How to prepare for a meeting/discussion with a major University Press editor when they solicited/sought you out on short notice (4 days)? Because I didn't solicit them, I don't have a full manuscript -- just my conference paper, abstract, and general research ideas. What is expected in these impromptu meetings solicited by University Press editors? What should I bring to the meeting? Do they expect me to become prepared with a pitch and write a book proposal overnight? Or do I simply bring an abstract and a CV?

I would like to make the most of this opportunity, but I was solicited out of the blue during a conference and feel so unprepared. I don't want to blow an opportunity or ruin future prospects, but I have no idea what to expect. Are they meant to be low-key casual?

  • See this : academia.stackexchange.com/q/132579/72855 Perhaps you should have put the detail of the meeting in the other question.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 28, 2019 at 17:55
  • Thanks, Solar Mike! Yeah... I'm the one who asked that question. Same person! In this question, I want to know what to bring to the meeting and how to best prepare myself to make the most of the opportunity. In that question -- I was wondering if it was common practice of managing editors of University Presses to solicit PhD students. Jun 28, 2019 at 17:58
  • 1
    In a variety of humanities disciplines, getting a book out of one's thesis is a priority as an assistant professor. And, the likely publishers are the university presses...
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 28, 2019 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


It is unlikely that any editor is going to make any commitment to you about publishing your work, other than a book idea. You should come to the meeting with the same attitude. Don't make commitments or sounds that seem like commitments. Take a draft of your work (or an abstract) and be prepared to (a) listen and (b) sound interested.

Get and give business cards.

  • Alright, thanks! This helps me understand the situation a bit more! So it's more of a network opportunity and "maybe in a few years (if we share common interests) we can discuss possibilities then" kind of thing? So this is a pretty standard tactic for editors? Jun 28, 2019 at 18:05
  • When you have a paper, then you can get serious about commitments. In many ways, the editor just wants to be sure that you know they exist. It isn't a personal relationship they are after. It is the papers. The papers.
    – Buffy
    Jun 28, 2019 at 18:08
  • Well, I have a paper long enough for a chapter in an anthology or for a journal article -- just not enough for a book yet. Do University Press editors seek authors for chapters in an anthology? Or even just journal articles? Or are they only interested in catching the big fish? Haha! Thanks -- you are incredibly helpful. I'm just trying to figure out his motive for wanting to meet with me. Jun 28, 2019 at 18:13
  • Probably separate questions for some of that.
    – Buffy
    Jun 28, 2019 at 18:17

It kind of depends on what you want out of a meeting. If there's something you want to publish with the Press, then you should prepare materials. You won't have to provide anything in the meeting itself - the book proposal, your CV, etc, can be done later - but have some idea about what you want to publish, what it's about, roughly how long it'll be, and so on. If you already have these proposals ready then sure, you can discuss them during the meeting itself, but unless the acquisition editor is an expert in your field (not likely), they're not going to be very useful. Besides the acquisition editor will need to get the proposal peer reviewed, so he can't decide there and then.

If there's nothing you want to publish with the Press, you don't have to prepare anything since it's up to the acquisition editor to say what he's after.

I can assure you that you don't have to be worried about this meeting because the Press likely wants you as an author (they approached you after all) so you won't be ruining any opportunities even if you show up unprepared. They can hardly expect you to be prepared if they don't tell you what to prepare beforehand after all.

Do University Press editors seek authors for chapters in an anthology? Or even just journal articles? Or are they only interested in catching the big fish?

If the Press publishes journals in your field then they're very likely to be interested in journal articles. Individual articles in an anthology are iffier, since these books still need an overall editor. If you can serve as the editor, they're likely to be interested too.

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