Saturday, 22 January 2011

Proposal submitted

Yesterday I sent off to Sage Publications a proposal for a new book. This is always an exciting moment: the first step in the long process that leads to publication. It's a book I have been asked to write with a co-author from Edge Hill University. It's along the same lines as Numeracy for Teaching, but it's actually Numeracy for ... well, some other profession. Which profession, I think I'll keep quiet about for now.

Even though we've been invited to write the book, we still have to write a formal proposal. This includes, for example: the proposed title; something about the need for the book; the courses to which the book might relate and the target audience; a list of competing books and what will make this one different or better; author details; the proposed content; the proposed length of the book; how the material will be organised and structured; particular features of the text; and, most important, a sample chapter.

So, what happens next? The publisher sends the proposal out for review to some colleagues in the field. Having received these reviews, the commissioning editor, if she wants to go ahead, might suggest some changes in the proposal – or take it as it is, with the comments of the reviewers, to an internal committee within the publishing company. They have to be persuaded that the case for publishing the book is strong enough for them to invest in its production.

If they agree, we then get the go-ahead and leap into action. Actually, we will have been beavering away anyway, because we are, of course, confident of approval! In due course we get a contract to sign. Once that is done, both we and the publisher are committed to the book and we have agreed to a deadline for the final manuscript. After that, we just write the rest of the book!

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