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How should I approach a publisher?

Send the editor an e-mail with a description of your book idea! If you’re not sure which editor to contact, check the publisher’s website—most university presses have a page with biographies of and contact information for their editors. If you’re submitting a full proposal, make sure you adhere to the publisher’s guidelines, which should also be available on its website Most presses prefer that you submit to one editor at a time and not to all of the editors at once (that is often a waste of the editors’ time); if a book isn’t right for one editor but the editors think it could work for someone else at the press, they will often forward it to another editor. At NYU Press we do this all the time, as we have great familiarity with each other’s lists, and we are often happy to pass a recommendation on to a colleague.

—NYU Press, November 2020

Once you’ve found some presses you think might be interested in publishing your book, you can send a short e-mail to the most relevant acquisitions editor at each press describing the book, the audience for the book, and your qualifications to write it, and ask if they would be interested in reading a proposal. You could also send a full proposal and cover letter along with this initial inquiry e-mail, but you shouldn’t send a complete manuscript until one is requested.

—AUPresses Faculty Outreach Committee, April 2020

For more information, you can also consult the Association of University Presses “Finding a Publisher” resources, including an annual directory of members, a subject area grid, and a list of member websites.

And check out these FAQs, “Has the pandemic changed how first-time book authors should approach editors?” and “Has the pandemic changed the way acquisitions editors work?”