Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Getting It Published, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books

Getting It Published, 2nd Edition: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books

by William Germano

See All Formats & Editions

Since 2001 William Germano’s Getting It Published has helped thousands of scholars develop a compelling book proposal, find the right academic publisher, evaluate a contract, handle the review process, and, finally, emerge as published authors.

But a lot has changed in the past seven years. With the publishing world both more competitive and more


Since 2001 William Germano’s Getting It Published has helped thousands of scholars develop a compelling book proposal, find the right academic publisher, evaluate a contract, handle the review process, and, finally, emerge as published authors.

But a lot has changed in the past seven years. With the publishing world both more competitive and more confusing—especially given the increased availability of electronic resources—this second edition of Germano’s best-selling guide has arrived at just the right moment. As he writes in a new chapter, the “via electronica” now touches every aspect of writing and publishing. And although scholars now research, write, and gain tenure in a digital world, they must continue to ensure that their work meets the requirements of their institutions and the needs of their readers.
Germano, a veteran editor with experience in both the university press and commercial worlds, knows this audience. This second edition will teach readers how to think about, describe, and pitch their manuscripts before they submit them. They’ll discover the finer points of publishing etiquette, including how to approach a busy editor and how to work with other publishing professionals on matters of design, marketing, and publicity. In a new afterword, they’ll also find helpful advice on what they can—and must—do to promote their work.
A true insider’s guide to academic publishing, the second edition of Getting It Published will help authors understand what to expect from the publishing process, from manuscript to finished book and beyond.

Editorial Reviews

Gerald Graff
“Though it’s the most urgent problem any academic faces, we don’t hold any faculty meetings to discuss the question of ‘How DO you write a book and get it published, anyway?’ We academics like to pretend instead that we know how do this stuff—how did we get to be academics if we don’t?  But William Germano is privy to the dark secret that many graduate students, junior faculty members, and even . . . uh, full professors think they know how to do this stuff but actually don’t. In a terrific book that’s a joy to read, Germano provides direct and savvy advice that will help all of us not just to get it published but to make it as good as we can.”
Diana Fuss
“This endlessly useful and expansive guide is every academic’s pocket Wikipedia: a timely, relevant, and ready resource on scholarly publishing, from the traditional monograph to the digital e-book. I regularly share it, teach it, and consult it myself, whenever I have a question on titling a chapter, securing a permission, or negotiating a contract. Professional advice simply does not get any savvier than this pitch-perfect manual on how to think like a publisher.”
director of the�Center for the Comparative David�Kyuman�Kim

“For all of us who suffer the dark night of the publishing soul, Getting It Published comes as a most welcome beacon of light. Germano is ourVirgil for the not-always-divine comedy of academic publishing. He coaxes us as authors and writers to ask ‘the right questions’ of ourselves, of our publishers, and of our audiences. In this wonderful and insightful book Germano provides—with wisdom, whimsy, and wit—hard-nosed advice and good humored encouragement.  From basic ‘how to’ and ‘must I really?’ questions to invaluable counsel about negotiating the uncharted territory of electronic publishing, this is THE field guide anyone needs who is making their way from the purgatorio of the manuscript on the desk to the paradiso of a book well-published.”

Peter J. Dougherty
“If books are the slow food of our increasingly frenetic scholarly communications culture, in Bill Germano we have their Escoffier. Whether delineating the features of an effective book proposal, explaining the mysteries of the editorial selection process, or extolling the virtues of the book as a defining mode of academic discourse, Germano succeeds at joining practical advice with intellectual insight throughout. Budding and seasoned scholars alike, as well as their administrators, will find more than a writer’s reference in Getting It Published. They will find a guide to the academic life. Bon apetit!”
director of theCenter for the Comparative Study of DavidKyumanKim
“For all of us who suffer the dark night of the publishing soul, Getting It Published comes as a most welcome beacon of light. Germano is ourVirgil for the not-always-divine comedy of academic publishing. He coaxes us as authors and writers to ask ‘the right questions’ of ourselves, of our publishers, and of our audiences. In this wonderful and insightful book Germano provides—with wisdom, whimsy, and wit—hard-nosed advice and good humored encouragement.  From basic ‘how to’ and ‘must I really?’ questions to invaluable counsel about negotiating the uncharted territory of electronic publishing, this is THE field guide anyone needs who is making their way from the purgatorio of the manuscript on the desk to the paradiso of a book well-published.”
Library Journal
Addressing scholars seeking to publish nonfiction, former humanities editor Germano (VP, Routledge) assumes no knowledge on the part of his audience beyond their academic specialties. Suggesting that authors keep publishing procedures in mind while writing, he includes tips on editing, getting permissions for anthologies, and delivering the manuscript. Intended as ready reference (an index is promised), the book is brief enough to skim, which might prove fruitful in other ways. Unfortunately, the book lacks an appendix listing current university presses. Compared with the many overly long how-to-get-published guides for aspiring novelists, this is a concise and readable text with minimal fluff. Strongly recommended for academic and public libraries. Robert Moore, ITWorld.com, Southboro, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Germano's short volume is filled with useful advice drawn from a career as editor at an academic press (formerly editor-in-chief and humanities editor at Columbia UP, he's now vice president and publishing director at Routledge) and written in an admirably direct style that preserves a personal tone that will appeal to the recent PhD's and new authors who will be his best audience. The gamut of publishing is covered, from basics on publishers and their duties, to the details of writing, editing, and presenting a proposal; surviving the review process; the details of contracts; writing for collections and anthologies; and how to present the finished manuscript. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Sebastian D.G. Knowles

“Bill Germano has done it again—a masterful guide to the perils and possibilities of academic publishing, written with wit and understanding. The author has twice visited our campus to lead a workshop for junior faculty on the book publication process, and his seminars are always a great success. Like his book, Bill Germano is meticulous, fearless, funny, and directly to the point. I recommend Getting It Published as a cost-effective alternative to flying him out to see you and speaking with him for eight hours about your manuscript: the result, a sober and informed perspective on the ins-and-outs of getting your tenure book in the hands of a publisher, will be essentially the same. Editors of book series will also value this book: it’s as much a manual on what good editors should be looking for in the manuscripts that they receive as it is a guide for prospective authors.  High marks on all counts!”

Product Details

University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing Series
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Getting It Published

A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books

By William Germano

University of Chicago Press

Copyright © 2003

University of Chicago
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-226-28843-9

Chapter One

The term "publishing," like "editor," gestures at so many activities that
it's not surprising if writers aren't clear just what a publishing company
actually does.

There are all kinds of publishers. Most deal in hard copy. Anything
printed and disseminated can be described as a publication-a mimeograph
handout, a 500,000-copy-a-month magazine, a scholarly journal, a book.
Anyone who engages in any of these activities might describe himself as a
publisher. You can self-publish. In the 1620s Johannes Kepler not only
printed his own work, he disguised himself as a peddler and traveled to
the Frankfurt Book Fair to sell it. Today you can disguise yourself
electronically if you like and publish on-line. Slate, Feed, [now defunct]
and Postmodern Culture are three on-line publications. The Chronicle of
Higher Education
and the New York Times provide abbreviated versions of
their texts on-line, with more extensive resources deeper into the Web
site. But despite the expansion of the electronic universe,academic
publishing is still solidly connected to the world Gutenberg made: books
printed on paper and bound for repeated readings.

At the beginning of the new century, book publishing is dominated by a few
very large and powerful corporations. The best-known trade houses-Simon &
Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Holt, Houghton Mifflin,
-represent one end of the spectrum: large print runs, substantial
advances, expensive advertising. Of the ones named here only the last two
might be described as independent firms. Below this threshold is a jumble
of publishers that would include such small independents as Beacon, South
, or Aunt Lute; commercial academic houses like St. Martin's or
Blackwell or Routledge; and the giant Anglo-American university presses
Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the archipelago of university presses
that stretch across North America.

Publishing companies continue to imagine themselves as reasonably
independent entities, presenting each season a collection of works that
cohere in some way-either through their intellectual or entertainment
value, or through the sheer force by which they are marketed to the world.
Editors like to think of themselves, as they long have, as working at
houses, though the label "house" is a charming compensation for a suite of
offices either crowded and shabby or crowded and sterile. Yet "house" is
both functional and stylish, with more than a soupcon of couture about it.
Coco Chanel and John Galliano; Max Perkins and your editor of choice.
Fabric and designs may be different, but these craftsmen all wield the
same tool: a pair of scissors. An editor's job is, in part, to cut your
manuscript and make you look good.

Who They Are

Publishers might be grouped into five categories.

1. Trade. Trade publishers, the big commercial houses based largely in New
York and owned largely elsewhere, are what most people think of when they
think of publishers at all. The houses are the source of more than half of
the books published in the English language, and most conspicuously those
on the bestseller list. When people talk about books, it's likely they're
talking about trade books. Trade books are the ones most people-including
you-read for pleasure and information. While no trade publisher is
reluctant to have a backlist of titles that continue to sell year after
year, the industry's trends are toward signing up only books that will be
very profitable, and very profitable right away. Trade publishing thrives
on precisely what scholarly publishing does not: the one depends upon
reaching the greatest number of people quickly, while the other depends
upon reaching enough of the right people over time. Trade houses do
publish some scholarly books, but scholarship isn't the reason these
publishers are in business. In the era of conglomerates, there are fewer
independent trade publishers and more divisions, imprints, lines, and
series within larger trade houses. Trade publishing isn't the focus of
Getting It Published, simply because few scholarly writers will begin
their publishing careers with trade.

2. Textbook. The book you're writing may wind up being used in a college
course, even as required reading, but that doesn't necessarily make it a
book that a textbook publisher would want. Textbook publishing is often
called college publishing. College publishers produce genuine
textbooks-the introductions to macroeconomics and panoramas of American
history that are the staples of large college lecture classes.

Textbook publishing can be the most profitable part of the publishing
industry-and is when the books work. The publisher who produced the
Psychology 101 text you've assigned in your lecture class won't be selling
it to anyone other than students, but they will buy it because it is a
requirement of the course-and usually a requirement of that course
semester after semester. Textbook publishers don't get their books into
Barnes & Noble or your local independent, but they happily supply the
textbook counter at your campus store once an order for your course has
been received.

Textbook publishers expend considerable effort in providing teachers
exactly what they need for specific courses-and then in revising the
material on short cycles. Textbook publishing addresses real curricular
needs, and attacks those needs with all the powers at its
disposal-high-quality production, prestigious authors and advisors, sales
reps who knock on professors' doors urging them to adopt a particular
title, and a painstaking review process. A well-reviewed work of serious
trade nonfiction may earn you a bit of money, as well as professional
kudos. But will a textbook? Universities rarely grant tenure to someone on
the basis of having authored a textbook, and few scholars devote their
early careers to this type of project alone. Why devote one's efforts-as
publisher or writer-to college publishing? Many textbook authors are
genuinely motivated by a desire to shape a field and to excite beginning
students. But beyond that, as Willie Sutton said of bank robbing, that's
where the money is.

3. Scholarly or academic. The heart of any academic's publishing life will
be the scholarly publishing community. Most scholarly publishers are
university presses, particularly in the United States and Canada. Beacon
and the New Press are unusual not-for-profit publishers with a strong
trade presence. There are also important not-for-profit scholarly
publishers, those connected, for example, with museums-the Smithsonian,
the Metropolitan, the Getty, and so on. But there are other scholarly and
scholarly-trade publishers in America, and these are for-profit.
Routledge, Basil Blackwell, and Rowman & Littlefield, for example, are
scholarly houses whose readerships and author pool overlap with those of
university presses.

For most of the past century, scholarly publishing has been devoted to
exactly what the term describes, scholarly publishing. The term monograph
persists as a description of the kind of book published by a scholarly
press. Not that many years ago, a scholarly house might refer with pride
to the monographs it was about to publish. "Monograph" isn't a term heard
quite so often these days, but that doesn't mean that this kind of book is
no longer crucial to learning and research.

A monograph, thirty years ago as now, is a specialized work of
scholarship. All university presses continue to offer some monographs, and
some commercial houses have found creative ways to publish them, too.
Monograph publishing is about hardback books at high prices, marketed to a
few hundred key purchasers, most of which are libraries. Generations of
scholars were trained to produce their first monograph, and encouraged to
seek its publication. The most traditional academic publishers continue to
support the monograph as part of their publishing programs. For two
decades the death of the monograph has been repeatedly proclaimed, but the
monograph may have merely been napping. Digital technologies have made it
possible to consider small hardback runs of work too specialized to
sustain traditional printing methods. A book on the performance history of
Timon of Athens, for example, isn't an impossibility, though it would
probably be sold without a jacket and at a very high price.

4. Reference. Like "textbook," "reference" is a term that can be used too
loosely. Your book on Brecht might be so detailed that it could act as a
frequent reference for theater historians. That is, people will consult
your long and thorough index. You might think your project would make "a
handy reference," but that doesn't make it a reference book. Let's
distinguish hard reference from trade, or soft, reference.

Traditional, printed dictionaries and encyclopedias are the heart of hard
reference publishing, and librarians are their key purchasers. Trade
reference describes works that might show up in a bookstore, like Yale's
Encyclopedia of New York City or Basic Civitas's Africana: The
Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience
. Houses that
publish reference works are usually well known for just that. Gale
, for example, produces books and related material that are keyed
to libraries at various levels, from the university collection to the
community library. The very largest reference projects are often cooked up
by the publishers themselves or by packagers, basically independent
companies that think up big or complicated book projects and take them as
far as a publisher would like, even all the way to printing them.

Of course, reference publishing isn't just about books anymore. Reference
works continue to appear in traditional printed form, but they are
accessible electronically-on CD, on restricted-access Web sites, and in
formats and combinations bound to expand our understanding of what
"information" and "book" will mean in the twenty-first century.
Discussions of electronic publishing today recall some of the excitement
of the first manned space launches in the 1960s.

5. Self-publishing. The prefix "self" speaks volumes. At odds with his
publisher, Nietzsche took the text of Beyond Good and Evil into his own
hands and published an edition of six hundred copies. In recent years,
corporations have self-published manuals and other projects for their own
use. Some business bestsellers, like The One Minute Manager, began as
self-published projects. Sophisticated packagers are available to help the
ambitious writer move an idea to market without knocking on the doors of
trade houses.

For writers of academic nonfiction, however, the siren call of
self-publishing drifts forth not from the offices of book packagers but
out of the Web. In the Age of the Internet self-publishing is easier than
ever. Create your text, build a Web site, slap up your document, and
voila. You're an author with a work only a few keystrokes away from
millions of readers. Putting one's work on the 'Net is always an option,
and while it has been pooh-poohed by serious scholars, trends in the
culture of publishing are bringing about a rethink of these attitudes
toward electronic dissemination. There will be more in this book on the
subject of electronic publishing, but for now let's say that print
publication remains the dominant form of scholarly communication and the
basis for almost all professional advancement

Self-publishing aside, here are four broad categories-trade, textbook,
, and reference. For most scholars, the principal choice is, of
course, "scholarly." But the neatness of the categories conceals the
messiness of most publishing houses. Some houses, like Norton, have trade
and textbook divisions. Others, like St. Martin's, have trade and academic
divisions, including Bedford Books, an imprint that specializes in
anthologies and other materials for course adoption. Random House has a
small reference division, but it's primarily a trade house. And many trade
paperback houses see their books go into classrooms in large adoption
quantities-think of all the Penguin paperbacks you've assigned or used in

If publishing houses are sometimes messy organizations, some books really
do fall into more than one category. The Encyclopedia of New York City is
genuinely a reference work suitable for public collections, and a trade
book that can be sold to individuals for home libraries. Yale University
arranged for stacks of the encyclopedia to be sold at Barnes &
. Books can also change category over time. Take, for instance, Toni
Morrison's Beloved. Like every work of literature taught in a classroom,
this novel began as a trade book, but now is earning money for its author
and publisher in part because it has become a widely adopted text.

University presses may be the most versatile, and resourceful, of all
publishers. A press like Columbia, for example, produces a reference
program alongside a more familiar list of academic titles, and a selection
of trade offerings. A small university press may highlight one or two
general interest titles as its trade offerings in a given season. Oxford
University Press
publishes a vast list of specialized scholarship, as well
as a distinguished list of reference and trade titles. (Oxford's scope is
so broad that it even has a vice president for Bibles. As a professor once
said to me, Oxford signed up God as an author in the seventeenth century.)
In a single season, a university press might offer a trade book on
gardening, the memoir of a Holocaust survivor, a study of women in African
literature, a workbook in Mandarin Chinese, an illustrated atlas of dams
and irrigation, and the twelfth volume in the collected papers of
Rutherford B. Hayes.

A word of caution: authors sometimes make the mistake of presenting their
work as a combination of trade, scholarly, and reference, with a dash of
text thrown in. You can understand the motivation-the all-singing,
all-dancing academic book that might appeal to every segment of the
market. But publishers are wary of authors who claim too much for their
progeny, and marketing departments will be skeptical of the proposal that
envisions a book for student use that will also be of interest as a trade
hardback. No editor wants to take on a manuscript with multiple
personality disorder.

This brief map of the publishing world is meant to demonstrate the range
of publishers that exist, and the kinds of works they produce.


Excerpted from Getting It Published
by William Germano
Copyright © 2003
by University of Chicago.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Stanley Fish
This witty and indispensable book provides tag-lines pieces of advice everyone will remember—a scholarly book for anybody is a scholarly book for nobody; if it doesn't work in the first fifty pages, it's out—and a huge fund of information every would-be author will need. The chapters on 'What a Contract Means' and 'How to Deliver a Manuscript' will take you by the hand and lead you to where you want to go; but the book never loses sight of why you might want to go there and is itself a celebration of academic publishing even as it equips you to negotiate its minefields.
— (Stanley Fish, University of Illinois at Chicago)
Jack Zipes
Finally, a superb book on scholarly publishing that provides all the essential information for serious critics, young and old! I can think of no other editor in publishing better suited to provide sound and honest advice about all aspects of preparing and producing an academic book than Bill Germano. I am convinced that Getting It Published will become the standard handbook for all young scholars interested in publishing their first book, and it will also give new insights to those critics who have already had contact with the publishing world.
— (Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota)
Catharine R. Stimpson
Bill Germano is a legendary editor. His manual for serious writers is a marvel witty, lucid, and really useful. I have spent years around university publishing and still learned from it. May I predict that it, too, will become a legend.
— (Catherine R. Stimpson, New York University)

Meet the Author

William Germano is dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences and professor of English literature at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Previously, he served as editor-in-chief at Columbia University Press and vice president and publishing director at Routledge.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews