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  1. #1
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    How Do I Get a Technical Book Published?

    Has anyone here had a non-fiction book published? I just wrote a math book. Perhaps it would be called a textbook or perhaps the best term would be monograph. This book looks at how to solve a common type of math problem in more depth than I have seen any other book do. It is not necessarily intended for a course, although it could be used for a course. I have no idea how to proceed to get it published. I do not want to self-publish.

    Do I need a literary agent, or is that irrelevant for non-popular scientific books? If I do get a literary agent and sign a typical representation contract, and then the agent doesn't accomplish much, would I be able to terminate the relationship and get another agent? If I don't need an agent, how will I know if a publishing company's contract is fair or what to ask for?

    I wish my mother was still alive, because she was a book editor and could have told me how to do this. Any ideas from someone who has done this kind of thing before?

    Thanks.



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    I haven't done this first-hand but I think your subject is too narrow and academic for a literary agent to care about. They want books that will make money. The same holds true for most publishers. If you don't want to self-publish, I think your best bet would be academic publishers, like university presses. Maybe ask some math professors at the colleges nearest you if they'd have any interest.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I guess that I will find out which publishers do this kind of book and approach them directly. In the event that one offers me a contract, how will I know if it is fair or contains wording that I should argue about?

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Oooo...that's going to be a tough sell. Most textbooks come from educational publishers who have whole departments devoted to creating them. If it's a monograph, then you better be another Stephen Hawking or able to present the same old information in a clever or different way to attract the attention of a publisher. Or if you're enterprising with a bit of a sales personality, you could print a few yourself just in binders and hit some home school conferences just to see if there's any interest in it....they're happening right about now in all the states. If you do well there, you'd have more oomph with a publisher. Who's your audience?

  5. #5
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    My audience is people who have, at some point in their lives, taken college calculus and would like to get really good at indefinite integration. I have never seen a book which deals with it in the depth which I have. I had to come up with some of the methods myself. I guess the audience would be everyone from college students in technical subjects to working scientists and engineers. There are many monographs published on less mainstream math topics than this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Whew...that's a pretty tight audience. Have you thought of presenting this as a white paper at a conference that caters to that audience? Those kind of conferences are always looking for presenters, and after your presentation, you can plug your little book.

  7. #7
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    Every scientist and engineer in the world has taken college calculus. Surely, that's many millions of people. That doesn't seem like all that tight an audience. I, personally, have bought a hundred physics or math monographs in ordinary book stores in my life. If they can get published, some on far more esoteric subjects than straight calculus, I should have a shot at it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Alrighty then...you know best. Maybe you could try with Elsevier or one of these other online scientific and research information providers. That's where I buy a lot of my technical material.

  9. #9
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    That's what I'm thinking. Them, Springer, Dover. The best case scenario would be Addison-Wesley or Wiley. On the other hand, if "Harry Potter" gets rejected 12 times, it's obvious that what you deserve and what you get aren't always the same thing. I've proof-read my manuscript several times, though, and it's the best that I can do, so I am hopeful. I don't know if I could spot problems in a contract, though. I don't know what to look for. I expect any contract to favor the publisher, but I hope that they don't slip in something really unfair. Perhaps they're all standard. I just don't know.
    Last edited by BrandonFlorida; 07-08-2015 at 04:14 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    It's way worth it to show a contract to a literary lawyer. A consultation is not THAT expensive and will almost certainly save you some huge headaches.

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