To advance the work of our Authors. This is our mission statement and we LIVE BY IT. So to work with us you need to be an author and you need to be our author. So how does one become an author and why are our authors’ books constantly receiving national awards? Well here is the process led by Mr. Douglas Rife, President Solution Tree Press, and outlined by Ms. Kari Gillesse, Associate Acquisitions Editor.
When many people pick up a book, they see only the finished product: A beautiful glossy cover and chapters bound together. But the cover and binding are just one part of the process of how an idea becomes a book. Here’s how it works at Solution Tree.
Good books begin with good ideas, and the point at which authors send those ideas to us varies. Sometimes, authors come to us with a general overview of the idea for their book, and so we’ll ask them to start writing and submit a few sample chapters to us so we can get a better feel of the content. Other times, authors have a complete draft of their book ready to share with us. And finally, sometimes we approach authors to write for us if we are familiar with their work and we like what we’ve read and/or heard. Such books often grow out of conference presentations, journal articles, and even conversations we have had with the author. On average, we receive about 55 unsolicited manuscripts a year (mostly sent to us through the “Publish With Us” section of our website), and we solicit about 35 from authors with whom we have current connections or made contact. Of all submissions, we publish 30-35 books a year.
Whether a manuscript is unsolicited (authors bring their manuscript to us without any prior invitation from us) or solicited (we approach the author to write for us), we want to make sure that the manuscript is research-based with practical strategies for K-12 educators. In other words, we want to be sure that the content aligns with the type of book we publish and fits with our mission, vision, and goals. At this point, unsolicited manuscripts that do not fit this criteria are rejected, and authors of solicited manuscripts are given another chance to rewrite and resubmit.
We then send the draft out for double-blind peer reviews by other educational professionals in the field for whom the manuscript would be appropriate. Since neither the author nor the reviewers know the identity of each other, this process gives us honest feedback about the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses. When the reviews are in, Douglas Rife and I measure reviewers’ feedback with our own perceptions of the manuscript’s ability to fit into Solution Tree’s publishing niche. If we (and the majority of reviewers) think the manuscript has merit and can make a worthy contribution to the field, we present the manuscript to the editorial board, who then votes to determine whether Solution Tree will publish it or reject it.
Following the editorial board’s approval, we issue a contract to the author for his or her manuscript. The author’s complete manuscript will be sent out for an additional round of peer reviews, and then we send the feedback and editorial suggestions to the author. The author submits a revised draft to us, and then it is transmitted to production, where the manuscript will undergo more editing and revisions, copyediting, reference checks, permissions assessments, and formatting. Our designers will create a beautiful cover and our team will write marketing copy for the book at this point, too. Once these steps are complete, the book is sent to the printer, where it will be bound and shipped to our warehouses. From the point the manuscript is transmitted to the point where it is shipped to our warehouse as a finished book, the process takes about seven months.
Getting a manuscript published is a competitive process, but a rewarding one, too. It’s amazing to see the work of our authors making a real difference in so many students’ and teachers’ lives around the world.