So I wrote (and revised) a draft of about 90% of a book manuscript this summer (6 of seven chapters), as well as a full (4 page) book proposal. I also got four people to read the manuscript, and the feedback I received was very positive on the whole. However, I've been sitting on it because I don't quite know what to do, given my situation.
I've been told before (see the comments section here) that in order to get one's proposal accepted by a top press, one should:
- Do a lot of informal leg-work (converse with editors) to feel out potential interest.
- Publish a lot in top journals, or
- Work in a top research university, or at least
- Have someone in a position of influence "go to bat" for you.
I've also been told that books are expected to be 80-110K words. However, mine right now is at 60K, in large part because I wanted the book to be relatively short (though, with at least one more chapter, and revisions, I could certainly see the manuscript passing the 80K mark -- so this is probably just a temporary issue).
Anyway, given the things I've been told above, it seems to me that I should *not* send out my book proposal to publishers yet, or, if I should, that I should at most "test the waters" by sending a proposal to just a couple of places. Given that I have some stuff under review at some tip-top journals, and seem to have gotten pretty close to getting one accepted in one recently, I'm hoping -- optimistically, of course -- that if I land an article or two in a top place, I'll be in a much better position to get top presses to seriously consider my proposal. However, is this really that wise? I could, of course, end up waiting forever.
Anyway, I'm just not quite sure what I should do at this point. While the manuscript is still rough, I feel really good about it on the whole -- about its arguments, and about the entire project it engages in -- and again, I've received favorable early returns. If anyone has any helpful tips or thoughts, I'd be very appreciative!