Writing and Publishing: Resources for Researchers and Scholars

This guide is brought to you by the Office of Scholarly Communications, where our goal is to help you reach yours.

Expert Advice on Publishing Scholarly Books

The following publications and websites offer helpful advice on writing and publishing a book in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Herr, Melody. Writing and Publishing Your Book: A Guide for Experts in Every Field. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2017.

           As your personal writing coach, Herr guides you through every step of the writing and publishing process: constructing a table of contents, preparing a proposal, finding a publisher, negotiating a contract, drafting the manuscript, and marketing the finished product. Throughout, she offers proven strategies for producing a book that highlights your authoritative knowledge and writing skills. 

Germano, William. From Dissertation to Book, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.            

            Germano begins with the criteria for deciding whether or not to transform a dissertation into a book and goes on to explain the basic structural and textual changes required for this transformation. 

Germano, William. Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016.

            Resuming where From Dissertation to Book ends, Germano walks the reader through the publishing process: choosing a publisher, submitting a proposal, facing the review process, understanding a contract, and preparing the manuscript for publication. 

What You Need to Know about a Book Publishing Contract


When you sign a publishing contract, you make decisions which directly affect your book's availability.   In order to decide which rights to retain and which to transfer to a publisher, you need to understand U.S. copyright law and the author-publisher partnership. In the article, The Rights Provisions of a Book Publishing Contract, the veteran editor and experienced author Melody Herr discusses copyright ownership and describes the ways in which copyright's components apply to scholarly books. After enumerating the benefits and drawbacks of allocating specific rights to a publisher, she highlights contract wording to watch for and suggests the rights an author may wish to retain by negotiating an addendum.  She then explains how an author may reclaim rights granted to a publisher through reversion or termination of transfer.

Because this article was published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, in the conclusion, Herr addresses library and information professionals and recommends that outreach programs target scholars at critical moments when they face decisions regarding publication of their work.  

Article Hyperlink:  https://jlsc-pub.org/articles/abstract/10.7710/2162-3309.2273/

 Article Citation:  Herr, M. (2018). The rights provisions of a book publishing contract.  Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 6 (General Issue),eP2273. https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.22873