Jermey Matthews (Acquisitions Editor @ MIT Press)

Tradpub nuance, popular science, market research vs. timing, and entrepreneurial authors

By Rob Fitzpatrick and featuring Jermey Matthews

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

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