And when to do it?
Notorious posted something on this recently and Heu Mihi has also been posting about it. It's got me thinking (or, rather, stressing) about my book proposal and when to write and when to send it out. I know that I should read Germano's book (and it's on my early summer list of things to do), but for me I'm thinking about the timing.
A little background: my book project is significantly different from my dissertation - I do have the 3 core chapters but I'm changing the focus of those (with little revision, fortunately). I'm writing a completely new chapter and an intro/methodology chapter. Then there will be an epilogue and a baby intro to the book. At least this is what I foresee at the moment. The project has also changed focus even more recently. I've jettisoned a larger issue that I will be dealing with in the epilogue rather than trying to suture it into each of my chapters. I feel like this will make a cleaner and more tightly argued book.
Okay. I've been having this conversation with a colleague of mine recently who is very close to getting a contract with a good press (she's in her 4th year on the t-t). I was saying that I think I need to have a proposal ready to circulate *NOW* and I've had some anxiety about this. She noted the differences between a book prospectus that you write, revise, and tweak for the job market, fellowship applications, etc. AND the actual book proposal (with its attendant Table of Contents, representative chapters, section on competition, etc.) One of the things she suggested is that I send out my proposal to presses when I'm only about 1-2 months away from being able to circulate the manuscript as a whole (or damn close to it). She said, if it's going to take you a year to get them the whole thing, things could change, editors sometimes leave, other similar books get published in the intervening time, etc. This makes sense to me - it's not like I will not write up and revise a prospectus in order to have a sense of the larger project as it morphs, but I feel like sending out an official proposal now would mean that if I got any nibbles, I'd have to wait a fairly long time before I could send them the whole thing to review. My goal is to have this ready by next summer (this might change once I see how much work I get done *this* summer). That would mean that the proposal would be ready to circulate in a year with the full manuscript not far behind. It would be at the first semester of my 3rd yr on the t-t.
So, I ask, what do you all think? I know that (just as there are many roads to Rome) there are many roads to monograph publication, but I'm interested in hearing about other experiences and other rationales. I feel like this one is good for me considering how much the project has changed from the dissertation, but I would really love as much feedback as I can get!