The Faculty Perspective -- Erez Manela | Summary and Q&A

December 17, 2010
Harvard University
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The Faculty Perspective -- Erez Manela


Distinguished professors from Harvard share insights on the diverse experiences and considerations in academic publishing, highlighting the importance of researching different presses and the potential benefits of literary agents.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How diverse are the experiences of publishing across different disciplines?

Professor Manela points out that the experiences can vary significantly, with some disciplines, like linguistics, having monographs full of specialist jargon, while others, like history, may see first books published by trade presses.

Q: Are university presses open to publishing longer books?

While 100,000 words is a common recommendation, there is diversity among university presses. Some presses are open to publishing longer books if they consider them important enough, likely to sell well, and potentially have long-lasting educational value.

Q: Is eliminating jargon a general recommendation from editors?

While some presses emphasize eliminating jargon, there are exceptions. Duke University Press, for example, frequently publishes books filled with jargon. It's crucial to consider the specific press's preferences and norms for the desired audience.

Q: Is it common for academic authors to work with literary agents?

Although more common for later books, some academic authors, especially in fields like Cold War and Modern American history, have literary agents even for their first books. Literary agents can be particularly useful for negotiating publishing contracts.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Professor Erez Manela emphasizes the diverse experiences and norms of monograph publications across disciplines and fields within a discipline.

  • He notes that while trade publishers may be less common in some fields like linguistics, they can be viable options for publishing first books in fields like history.

  • Professor Manela also highlights the importance of understanding how different institutions and departments view publishing with a trade press.

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