Most established scientists based in universities have probably been approached by book publishers. Acquisitions editors are always searching for essential monographs, timely conference proceedings and outstanding textbooks. The quest for good authors is highly competitive. Most publishers now use subject specialists who are able to use their own judgment when they come across an interesting proposal. These editors visit campuses and attend conventions in order to drum up business. How should the working scientist respond to a request to write?

The biggest rewards for authors and publishers come from textbooks. A good text will regularly be reprinted and go into revised editions. Once firmly established, a textbook provides a steady income for some years. This is in marked contrast to a symposium volume, which normally will produce almost all of its cash flow in just one year. Publishers want texts in the backlist to offset the short-duty cycle of monograph...

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