[Sbse] Publishing question and Renewable Energy Topic

Steve Kroeter kroeter at designersandbooks.com
Tue Apr 13 12:30:23 PDT 2021


Agree with all the preceding.

Plus, another consideration is whether the publisher has a track record selling books that are similar to yours in subject matter.

If yours is the 15th book the publisher has released on the migratory pattern of the Arctic tern, that publisher has probably learned something about the audience.

The publisher should commit to submitting a written marketing plan — and explaining how it will be executed. Publisher plans have a way of being written as a show for the author, and then never being looked at again.

Finally, as author you have to realize that unless you are JK Rowling, 99% of the marketing for your book will be done by you. You can choose not to believe this, with predictable results. Given the number of people in the publisher’s marketing department, and the number of books the publisher releases each season, your book will receive about 30 minutes of dedicated attention. As author, your marketing efforts should have begun 18 to 24 months before the book’s release. You ultimately need an email contact list. If you want to sell 1,000 copies, you need an email list with about 100,000 (real, active) email addresses.

With 1 million books published each year (in the US), this is the way the book world operates.



From: SBSE <sbse-bounces at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse-bounces at uidaho.edu>> on behalf of R Lorch <richard at rlorch.net<mailto:richard at rlorch.net>>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 2:53 PM
To: "sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>" <sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>>
Cc: Dorothy Gerring <dgerring at pct.edu<mailto:dgerring at pct.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Sbse] Publishing question and Renewable Energy Topic

Dorothy, all,

Three important questions every author should raise when selecting a publisher are:
1. What will the cost of the book be?  Will it be affordable for my intended audience?
2. What will you do actually market the book - i.e. tell people that it’s actually out there?
3. How will the publisher add value to your manuscript?

Some publishers will not commit to fixing a price for the book and they do not want to give you control over the price.  You must insist on a price and have the price specified in the contract. Otherwise, a publisher may set the price point well above what your audience can afford.  If you want to reach a student audience, then price is an important factor.

Some publishers do very little marketing these days. Most create a webpage with key facts about the book, but little more. A few publishers don't send out a printed copy for book reviews. (They will send e-books for review which saves them some costs - but this practice is not appropriate for someone spending a great deal of time effort reviewing a book.)  So you should ask what marketing the publisher will specifically do for your book and what the marketing budget is.

Most publishers will send out a book proposal (and sometimes a book chapter) to external reviewers and then make a judgement about the book proposal. But will the editor actually carefully read the submitted manuscript and give you detailed feedback?  That varies hugely between publishers as editors in large commercial publishers are under great pressure to publish a large number of books and have various metrics to fulfil.

Last, but not least, most large publishers have a few standard layout templates and book sizes.  Your book may be suited to one or more of those.  But the content of some books may require a specific size or layout, or need the drawings of buildings to be reproduced at the same scale. If that is the case, then a smaller publisher may be able to accommodate this.

I would agree with the comment that Amazon is difficult to work with and take a huge cut. A university press may be a better option.  Some university presses are now publishing open access (i.e. free) books in electronic form.

Over the years, I have been a book author, a book series editor and a book review editor.  So I have experienced these aspects from many different angles.

Richard Lorch
Editor in Chief, Buildings & Cities journal




From: Dorothy Gerring <dgerring at pct.edu<mailto:dgerring at pct.edu>>
Subject: [Sbse] Publishing question and Renewable Energy Topic
Date: 11 April 2021 at 22:20:58 BST
To: sbse <sbse at uidaho.edu<mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>>


Hi SBSE Folks:
I've been teaching a class on siting, sizing, specifying renewable energy systems for about 10 years. The books I've been using have become a bit dated (and they don't seem like they are going to be updated) and I was thinking of writing one because I can't find anything like what I want.

My questions:

  1.  Would you find it helpful to have a book that explains basic siting, sizing, and specifying of typical renewable energy systems? This could be used for a studio class (or a systems class) or for a building owner wanting to understand how and why to make their building more efficient and if it is a good candidate for renewables.
  2.  What experiences (good and bad) have you had with publishers (such as Wiley, McGraw Hill, etc.) and would you recommend one over another?

As always, thank you for your feedback and lively discussion! It is wonderful to have a world-wide community of people who are so enthusiastic about teaching and sharing about building science issues.

Dorothy Gerring
Associate Professor
Architectural Technology and Sustainable Design
RA, LEED AP BD+C, CPHC
Pennsylvania College of Technology
One College Avenue
Williamsport, PA 17701
570-326-3761 ext. 7015

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