One of my favorite parts about working in academic publishing is that I’ll get to go to a number of academic conferences and will have many ten-minute conversations with some very smart people about the book projects that they are hoping to get published. Unfortunately, sometimes these projects aren’t great fits for our press as we won’t really publish in that particular area. In these cases, I always find myself recommending that the authors check out the Association for American University Press’s Subject Area Grid cheat sheet. On this grid, the AAUP lists over 130 member presses and mark what subjects (about 100 are listed) those presses publish in. Therefore, an author doing a work on feminism in Iranian cinema can check the subject areas of “women’s studies,” “film studies,” and “middle east studies” to find a list of presses that publish in all three areas. Next the author can peruse the press websites to see if they look like a good fit, and then s/he can hit up the acquiring editor in that field at the press the author likes best.
Of course, authors also should check out who has published some of their favorite recent books in their subject area, and also see which publishers attend the academic conferences that are most important to the author. But the AAUP grid is a great place to start. Happy hunting!