How to Work with a Scholarly Press – At a Conference, Reprise

Originally posted in March 2013 by Whitney Feininger; revised and reposted by Erika Gaffney

In the run-up to a bloc of important annual conferences of academic organizations, we thought it would be helpful to author-scholars for us to reprise an earlier post, with advice on the ins and outs of interacting with publishing representatives as scholarly meetings.

Ashgate attends a number of academic conferences per year. You can see the list of attended conferences and which Ashgate staff member will be attending here. At each conference we’ll have a number of our new books in subject area on display and representatives from our marketing and commissioning staffing the booth.

Please be aware that conferences can get quite busy for an acquisitions editor, and the editor may not be available for “drop by” meetings on site.  If you have a proposal for a book that you wish to discuss with an Ashgate editor, your best bet is to make an appointment with the commissioning editor in advance of the meeting.  A list of names and email addresses for Ashgate’s acquisitions staff can be found here:

Dos and Don’ts

  • If possible, locate the booth ahead of time. Our booth number and location should be printed in the conference materials.
  • Have your “elevator pitch” – a brief description of your book project – ready
  • Don’t give your commissioning editor a lot of documents.  Do give the commissioning editor one of your business cards and make sure to take one of the editor’s.
  • If you can miss a session, try to meet with the editor then. Coffee breaks tend to be a very busy time at the book exhibit. Please understand that the editor will probably need to stay at or near the booth, especially when they are the only press representative staffing the booth.
  • Do follow up with your commissioning editor, via email, with your proposal documents or just to say hello. If a lot of time passes between the conference and submitting your proposal, mention that you spoke at the conference.
  • Do stop by and greet the staff. If a commissioning editor is not attending a conference, take a moment speak with the marketing staff. They can answer questions about Ashgate and can put you in touch with the proper commissioning editor.  And make sure to take a look at the newest books in your field!

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