Thinking of Writing an Academic Book?
Although an enormous proportion of modern scholarship is published and disseminated via academic and scientific journals, there is still a great deal to be said for the scholarly book. In the humanities, social sciences and arts, monographs remain a viable medium for communicating advanced research, and writing a book that is accepted for publication by an academic press remains important for earning promotions, funding and tenure. It is certainly true that many scholarly books do not sell quite as readily as they once did, with classics titles standing as a notable exception, but if you have conducted research that would best be written up in a long form in which a complex and multilayered argument is developed gradually by interweaving evidence and discussion, a book format will probably prove the best fit.
One of the great benefits of writing an academic book is that the process forces the scholarly author to think in ways quite different from those required to produce a short article or chapter. The gradual creation of a book requires intellectual flexibility and constant progression of thought. Writing a book can, in fact, be an extremely effective means of reflecting on research and creating a sustained argument, with the long form enabling an in-depth exploration of individual ideas and bits of evidence that often results in slight shifts in direction and focus. In an age that prioritises the short form of just about everything and too often fails to promote the activity of sustained reflection on a single problem or topic, one might even say that writing a book is an incredibly healthy exercise in which a somewhat neglected muscle is able to flex and develop its potential strength. Similarly, a long textual project involving detailed analysis and a sophisticated argument presents writing challenges that are not an issue in short documents, so authoring a book will help you hone your language and composition skills.
It is essential, of course, to choose with care the publisher to which you intend to submit your manuscript. Find out all you can about the range and specialisation of the publishers that seem appropriate, and familiarise yourself with the books they publish. A university press may be more receptive of unconventional, innovative and controversial work, while a commercial press may be more inclined to invest in marketing, but just the opposite could also be the case. Be sure to choose a press that consistently uses rigorous editing and reviewing practices, for these help the author maintain a high standard of writing and research. You may need to consider what each publisher is willing to do and pay for. If, for instance, you need 200 colour images to construct your argument and a press does not usually include colour in their books or will only do so if a large subvention is provided, you may need to look elsewhere. Finally, it is best to choose a publisher who is willing to print your book as both a hardcover (for libraries and aficionados) and a paperback (which sells far better and is more affordable for students), as well as releasing it without too long a delay as an electronic book.
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Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer academic proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting thesis proofreading and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our proofreading team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.
If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.