In this Useful Books Community Q&A, we’re joined by Jermey Matthews, Acquisitions Editor at MIT Press (i.e., the person who decides whether an author gets a publishing deal).
Jermey joined the MIT Press after working for nine years as industry reporter and book reviews editor for Physics Today magazine. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s and a PhD degree in chemical engineering.
Jermey is now responsible for commissioning, acquiring, and publishing books on topics in the physical sciences, engineering, and mathematics.
Jermey is also the co-founder of STEM Reads Book Club, formerly a subscription book box for children that is now being transformed into a community for educators, librarians, parents, creators, and anyone passionate about using stories to introduce STEM topics and STEM careers to young children.
Timestamps & topics
- 0:00 Hello!
- 0:53 “Acquisitions editor”?
- 1:58 Predicting a book’s success
- 3:17 Entrepreneurial authors & reader communities
- 5:01 Beta readers & peer review
- 6:12 On mass-market math books
- 7:23 Books for learning vs. books for doing
- 8:10 Business model, profitability, & pricing
- 10:38 Warning signs & exciting indicators
- 13:52 Post-publication priorities
- 15:35 Royalties, advances, & investing in an author
- 16:44 Pitching a publisher vs. being recruited
- 17:58 Researching (and timing) the market for a book
- 20:13 Tradpub vs. indie publishing?
- 21:20 Nuances of a publishing deal
- 24:09 Learning more from Jermey