5 Steps to Finding a Textbook Publisher

Let’s say you have a compelling idea for a psychological textbook. How do you find a publisher?

psychology, writing, growing stories, anger, depression

Writing, Psychology, and Growing Stories

It’s a bit of luck plus a lot of organization and research. Here’s what I suggest:

    1. Rely on personal connections: Start with colleagues who have published. My book on effective writing for psychologists, Writing to Clients and Referring Professionals About Psychological Assessment Results, came about through a presentation at a conference. A colleague said, “This should be published,” and put me in touch with his publisher.
  1. Take another approach: If connections don’t work out, look at the books on your shelf. What publishers published the books you rely on frequently? Check their websites for information on submission. Compare and contrast both their list of titles and their submission guidelines. Does any publisher stand out as a best fit for your topic and approach?
  2. Do upfront homework: Whether personal connection or not, research the publisher’s titles. My personal connection wouldn’t have worked if the publisher’s specialty had been books in a completely different field. My topic bridged writing and psychology; so, I checked their existing list to see if they had anything similar-enough but not identical to what I was proposing. I sent a query letter only when I felt that this could be a good fit.
  3. Narrow it down: Query a likely publishing house. When they show interest, submit a proposal that covers exactly what they ask for. Get a book on proposal writing, if you need further guidelines. Do a compelling job of market research. Include how your book compliments and/or differs from what’s already on the market, either the publisher’s own books or those of its competitors.
  4. Don’t give up: A good friend – an M.D. – has at times felt defeated, but he springs back. When turned down, he gets feedback on what was lacking, revises his proposal, and either resubmits to that publisher – if they are open to it – or he starts over with another house. Often that second publisher is a better fit. At latest count, my friend has published five books and is working on two more.

Bottom line: If you feel drawn to write and publish a textbook, you can find a way to do it!

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