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Pride of Authorship
Navigating the world of book publishing can be a challenge for the first-time writer.
By Lisa Speckhardt

F. L. Olmsted, O. C. Simonds, Ian McHarg—they were not only great landscape architects; they were also great communicators. All authored books documenting their work and putting their ideas and philosophies in print. Who wouldn't want to be in such august company? The opportunity to share one's experience and wisdom in book form can be almost irresistible.

So, assuming you manage to undertake the supreme effort and write a book, what is involved in getting it from manuscript to publication? Many writers agonize over how to get their books published and made available to the right audience. Connecting with the right publisher for your book is critical. Some authors are fortunate enough to have publishers approach them at conferences after hearing the author give a presentation, while some are contacted when a published article or paper piques an acquisitions editor's interest. But many would-be book authors need to make the first step themselves. So what's the first step?


Finding the Right Publisher for your Book
There are many options in publishing, from university presses to commercial publishing houses to small specialty publishers. Approach finding a publisher as you would hunting for a job—start with some research. What books are in their catalog? Have they published books on landscape architecture or your particular topic? Do they have an ongoing series in which your book would fit well? Frederick Steiner, ASLA, veteran of almost a dozen books, suggests, "The first thing is to look at publishers who are publishing books like yours." If you submit your manuscript to a publisher that doesn't publish on your topic, you're only wasting your time and theirs.

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