

Provide a list of competing texts that are established or you know to be forthcoming.

4. You tell us

Provide the names of academics (about three) who are not closely connected to you, but who you think would be best positioned to referee/peer-review your work. Not doing so may mean that your work is sent to someone who views your subject area in a way that is contradictory to you, and who responds unfavourably to your work/proposal.

5. Editing your work

Think about the reader, and do so all the way through the writing and editing process. Think differently to how you did when you wrote your PhD. A book isn’t about demonstrating how clever you are, it is about providing people with interesting and engaging information about a subject area they are interested to know more about.

Take advantage of conferences, chapters in edited books and journal articles to stand back from your thesis and rework the content. Use this experience to find the writing style that appeals most to your audience.

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