If you’ve ever wanted to write a book or become an author, then you won’t want to miss the 2011 AWSM Convention in Charlotte.
A representative from McFarland Publishing will be meeting individually with interested convention attendees. You can bring a transcript. You can pitch a concept. No matter what stage your project is in, you will want to take advantage of this opportunity.
McFarland Publishing is located in nearby Jefferson, N.C., and it is the proud publisher of Dorothy Jane Mills, legendary baseball author who is the lunch speaker on Friday, June 24 at the convention.
McFarland rep Layla Milholen will be available to meet with interested individuals on the afternoon of Friday, June 24.
You’ll want to sign up at the convention — register today because the convention is fast approaching, June 23-25 — but before then, you’ll also want to check out this Q&A with Beth Cox, assistant marketing manager at McFarland:
Q: What makes for a good idea for a book?
A: The answer varies some from publisher to publisher. McFarland serves the scholarly market, where reliability and accuracy are watch words. Our books tend either to offer a comprehensive approach to the subject, covering all angles in neutral, fact-dense prose and organized in a way that is useful and easy to understand; or to explore a fairly narrowly defined topic in great depth, aiming for readers that have both familiarity with and strong interest in the subject matter.
Q: Let’s say someone has an idea for a book but has never talked to a publisher about it. Would they just want to bring the idea to you at the convention, or would something more than an idea be beneficial?
A: It’s never a bad idea to discuss projects while they’re still in the early stages. While it might lead to little beyond an expression of general interest, or word that another publisher might be the better bet, there’s at least a fair chance that something useful will come from an author’s having shared her thoughts about the subject itself, the organization, the tone and hoped-for audience, the research and documentation, and even stray thoughts on special elements (illustrations, sidebars, end-of-chapter questions, for instance) that bear consideration.
Q: When it comes to a book proposal, what are some of the things that you are most looking for?
A: As a scholarly publisher, McFarland likes to see evidence of solid research and a general command of the subject; writing that is intelligent but also accessible and concise; a neutral tone; and a clear-eyed assessment of the market and its need for the book. At least basic familiarity with McFarland, its line, or the scholarly market is also important.
Q: What can people expect when they sit down with the McFarland representative at the convention?
A: They can expect a friendly conversation with someone who is at once frank about a manuscript’s prospects with McFarland and receptive to the author’s enthusiasm for her subject. On our market, where books are more often than not labors of love, the importance of the author-publisher relationship is hard to overstate. Mutual respect and friendly dealing go a long way, so we do our best to establish those expectations early. *
Q: Any advice for would-be authors?
A: Familiarize yourself with McFarland and the sorts of books we do. Try searching our Web site, for instance, for topics that relate to yours. (If you find none, don’t be discouraged; we publish books in new subject areas all the time.) Read the information for authors that we’ve posted there. And be prepared to tell us not just why you’d like to write the planned book — though that is something we want to hear about — but why it’s needed or how it fills a vacancy.