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I wish I had known how few people would read it!

Matthew Duncombe

Not every chapter has to have its own pay off- unlike in a paper, with a book you can spend time establishing some theses that are not in themselves that interesting, but which build to an overall interesting book.



Bill Vanderburgh

What David said. Other thoughts:

Make sure you know what your department thinks about books in comparison to articles for tenure and promotion. In Philosophy, a lot of places would judge five or six solid articles to count for more than a book. (There are fields, like History, where a book is normally an expectation for earning tenure. There are some subfields of Philosophy where books are more expected, but since most of your department probably won't be in that subfield, you really need to know what your department thinks before you embark on a book project.)

If you do think you want to try to write a book as part of earning tenure, you should be starting about three years before you go up for tenure. It takes way longer to find a publisher than you might hope, followed by writing, referee reports, revisions, production, etc., so it is likely to take two years from first inquiry to publication. Then ideally you want some reviews to include in your tenure file, and those can take a long time to come out. (You CAN do it faster, but there's no guarantee everything will work out perfectly.)

Oh, and making your own index is no fun at all. Hire an indexer if you can (but that happens at the end of typesetting by the publisher, so don't bother starting early).

Caligula's Goat

I'll admit that I was surprised, with my first book, at how little editorial or reviewer feedback I actually received (especially in comparison with the kind of feedback you get with journal articles).

When I submitted my prospectus to what is (according to Leiter) a top 3 publisher, I included three sample chapters. The whole thing was sent out for "review" but this was basically just an up or down vote on the book (I wasn't given any comments at all) and then I was offered a contract. I expected for to have a round of review once I submitted the entire book back to the publisher but actually that draft was basically (minus some proofing and indexing) the last draft.

So my advice would be to make sure that authors solicit their own feedback on their chapters, assuming that you want feedback at all. I know some folks that prefer to write books instead of articles because of the lack of review but, to me, I don't like the feeling of being set that loose with my ideas. Make of that what you will!

Mike Titelbaum

It takes a lot longer than you expect! (At least in my experience.)

author, king of the Britons

I think our goat friend may be giving people the wrong idea. I have published with what is a top 2 publisher, and my manuscripts have been sent through quite rigorous reviews. The proposals were reviewed. The manuscript was, and even the revised manuscript was. At each stage I was given quite thoughtful input - some of it I was required to address before publication. It even needed to pass by the Syndics. Do not think of book publishing as a way to bypass rigorous peer review. It may be at lower ranked presses, but at the top it is not.

Caligula's Goat

I don't know what to say my liege. My situation was exactly as described and the publisher is in the "Big Seven" part of this list (https://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2013/02/best-philosophy-publishers-in-english.html) and not near the bottom of the big seven.

I don't mean to give people the wrong idea, though what you're making me realize is that maybe it's an idiosyncracy of this publisher (the second book I published was much the same experience).


Don't assume that publishing a book with a top 10 or even top 5 press will help you on the job market. It didn't help me at all (and I suspect that for some jobs it might have even hurt me). And to echo Bill Vanderburgh: If you already have a job, make sure you know how much a book is worth with respect to getting tenure or promotion.


"Do not think of book publishing as a way to bypass rigorous peer review. It may be at lower ranked presses, but at the top it is not."

I have experience with Bloomsbury and Routledge. The former had much more rigorous review process: four reviewers for the plan plus a final review of the entire manuscript. The latter had two reviewers for the plan but no final review from an external referee (at least no such report was handed over to me). Both presses are very professional and well-run, given my limited experience.

Marcus Arvan

Matias: With my recent book with Routledge, there were 3 reviewers for the initial manuscript (to get a contract), and then a final clearance review for the final manuscript--which all seemed pretty rigorous to me (the referee comments were very detailed too, much like referee reports from a good journal). So, my guess here is that there may be a lot of variance on how a given press handles submissions.

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