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Steven French

Speaking as the editor-in-chief of a series (w Palgrave-Macmillan) we're happy to consider proposals + sample chapters rather than a full draft.It really depends on the publisher (so you might sidle up to the publishers tables at conferences and have a chat with the reps there - see what they prefer, what they're looking for etc.)
Speaking as an author, however, I've always submitted a complete draft (but thats just me). And they've always included or been based on previously published work - no publisher has ever balked at that.
Speaking as a former 'Director of Research' for our school, I'd be nervous about focussing on the book to the exclusion of all else (that nervousness may be lessened by the new research evaluation proposals being discussed in the UK). More generally, I agree w Marcus - don't put all your research eggs in one basket. Aside from anything else, you're going to get bored with writing the book at some point, so having something more limited that you can actually complete in a comparatively short time and get 'out there' can be a welcome distraction. Writing a book is hard (or at least, I find it so) and requires a certain intellectual stamina, particularly when it comes to the less exciting aspects, so you do whatever you need to do to get yourself to the end of the process!

Mark Z

It would be nice to have some publishers weigh in here. I have heard that having an article about the content of the book published is good as it gives the publisher confidence that the topic have been somewhat vetted. But then there is Marcus' experience. Anyone have any insider or second hand knowledge?

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