What role do Joe and Erin play?
Joe and Erin will primarily handle work on the front end. We’ll help writers develop their ideas into proposals, which we’ll then shepherd to the press. We’ll be available throughout the process to make sure your book continues to fit with the series’ aims; we’ll likely also write a short series editors’ introduction for your book.
What is the process for proposing?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a 1-2 paragraph overview of the kind of book or essay you could write, send it. If you only have a loose idea and some questions, send them. We’re happy to trade emails or Skype to refine your ideas and assess their fit for the series.
What kinds of things are you interested in?
Who is my target audience?
Depending on your topic and approach, your target readers could be: people considering going to graduate school; PhD students wanting to know about career options besides the professoriate; PhD students who want to learn more about academia’s inner workings; faculty at various levels looking to change careers or improve the system; graduate faculty who recognize that their curricula and approaches to career training need to change; senior and/or junior academic administrators involved in curricular and other decisions; someone looking to break into the field you’re working in.
What is the required length?
Books should be a minimum of 40,000 words; that’ll result in books of about 100 pages. In general, the press uses the following formula for books without illustrations. (If the book has illustrations, add additional pages: e.g., six photographs, each on a half page = three additional book pages.)
40,000 words = 100 book pages
50,000 words = 130 book pages
60,000 words = 150 book pages
70,000 words = 180 book pages
80,000 words = 200 book pages
90,000 words = 230 book pages
100,000 words = 260 book pages
For an edited collection, we’d ideally like no more than 10 to 12 chapters (not including the introduction) at about 7000 words each (which comes out to about 20 pages) and a total word count of 80,000-85,000. The 80-85K word range results in an affordable book of about 225 pages. If the volume editors submit a formal proposal when the time comes, with abstracts for the chapters along with all of the other requisite material (described on UP Kansas’s website), the proposal can be peer reviewed. If the volume editors have publishing track records, they might just get a contract. If they don’t, the editorial board will have to approve a contract.
How much will these books cost? This is a university press, after all.
We ultimately want affordable books that are accessible for a wide readership. We expect most of the books to be published in paperback, with a price range of $18.95 to $24.95. Some books might be clothbound, at least for the first printing, if they are intended primarily for a professional audience—university administrators, for example. Those books would be priced higher—probably from $29.95 to $39.95. The binding (cloth or paper) and price for books in the series would depend on the audience and the book’s length.
What do the royalty arrangements look like for this series?
Unlike authors in a narrow monograph series—who sometimes receive no royalty until a lot of copies have been sold—even first-time authors in the series are likely to receive at least a modest royalty (5%, usually). This royalty will probably escalate after a certain number of copies are sold. Authors with a publishing track record and/or who have a strong following would receive a higher royalty—one that would likely start at 10% and escalate. It’s definitely possible for authors to make money from book sales! The key is (a) to make the books accessible to as wide an audience as possible and (b) to help promote them by being active on social media, making public appearances, etc.
Is there a deadline?
No! This is a continuing series. We’re always interested in new things.
What if I want to write an essay but not a whole book?
Get in touch with us! We might have someone putting together an essay collection for which your topic would be perfect. Or we might ask you to be the person who edits the collection!
Is this just for people in the humanities?
Absolutely not. People in all fields have things to contribute to this discussion. The public perception that only humanities PhDs struggle with the ethics of graduate education and post-ac employment means it’s all the more necessary that we hear from a wide range of voices.
Are you only looking for authors who finished their PhDs?
Not at all. First, we recognize that the PhD isn’t the terminal degree in all fields; we’ve just used it as shorthand. More importantly, we know that what someone does after not finishing the PhD, and why they don’t finish it in the first place, are important parts of this conversation.
What if I want to write about academia outside of the U.S.?
Unfortunately, the market would be too small for such a project. An exception might be if someone contributed a chapter to a book, but if it’s an entire book, it should be published by a publisher who’s not in the U.S. That said, for book about Canada: we could consider projects if they’re not super-specific to Canada—say, something more general that would benefit an audience in the U.S.