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« New Contributor: Tuomas Tahko | Main | Has Contemporary Philosophy Over-Fetishized Rigor? »

05/14/2012

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Marcus Arvan

Thanks for sharing this, Tuomas -- it's a very helpful post! I was wondering if you, or any of our readers, have any thoughts on how to get *into* an edited volume. I've noticed that some early-career philosophers I know have found their way into these kinds of books, but I have no idea how they've done it. Does one simply have to network well and hope that someone offers, or is it worthwhile (and appropriate) to approach people?

Mark Alfano

Indeed, thanks! I'm in the process of editing several books myself, so this should come in handy.

Marcus: from what I can tell, it's mostly a matter of being networked. That could mean knowing the right people. It can also mean being generally known as "the guy who does X." In other words, you can be known personally or known through your brand.

Tuomas

I'm glad you found the post interesting!

Regarding getting into a volume. I've contributed to a few myself, and was recently invited to contribute to another one. By and large I think networking is the key here (as for so many other things!). Talking to people at conferences, hearing about things they are working on, and indicating that you'd be interested in getting involved. But good things also tend to come to those who have them already, i.e. if you've got a couple of good publications in a given field and you've given a few talks on something related at conferences, chances are that someone will remember you.

Helen

That's really helpful, Tuomas! Thanks for the careful explanation!

Nicholas Joll

A useful article! (But) I'd like to consider/ask about that slightly oxymoronic genre, the popular philosophy book,

One question about such books concerns royalties. I get 5% - on all formats, including electronic - for my *Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* book, and one philosopher has told me that that constitutes a rip off. What do others think?

Another question is how such books look on one's C.V. I like to think that my being with Palgrave rather than either being with Open Court or being in the Blackwell 'Pop culture and philosophy' series helps me here (as does my subject matter). But perhaps it doesn't - and anyway I'd like to warn people off Palgrave. I can hardly tell you how utterly, utterly awful they have been to work with, although the finished book (well, the paperback; Palgrave incompetence means that as yet there is no electronic edition) does look good.

Tuomas

Thanks Nicholas!

Regarding royalties, I think that your 5% is not untypical. It's possible to get up to 8% or so, but my impression is that royalties for philosophy books in particular are very low, mostly because they don't sell very well anyway.

Having said that, *Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy* does sound like a book that might sell fairly well...

I don't think that contributing to or editing popular philosophy books will help one's CV very much, but it's unlikely to be harmful either. I know some people are a bit uneasy about them, but if you've got a solid publication record otherwise, it would be silly (not to mention unprofessional) to let that be a factor. I've contributed to one such volume myself, and may do so again, but I just consider it a bit of fun.

Richard Brown

I was asked to contribute to a book by some people that had read one of my papers. So networking is important but so is getting published!

I also edited one of the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series books (Terminator and Philosophy). I think the only way it van hurt you is if you try to act like it is a scholarly achievement. At best it should be thought of as service to the profession.

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