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  • The Librarian’s Guide to Writing for Publication
  • Jennifer Johnston
The Librarian’s Guide to Writing for Publication. By Rachel Singer Gordon. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004. ix, 191 pp. $34.95. ISBN 0-8108-4895-3.

Books about writing for publication are a dime a dozen. Within the field of library science, however, a book dealing with the burgeoning electronic aspects of writing and publishing has been long overdue. Rachel Singer Gordon mends this technological fissure with her wonderful new work: The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication.

Gordon's experience and expertise contribute to this book's success. She was once head of computer services at Franklin Park Public Library in Illinois and now operates a library employment Website (Lisjobs.com), publishes an electronic newsletter for librarians (Info Career Trends), writes columns for Library Journal, and has produced several praised works about technology and librarianship.

From the beginning Gordon asserts the belief that "publication in the library field is an achievable and valuable goal" (3). This encouraging tone permeates the book, which is divided into twelve chapters, with two appendices and a thorough index at the end. Chapter 1 offers suggestions about developing ideas, dealing with rejection, and obtaining financial assistance for writing. Chapters 2 and 3 examine how to locate an appropriate publisher and submit queries and proposals. Chapter 4 outlines common mistakes to avoid, along with tips on how to increase publishing success, while chapter 5 clarifies how to best write and edit one's work. Chapters 6-8 discuss related aspects of writing for publication, such as the importance of networking, the academic library environment, and producing other types of writing, for example, book reviews, conference presentations, and electronic newsletters. Chapter 9 delves deeper into writing monographs and is aptly followed by chapter 10's explanation of how to promote and market one's work. Chapter 11 focuses on the electronic aspects of writing and publishing, and chapter 12 elaborates on the business side of publishing: contracts, copyright, and taxes. Appendix 1 includes a survey Gordon used to gather and incorporate personal commentary from other information professionals; the second appendix is a compilation of interviews with a variety of publishers, from the established American Libraries to the newer, online FreePint. [End Page 200]

Gordon's concise, streamlined writing style makes this book engaging and readable. Related information is consistently referenced, making this work easy to pick up and read in any sequence. Useful tables, charts, and sample letters accompany the text, while testimonies from other librarians, along with advice from professional editors, help make this book personable and memorable.

But Gordon's breadth of subject, her focus on both print and electronic media, is what ultimately makes this work unique. Whether Gordon canvasses style guides, peer review, collaborations, or multiple submissions, she always offers suggestions for what is appropriate for both print and electronic formats. Illuminating descriptions about Johns Hopkins's online peer-reviewed portal: Libraries and the Academy in chapter 7 and Internet review outlets in chapter 8 effectively balance chapter 11's sole concentration on electronic communication and publication.

The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication should greatly appeal to new information professionals, who will find this work immensely orientating. Already-published librarians will also find Gordon's book helpful, especially with her fresh emphasis on publishing in the electronic environment. In fact, anyone from any background just beginning to write for professional publication will find this book befitting and beneficial.

Jennifer Johnston
California State University, San Bernardino
...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-3033
Print ISSN
2164-8034
Pages
pp. 200-201
Launched on MUSE
2005-07-14
Open Access
No
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