Book Review: The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication

The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication. Rachel Singer Gordon, Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Reviewed by Alexandra Janvey

Getting a piece of writing published can be an intimidating prospect for librarians, regardless of experience level. It's unfortunate because writing for professional literature can have substantial rewards. Rachel Singer Gordon proves that publishing doesn't need to be daunting or scary with her book, The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication. The author is no stranger to publishing in the library field. She is currently a Consulting Editor for Information Today, Inc. for the Books Division, Webmaster of {}, a former computer media review columnist for Library Journal (2002- 2008), and has written as well as edited numerous books.

The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication provides an easy-to-follow introduction to the publishing process. Gordon's tips will set you on the path to success. Totaling 190 pages (including the appendix, bibliography, and index), this book is just long enough to provide a good overview, but it's short enough to keep the reader engaged. Gordon doesn't just cover the typical research article but goes into the numerous other opportunities that are available for librarians to share their writing, from book reviews to books.

Despite the fact that this book was published back in 2004, the advice and tips provided in The Librarian's Guide to Writing for Publication, are still extremely relevant today. In fact, I encountered just two broken links, though they didn't interfere with the book's usefulness.

The book begins at a logical point, discussing how to begin the writing process. Gordon then goes on to discuss how to come up with ideas, the process of submitting work, queries and proposals, along with tips for increasing your odds of achieving success, editing your work and the academic environment. The author even goes into the advantages and perks of being an author. An additional chapter is devoted to related writing opportunities and two more chapters cover the process of writing a book, then promoting and marketing your writing. One of the later chapters even explores the Internet and technology's impact on publishing.

There is also an added bonus in the form of an appendix that is located in the back of the book. The appendix is full of interviews with editors of a wide range of well-known publications in the field, including American Libraries, Library Journal, Information Today, Portals: Libraries and the Academy, Information Technology and Libraries, and Free Print.

These interviews are a treasure trove of information, as they provide helpful advice and insight into the world of publishing from the editor's point of view. The interview topics cover a range of topics including how the editor looks for contributors, advice for new writers, preference of receiving a query first or a completed piece of writing, what happens after a submission is received, what percent of submissions are accepted for their publication, the most common reason that articles get rejected, and if they are open to accepting submissions from new writers.

Those who have anxiety about getting started as an author or are uncertain where to begin will find this book particularly helpful. However, it can also be beneficial to librarians wishing to expand their writing prospects as the author explores the diverse opportunities available for a librarian to get published.

Alexandra Janvey is a Librarian in the Digital Initiatives and Art Slide Library at Long Island University. You can find her on twitter at @Alliebrwneyez.