From Dissertation to Book: A Guide to Pitching Your Book at a Conference
By Erin Averett, Sarah E. Bond, Derek Counts, and Bethany Wasik
The following post is meant as a impromptu guide to pitching your monograph or edited volume focused on the ancient Mediterranean to an editor at the national conference of the SCS-AIA in San Diego. The catalyst for its formation is a conversation on Twitter with Chelsea Gardner and other young professionals within the fields of classical archaeology, ancient history, and classical philology, who sought advice on pitching their work to editors. The helpsheet was crowdsourced as a google doc between a number of archaeologists, editors, classicists, art historians, and ancient historians who contributed their own experiences and resources. The primary editors were Erin Averett (Creighton University), Sarah Bond (University of Iowa), Derek Counts (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), and Bethany Wasik (Cornell Press). What follows is a short but by no means comprehensive guide for preparing to pitch your monograph at the #aiascs annual conference.
Prior to the Meeting in San Diego:
Prior to arriving at the SCS-AIA annual meeting, it is best to email an editor directly a few weeks ahead of time and ask for a meeting. Introduce yourself and give a short (3–4 sentence) outline of the project you wish to discuss publishing, and ideally attach a copy of your book proposal. Typically, these meetings last about 30 minutes and happen in or near the book exhibit. You will be expected to pitch your book or edited volume to the acquisitions editor.
If you have time beforehand, you may wish to enroll in the WCC mentoring program and to contact a scholar who has published a book you admire and wish to emulate in some manner (or reach out if you know an author who has previously published with a particular press you are interested in). If this monograph is meant to address tenure and promotion requirements, make sure to know which presses are accepted by your college or university. Also take into account that certain presses with high degrees of perceived prestige may also have notoriously long publication timetables that may put your tenure and promotion dossier at risk. Be on the lookout for vanity…