Last week, the Guardian Higher Education Network published a blog post I wrote for them about the origins of this very website. I discussed where the idea came from and noted that despite being engaged with all things digital, I set up the site because I was well aware books (and all manner of peer-reviewed publishing) still carry weight in academia.
Through much of the first year of PhD2Published, we featured sets of tips from well-known academic publishers on how to get published. In line with this, and the spirit of PhD2Published, which all about sharing, I also offered Guardian readers my own set of tips in the blog post. For example I said:
Think about your market.
If you want to end up with a printed book published by a reputable academic press, you will need to make a case for its economic viability. This means market research. Don’t just tell your publisher the book would appeal to course X, Y and Z, tell them why. What exactly does it do that other books in the field don’t? How will it transform teaching in this area? Why will course managers make students read your book over the others on their list? Show the publisher there’s a really good chance your book will sell – preferably in decent numbers.
My post for the Guardian was by no means exhaustive. I wasn’t saying that publishing a book is right for everyone, that it is a better option than journal articles, or that open source publishing isn’t important. Rather, my point was that if you are considering books as an option, it’s really important to bear in mind the business model that comes with it.
Indeed, if you read this site regularly, you’ll know that we’ve tackled all sorts of things like:
- Whether your thesis could become a book or not
- What different publishing markets look like
- How to research your book’s market using your own book shelves
- How to pitch your book to publishers
- How to approach publishing your work as journal articles
You might also know that I chose not to try and publish my thesis – hoping to return to the subject later – and work up a particular area of it into a book instead. Starting this Thursday, however, we have a great set of posts from Sarah Caro, who has written an excellent book on publishing a PhD thesis, so if that’s your preferred route that’ll help a lot.
Currently, with Sarah at the editorial helm, the site is looking much more into journal articles and eventually, we’ll get round to properly discussing open source publishing and peer reviewing. So as you can see, we’re not all about traditional routes and books, but it remains an area we’ve done some serious work on.
And as always, we’re really keen to hear about the decisions you’re making about publishing. If the book route isn’t right for you, what is? Will you go the peer-reviewed journal route? Do you have to pay attention to ‘impact factor’ in your field (Sarah’s writing about this as we speak)? Or would you rather get your research out there by any means possible? In short, what’s your strategy and why? By all means email or tweet us, but do see the great comments in the comment section of my Guardian post and say something there too!