So, I want to publish a book on Kazakhstan

I attended a national history conference in St. Paul, Minnesota two weeks ago. These notes are from the seventh out of ten sessions that I attended in three days. I went to this session because I want to publish much of my notes and anecdotes that I picked up from my Kazakh students the three years I taught there. I have the title of my book already, I just have to have time to organize and pare the material down. The following are my notes, obviously I could see it would not work for my international audience. I also know I would need to do an e-book because I have such a niche market.

“So you want to Publish a History Book?”
First identify your reading audience, once you have that answer, that will determine your media. Potential audience ranges widely. Micro-histories, duplicated, print on demand, broad readership, old proverb “Graduate students start out knowing a lot but end up knowing less and less. By the time they get their degree, they know nothing.”
Non specialist audience
Cross-over – converge on specialist, context, provide background
Get balance right, succeed
AALSH committee Writing Local History today
Thomas Phelp wrote before 1976 “Researching, writing, and publishing local history” reprinted 4 times
Thomas Phelp wrote: “Analyze your audience, there are five major types: 1) dedicated and knowledgeable of subject; 2) adults in real interest in subject; 3) adults who are affluent, causual interest in history, coffee table book 4 juvenile readers aimed at schools and library sales; 5) adults living outside of your area, the sophisticated author

Good news these days, it is easier to get published; bad news is that the specialist monograph only sells about 200-300 copies on average.

Midlists title – appeal to non specialists, ex military, history, Civil war
Fixed costs and variable costs – the first being about research, design, etc.
You may save on paper and binder if you go with e-books. Savings in electronic, short essay “Why Books Cost” Convert to files for e-readers, desktop composition
Important to distinguish audience vs. paying customers
Research tools on web, customer base vs. audience to justify expense of book 7% of book titles sell more than 1,000 copies.
We live in an age of do-it-yourself, actually selling a book is hard. You want a full service publisher, an intl. publisher, someone who can effectively promote your book

Syracuse Univ. Press has served as an incubator
10 important questions 1) what are the design strategies, how are you involved?
2) 70% of e-books bringing books to where the readers are, order e-books
3) where publisher sells books
4) individual bookstore, publisher websites, find out the places books are sold
Figure out who buys the book
Editorial vision – narrow focused to do well
5) ask publisher what subject they front list and back list 400 titles, look at their catalogs
Editors in Chief – hands on editors
They spend a LOT on covers
6) what is the most important thing to publish this book (honor a community?)
Community building, digital shorts, library aggregators, Project Muse or J-Stor
Repurposed for sale, chapters
Wendy freshman, living History
7) are there ways my book be a part of public, publishing IS community
8) what partnership they have developed, events, promotions, newspaper, radio, pod-casts
Finally, Books + MNopedia + MN history journal (5,000 word article)
9) keep content alive and audiences active, get help from Debbie Miller,

Kent Calder talked with Univ. press, it is different than Historical society presses
This is an extention of the parent institution, scholarly, intellectual, and creative
Titles related to a regional community of interest

Monograph – 700-1000, you would be lucky to sell 200-300 copies
Offer broader presentations for general public, “peer review” the University can find a bigger audience
They like well crafted proposals, how to send out a proposal

Successful proposals – In house editorial committee, expert readers in 4 weeks and then Faculty Advisory board, multidisciplinary, you can suggest readers in proposal

P&L Project 750 copies at $29.95 hard cover, 68% (must be higher than 50%)

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