How to Find the Right Academic Publisher

Finding the right publisher for your scholarly work can seem daunting. Here are the three most important things to bear in mind when starting out as a first-time author.

You have written a scholarly book and want to find your perfect match amidst a multitude of academic publishers? Here is my advice for you, summarized in three main points.

1. Homework

First of all, you need to do your homework. Identify what the main players in your subject area are. Talk to your peers. Talk to your supervisors. Take a look at the key literature in your field. Do a careful literature review.

This post is part of a series that provides practical information and resources for authors and editors.

It is important to get a sense of which publishers are the most relevant in your field. While some players may be the big “usual suspects,” others could be lesser-known newcomers (or long-established in their field), led by dedicated professionals.

Educate yourself about publishers’ business models and markets. For example, if Open Access is the most common model in your field, your publisher of choice should be knowledgeable in this area. Or, if you want your work to be visible in a certain geographical region, for example in North America, your choice of publisher needs to reflect that.

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2. Reputation

This brings me to my second point: reputation. Just as you would take the reputation of a company you would like to work for into account, consider how the academic publisher you are interested in is perceived before committing.

Visit their websites and examine their profiles. Try to find out who the right contact person is. You want to be published within a specific context alongside particular works and authors, alongside particular topics, theoretical voices, and approaches. A publisher’s reputation will determine who will see, read, and discuss your work and whether it will reach the community you are addressing with it. Once you have reached this point, you will have a clear sense of possible fits and a list of three to five publishers you would potentially like to work with.

3. Trust

Finally, here is my third piece of advice: Besides a publisher’s profile and their reputation, you want to be sure you can develop a relationship of mutual trust with your editors. In my view, trust is based on knowledge and its smart application.

Maybe De Gruyter happens to be your perfect match? To check our compatibility, take a look at our information for authors!

Again, if you have people around you who have published academic work before, ask them specifically about their personal experiences. Did the publisher understand the stress and strain of academic life? What was the email correspondence like? Were they approachable? Was the review process smooth and professional? What kind of timeline did they communicate and how? Was the advice given insightful and balanced?

In a nutshell: Would your peers recommend this publisher? Because if the process was motivating and trusting for them, it is likely it will be the same for you.

Now, good luck with your search!

[Title image by alexskopje/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Birgit Sievert

Birgit Sievert has been the Editorial Director of De Gruyter Mouton since 2018. She manages an international team with offices in Berlin and New York, and is responsible for developing relationships with linguists and scholarly institutions worldwide.

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