Advice for Academic Publishing

We were delighted by the turn-out at last Friday’s Academic Publishing Workshop, in association with UCD Humanites Institute and the Royal Irish Academy. The event brought attendees through the practicalities of academic publishing, from proposal writing and publishing to promotion. The talk, attended by PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, provided practical guidance on all stages of academic publishing: from picking the right publisher, to peer review and funding, to making their work accessible and visible.

Guest speakers included Timothy Wright, Chief Executive of Edinburgh University Press, Christabel Scaife, Senior Commissioning Editor, Peter Lang Ltd, Professor Geradine Meaney, Professor of Cultural Theory, UCD School of English, and Dr Philip Coleman, Associate Professor in the School of English and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin. Here is just some of the fantastic advice they shared on the day.

Christabel Scaife encouraged aspiring writers to set aside time to plan their theses as published books before going down the publishing route. She stressed the importance of balancing realism with forward momentum; writers must be aware of similar published books without being too defensive. Two of her main points were perhaps the easiest to put into practice: don’t be afraid to let others read your work, and keep the word ‘thesis’ out of your sample material.

Dr Philip Coleman spoke brilliantly on research output metrics and the criteria academic authors need to meet. He revealed that the monograph is not the only way to go: there are actually other options! Dr Coleman also emphasised the importance of being honest with your publisher. Keeping channels of communication open is essential.

Professor Gerardine Meaney had some great practical advice for event-goers. She suggested that looking for a series gives first-time authors ready-made exposure. She highlighted the importance of making sure your work is findable and attached to you, and added that building your international profile by going to conferences is key. A further piece of advice from Professor Meaney: make sure you clear permissions when needed, as conflicts with literary estates can be costly.