Summary of Dr. Matthew Bokovoy’s Presentation: “How Do I Get My Book Manuscript Published?”
Sponsored by Teaching and Learning Innovations and the History Program
On Thursday March 9, Dr. Matthew Bokovoy, Senior Acquisitions Editor at the University of Nebraska Press, spoke to an audience of ten faculty from the academic programs of English, History, Nursing, and Psychology in CI’s Faculty Innovations in Teaching (FIT) Studio. Dr. Bokovoy started his talk with the idea that book proposals that spoke to the interests of various disciplines were at a strategic advantage as the industry is concerned with sales that will at least be cost neutral. This is not to say, however, that a proposal that spoke to only one discursive community should be discouraged.
Subsequently, Dr. Bokovoy discussed ways in which scholars should approach acquisitions editors in relation to their manuscripts. He also detailed the phases and dynamics by which book proposals could be circulated. In other words, he implicitly encouraged the audience to share their proposals or current book projects with more than one publisher.
Dr. Bokovoy then spoke to the nature of academic book publishing. He stated that the Great Recession of 2008 changed the sales benchmark that defined a successful book. For example, prior to 2008 a book that garnered 800 to 1,000 purchases was considered a good product. Since then, sales of 250-300 copies of an academic book is now the standard for good sales in academic publishing. Another revelation consisted of the fact that since the tenure-track professoriate has declined in number nationally, such authors are in demand by scholarly publishers. In addition, authors should consider how their audience would attract non-academic readers.
Throughout his talk and afterward, Dr. Bokovoy answered queries from the audience and listened to their comments.