Selecting a book publisher

Before you start 

Reach the right audience and increase impact by choosing the right publisher. 

Your audience 

Knowing your audience will help you identify the kind of publisher or imprint you should approach with your book. 

For example, are you trying to reach: 

  • other researchers and academics 
  • people working in the field 
  • students 
  • the general public. 

You might want to consider which type of book will best reach your audience, for example: 

  • a scholarly academic monograph 
  • an academic/commercial crossover 
  • a commercial book 
  • a textbook. 

You may consider different types of publications and publishers at different points in your career. Talk to colleagues or supervisors to understand what’s expected in your discipline. 

Book proposals and literary agents 

Submitting a book proposal usually involves providing an outline of the book and a sample of at least two or three chapters. Make sure you have a well-developed proposal before approaching publishers. 

If you're interested in working with trade publishers, be aware that you may need to be represented by a literary agent. 

Evaluating possible publishers 

Peer review, profile, and distribution 

To determine the quality and reputation of a potential publisher: 

  • Check the publisher's website for information about their peer review process. Scholarly works should be thoroughly peer reviewed. The publisher can provide this information. 
  • Check whether the publisher’s books are regularly reviewed in reputable outlets. Some book reviews will be published in journals, others will be published in magazines like the Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books, New York Times Book Review, and Australian Book Review
  • Check that their books are widely distributed and reasonably priced. Search library collections through the Library catalogue, Trove, or WorldCat, as well as online book retailers. 

Editorial process 

Check if you’ll need to do editorial work yourself or pay for it to be done. Check the “For Authors” section on publisher websites for editorial guidelines. This could include: 

  • Copyediting the final manuscript. 
  • Laying out the final pages according to the publisher’s style guide. 
  • Creating the index. 

'For authors' sections on publisher websites often have this information. 

Findability and availability 

Ask a potential publisher how they can make your work findable and available online.   

  • Your book should be assigned an ISBN or DOI, which will help with sharing and tracking engagement with your work.   
  • Distributing your work as an ebook can make it easier to access and possibly more heavily used.   
  • Price will also affect how many readers can access your book. 

Open access books 

Open access books are becoming increasingly popular, and this option could help your work reach a wider audience. Before deciding, speak with supervisors and colleagues whether open access publishing is suitable for your work. 

You can browse and search for books that have been published in open access using the Directory of Open Access Books

Predatory practices in publishing 

To avoid predatory publishers, consult the Library's predatory publishing page and the website Think, Check, Submit

Publishing your thesis as a book 

Turning a thesis into a book takes a lot of work. Some of the things you will need to consider are: 

  • changing the structure 
  • adapting the language to suit the audience 
  • copyright (of images or quotations).

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