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Books from scratch.

Book publishing is an exciting way to serve your members and increase your revenue. It lets you provide an enduring source of education your members can't get elsewhere. Books also complement an association's periodicals by offering in-depth analyses that newsletters and journals cannot.

At the American Association for Counseling and Development, Alexandria, Virginia, we established our book publishing program to be the publications leader our members wanted in their field. AACD has almost 60,000 individual members, including many different types of counselors and human development professionals.

Up until three years ago, we had only published books sporadically. As acquisitions and development editor, I was responsible for creating AACD's book publishing program, essentially from scratch. Today we produce 10-15 publications a year. Each book averages 200-300 pages and costs $10,000-$15,000 to produce.

We produce our books with only a small staff. In fact, I am the only individual devoted to the book publishing program full time. I do have part-time support from two other people, however: the production coordinator, who helps with cost bidding and getting the manuscripts printed, and the publications administrator, who provides administrative support. In addition, our staff graphic artist designs the book covers, and our director of publications and communications oversees the book publishing program by serving as our liaison with AACD's two publishing committees: the media committee and the media review board. Finally, no less than 95 percent of the copyediting, proofreading, and indexing is done by free-lancers.

Does such a program sound suitable for your association? If your members perceive a need, your leadership supports you, and you are able to make commitments of time, staff, and money, you will find book publishing a profitable and rewarding experience.

To help you get started, I'll walk through the workings of AACD's publishing operation. By adapting and applying these steps to your own organization, you may be able to create a viable book publishing program.

Determining which books

will succeed

This first step in a successful program is determining which books your members will buy. Here are some ways to identify which topic areas and formats will be popular.

* Ask your members. You can get a good feel for what your members want by keeping in touch with them. AACD does this regularly by phone, mail, and in person. We make a point of contacting our members weekly by phone, once or twice a year through surveys, and as often as the opportunity presents itself in face-to-face meetings. We also attend related conferences to find out what's on members' minds.

Keeping in touch with members pays off. AACD, for example, recently published Careers in Counseling and Human Development because members kept calling in and asking for such a publication, but none existed. Now it does.

* Keep up with the field. Reading the top publications in the professions of your members allows you to keep abreast of hot issues and note nationwide concerns.

At AACD, we scan our own 14 journals and keep up with 10-15 outside publications regularly, including journals published by the American Psychological Association and such education newspapers as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Education Week. We review another 10-20 publications on an occasional basis. I also skim books that come into the association from other publishers (currently about 10 individual titles arrive weekly, almost all of which are unsolicited).

* Encourage dialogue. We encourage our members to get involved. By regularly running ads in our newspaper Guidepost that call for manuscript submissions and ideas, we provide a channel of communication for our members. We invite them to submit their own work or just call in and discuss their suggestions and needs. All members who respond are thanked for their interest and encouraged to keep in touch. In the two years we've been running this announcement, more than 300 members have contacted us.

* Network with other organizations. Meeting with your counterparts in other organizations, especially noncompetitive ones, is a great way to gather ideas. Often you'll find you can adapt a book concept to meet your membership's needs. Other organizations can also help you avoid pitfalls and problems by sharing their experiences. Seeking advice from others helped smooth the process for our recently launched monographs The AACD Legal Series.

* Pull in societal issues. Remember, your members are not in a vacuum. Whatever affects society affects them as well. Issues such as violence, drug abuse, and ecology are bound to have an impact on your members. You can respond by providing publications to educate and guide your members about such topics.

In AACD's case, the AIDS epidemic means our counselors and human development professionals are dealing with individuals who face terminal illness in the prime of life. We published No Longer Immune: A Counselor's Guide to AIDS to help our members understand and respond appropriately when dealing with clients who have AIDS. The publication is so timely that MacMillan Book Club, Inc., has entered into a distribution agreement with us for the title.

Setup and funding

Once you've gathered potential topics for publication, you must set up a system that determines which you'll pursue, how many books you will publish in a given time frame, and from where the money to publish the books will come.

Associations that are just starting a book publishing program may need to appropriate a certain percentage of the organization's overall budget for this purpose at first. Other potential sources are revenues from workshops and journals. As your program grows, it should generate income as well.

At AACD, the budget for the entire association is done annually, with new budgets going into effect July 1. Our book budget is a line item in the overall publication budget. The amount of this line item is determined by adding together all the projected costs for each project. The initial funding for the new program came out of existing dues revenue. Now, as the publishing program generates income, we receive increases in the budget. As we budget each project individually, we keep close track of the total budget figure.

Since our members are dividend among divisions and affiliates, we try to make sure that each book we publish appeals to several different divisions. We also try to maintain a balance between edited works (i.e., edited compilations) and authored works, long and short publications, and theoretical and practical works.

Additionally, if we plan to publish some books for their scholarly content without expecting to make a profit on them, we offset those with titles we expect to sell well.

The key to a successful publishing program is to remain flexible. Although we usually end up publishing 80 percent of what was budgeted in a given year, problems with a manuscript or an author's availability may result in a delay or, in some cases, an acceleration of the project. In other cases, current events affecting our members warrant a change in direction. Thus, if an incredibly exciting book comes along mid-year, we might push another project back in order to publish the newer title.

Finding an author

While you're working on the budget plan, you must be searching for potential authors and finalizing contract details so that you can lock in a schedule. At AACD, once we have an idea for a book, we go to work on locating an appropriate author. Potential authors are selected by joint efforts between the AACD leadership and publications staff.

Before soliciting proposals, we compile a list of potential authors by researching current bibliographic data, examining other titles in the subject area, reviewing related journal articles, and evaluating writing styles and areas of interest.

Libraries are good places to start looking for information on authors. You can find most of what you'll need in your organization's in-house library, if you maintain one.

If the topic you are pursuing heavily overlaps with another field--for example, education--you may have to look further. In that case, university libraries, government libraries, and even the public library can often provide you with what you need: bibliographies in journal articles to help identify potential authors, publications that show the author's area of expertise, books that already exist and therefore compete with your idea, and so forth.

You can locate other potential authors in the same way you select a topic. Networking is an especially effective technique for finding authors. Conferences and workshops are othe resources. Often the people who present papers or moderate sessions at such meetings can write and speak persuasively.

Once we have compiled a list of names, we contact the individuals to ascertain their interest, write them a letter outlining the scope of the project, and send guidelines explaining how they should go about submitting a proposal.

In the case of unsolicited proposals, the author has come to us. Usually, we receive a query letter or a phone call. We follow up such correspondence with our submission guidelines. If we like the proposal, we use the review process to determine if the submitter is capable of providing the final product. If he or she can, we often contract the individual to produce the manuscript, since it was that person's idea.

Evaluating book proposals

Because of the budget limitations, we can only publish a small percentage of the publication ideas and proposals we receive. To select the cream of the crop, we use an extensive and stringent review process. While slight variations occur, we usually have some combination of reviews by the association publishing staff and our media review board, whose members are appointed by AACD's media committee. The committee, which meets quarterly, then accepts or rejects the proposals the staff and review board have recommended for publication (see sidebar, "The Review Process").

In order to make sure we have the necessary information to evaluate a proposal fairly, we send out a set of standard guidelines to the person or people submitting a work for consideration. These guidelines discuss the elements of a proposal package as well as specific instructions on how the material should be typed for submission. As part of the proposal package, we request a cover letter that explains what the publication is about and that describes the writing and presentation style used; information on what the author sees as the potential need and market for the publication; a table of contents; an introduction, the first chapter, or other writing sample in the subject area; and a curriculum vitae (see sidebar, Guidelines for Manuscript Submission").

In our instructions, we request that the material be typed double-spaced; that it adhere to the style manual we use; that the author acquire written permission for all extensive quotes he or she cites from other copyright holders; that all references are complete; and that sexist language is avoided.

Once we receive the proposals, our staff publishing professionals review them to answer several basic questions. Are the topic and format appropriate for the association's publishing program? Is there a need among our membership for this information? Is the material not already available elsewhere? Does the author have the necessary level of writing skills to complete this project? If the answer to these questions is yes, the proposal is sent to the review board.

AACD's media review board is a group of 13 individuals whose sole purpose is to review publication proposals on a continuing basis. They serve terms of two to four years, which provides a rotation of new blood while maintaining a base of skilled reviewers.

The board review and rates each proposal on a standard form, which allows for comparisons among projects. The form includes items relating to the accuracy and content of the material and its appeal to potential markets. Additional comments are welcomed. The media review board does not officially meet; each reviewer works individually out of his or her own home or office, taking two to three months to complete each review.

If a proposal passes this phase successfully, it is put before AACD's media committee.

In contrast to the media review board, the AACD media committee is responsible for overseeing all publications that AACD produces, including our journals and the Guidepost newspaper. The media committee is made up of both appointed and elected positions. These individuals make the final decision regarding topic areas, approve selected authors, and set broad parameters for each publication. Publishing staff provide their recommendations to the committee on each project, in conjunction with the media review board's critiques. The committee then votes whether or not to offer a contract.

Contract terms

Once a proposal has been approved, we enter into contract negotiations with the author or editor involved, using set policies we have devised.

Editors of multiauthored work receive a small honorarium of several hundred dollars for their efforts. Authors receive a net royalty on an industrywide competitive scale. The percentage an author receives is based on his or her previous publishing experience; established authors receive a higher royalty than first-time authors.

Our contract requires that AACD maintain the copywright to the publication so that we can fulfill our educational mission. Maintaining the copyright allows us to approve duplication of materials for use in classrooms and other educational purposes. In an edited work, all contributors must sign copyright releases. They each receive one complimentary copy of the publication. Authors always receive more than one free copy of their work, with the amount varying in each case but being reasonable enough to suit their needs.

Our contract also requires that a first draft be submitted and that it successfully complete the peer review process, as discussed below. The contract sets due dates for both the first and final drafts and stipulates that although the author will have input on the title and cover design, the final decisions rest with the association.

Although it is not usually spelled out in the contract, we have authors approve both the copyediting and the initial galleys of their manuscript. We do this because we seek to work together with the authors to produce the best book possible--one of which both the association and the author can be proud. Unlike private publishers, we fully intend to publish every book for which we contract. We are proud to say that in the past three years of our publishing program, we have not had to cancel any contracts. When problems have arisen, we have simply worked with the author through several drafts until the necessary quality level has been achieved.

Corresponding with

the author

AACD stresses that the process of publishing a successful book should be a partnership between the author, who provides technical expertise on a topic, and the association staff, who provide assistance in publishing the book.

After a contract is signed, we work with the author throughout the creative process to make sure we receive the level of quality needed for publication. We send material to assist the author in writing, as well as anything of interest we come across that relates to the author's topic. We also make ourselves available to help the author. A series of letters between the author and staff helps keep the author on schedule and keeps us informed of his or her progress.

When we work with an individual on an edited work, we explain the need to have balance throughout the book and recommend that the book editor set up a standard chapter format and use guidelines that are sent to each chapter contributor at the beginning of the project. This helps eliminate problems later.

When we receive the first draft of a manuscript, we put it through a peer review stage. The authors work with me to determine individuals who have expertise in the appropriate subject area. These peer reviewers receive a small honorarium for going through the entire manuscript, page by page, for content review. The process usually takes three to four weeks.

In our recently published Multicultural Issues in Counseling: New Approaches to Diversity, for example, there are separate sections in Native Americans and Asian Americans. In addition to the overall reviewers, we had specialists in these areas serve as additional peer reviewers on those chapters only.

While the subject experts review the book, I examine the manuscript from a publishing perspective. Although I use this process primarily to spot publishing problems, I also note any content questions I'd like the peer reviewers to pay special attention to, such as a particular chapter or section with which the publications staff sees a problem. This extensive review by several professionals usually makes it easier to convince authors to make changes when necessary. Although the requests for change are not absolute, we do require that the author incorporate the majority of these suggestions into the final draft. In some cases, the peer reviewers feel that some material should be corrected or dropped. In an edited work, this is usually needed to balance the publication's content. Ninety percent of the time, we are able to work with the editor and chapter contributor to correct problems. In a few cases, it has been necessary to drop a chapter that could not be brought up to the necessary level. More often, we replace a chapter contributor.

After receiving all the reviews, we hold a "launch" meeting. In attendance are the director of publications and communications, the director of public relations, the publications promotion assistant, the graphic artist, and me. During this meeting, we select possible titles, discuss the focus and style of the publication, and determine if anything should be added to make the books more appealing to our members. Often, we add an appendix or glossary of terms to help the reader.

When we select a title, our purpose is to convey the content of the book quickly and to differentiate it from others in the field. Usually we develop a shortlist of titles and present it to the author for his or her input.

Producing the book

With a complete, final draft of the manuscript, we proceed to production. Production encompasses copyediting and the resulting author queries, typesetting in galleys and/or pages, proofreading, and printing (see sidebar, "The Production Schedule").

At AACD, the majority of our copyediting is done by a free-lance copyeditor who goes through the manuscript to correct grammar, spelling, and reference format and to make sure the book adheres to our style manual.

During this process, the copyeditor may raise questions or ask for clarification that only the authors can provide. When the authors receive the copyedited manuscript, they answer all queries and make sure the copyeditor has not inadvertently changed the meaning of the material.

When all questions and discripancies have been addressed, the manuscript is ready for typesetting. This involves working with a typesetter to design what our text will actually look like. During the process, I ask for input from the graphic artist and, finally, approval from the director of publications. The author is not consulted at this stage.

The major elements in the design process include choosing the typeface, layout, page format, and so on. While the basic text is being designed, we also begin working on the cover art with our graphic artist.

At AACD we occasionally skip galleys, depending on how difficult and varied a publication is. If a book has many levels of headlines and lots of figures and artwork, we use the galley stage. If we have a single-authored work, with very few tables or case studies, we usually go straight to page proofs, which show the manuscript in the actual page layout of the printed book.

After typesetting, we have a free-lance proofreader compare the original copyedited manuscript to the typeset material, making sure everything is correct. We find a significant reduction in typographical errors when the typesetter can use the author's computer diskettes.

Once the publication has been completely edited, typeset, and proofed, we have the final camera-ready material, or mechanicals, made and sent to the printer, which is selected through a competitive bidding process. In a few weeks, we have our book. As I sit there holding a copy of the printed book, I feel like it was all worth the effort. And 10 minutes later, I'm on to the next project.

Elaine Pirrone is acquisitions and development editor for the American Association for Counseling and Development, Alexandria, Virginia.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:includes related articles; book publishing program for associations
Author:Pirrone, Elaine
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:Bibliography
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:Publishing reality check.
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