As part of its mission to address issues of recruitment, retention, and integration of women and people of color in the profession, the APSA Task Force on Mentoring periodically publishes articles on some aspect of mentoring that will help political scientists move successfully through the profession. This brief symposium on “Publishing Your First Book” is just one such example of this initiative. For more information about the Task Force and its ongoing projects, contact Linda Lopez, APSA Director of Education and Professional Development Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making a realistic assessment of your goals in publishing a book, and matching a publisher with the text and with your goals is the first step in bringing your research effort to completion. Social scientists write books hoping to influence an election, change the political debate, shift an academic focus, get tenure, or get a job. A good book, well-published, can help achieve some of these goals—but there are other ways to work toward them. Authors and publishers will be happiest, and readers best served, if authors take stock of the possible, and then market their books to publishers who are best suited to help with the goals they've chosen. Beyond writing the book, the author has three clear tasks: deciding on realistic goals for the book; executing due diligence in finding the right publishing house; and making the gist of the book accessible to an educated, but not necessarily expert, reader by writing a good proposal. Matching expectations to the book will help identify the most appropriate presses.
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