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Publishing Resources

Publishing a Book

Stack of four booksDifferent academic fields have a variety of standards and precedents for the dissemination of one’s academic work, and, in some fields, scholarly book publishing is essential.  Both how and where to publish are important questions to ask as you begin the long processes of writing a book and searching for a publisher, and the process for publishing academic books can differ from that for publishing articles in journals.  The articles, blogs, and books listed below will serve as excellent starting points as you set off on your journey.

Selected Articles, Guides, and Blogs on Book Publishing:

Selecting and Vetting a Publisher

If you haven't heard of a particular book publisher, here are some suggested steps to take before sending in a manuscript:

  1. Search the internet for reviews of other authors' publishing experience with this publisher.
  2. Take a look at indexes, databases, or book reviews that include academic texts. You could also search for several different publishers and see how they compare
  3. Ask a colleague, mentor, advisor, or your subject librarian - what do they know about this publisher?

Graduate students are often a target for questionable publishers, such as LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (see, for example, "I sold my undergraduate thesis to a print content farm"). If you are contacted by a publisher offering to publish your thesis or dissertation, especially without significant revision, you should view that publisher with suspicion. Some other signs that a publisher might be questionable include:

  • Fees of various kinds. Agents who charge reading fees, evaluation fees, retainers, “marketing” or “submission” fees. Publishers that require writers to buy critiques, pre-purchase books, or pay for some aspect of the publication process.

  • Conflicts of interest. Agents or publishers that recommend their own paid editing services. Agents who consistently steer clients toward publishing or editing operations they themselves own. Independent editors who pay kickbacks for referrals.

  • Abusive or nonstandard contract terms. For instance, an agent who claims an inappropriate financial interest in a client’s future work, or a publisher that demands temporary surrender of copyright. 

  • Unprofessional practices. Agents who shotgun-submit or use their clients’ own query letters. Publishers that turn their authors into customers by encouraging or forcing them to buy their own books. Independent editors who claim that manuscripts must be “professionally” edited in order to be competitive.

  • Nonperformance. Agents who’ve been in business for more than a year and still have no sales. Publishers that don’t fulfill their contractual obligations. Independent editors that take clients’ money and don’t deliver.

  • Dubious qualifications. An agent, publisher, or other purported literary professional who sets up in business without a relevant professional background. Such people are often well-intentioned, but have no idea how to do the job.


Adapted from:

Fiction and Poetry

The Writer's Market has been a standard resource for writers looking to publish a book for many years.  Here you will find listings for publishers, agents, contests, and awards.

Indexing Your Book

What is indexing?

According to the British indexing standard (BS3700:1988), an index is a systematic arrangement of entries designed to enable users to locate information in a document. The process of creating an index is called indexing, and a person who does it is called an indexer. There are many types of indexes, including website indexes, eBook indexes and periodical indexes. (

While indexing can be aided by computers, it is still necessary to have human indexers to relate concepts to one another. Computer 'indexing' is for the most part only identifying individual words within the document, rather than looking at meaning or context.  A well put together index is vital to the use and meaning of many academic texts. 

Is it better to hire an indexer or do it yourself?

That is an important question, and one only you can answer.  Indexing takes considerable time and thought, and does benefit from someone with subject area expertise.  Quality indexing can be expensive, so many authors choose to index their own material.  Others prefer to let a professional handle it for them.  Some publishers have indexers on staff, or can provide a list of recommended contractors.  The American Society for Indexers also maintains a list of indexers by subject area.

How do you index a book yourself?