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Atla Open Press: Marketing Your Work

This guide provides information for authors, prospective authors, readers and editors of the publications of Atla Open Press

We don't just want to publish your work, we want to get it read. While there's a lot we can (and will) do to promote your new monograph or article, you have a big role to play in spreading the word. Here are some tips and resources for amplifying your voice.

Know Your Audience

Who do you want to read your work? Researchers? Faith leaders? Laypeople? All of the above? Without a clear idea of who your readers are, you won't be able to position yourself in the right spaces or choose the right tools to reach them. Think carefully about the different purposes to which your work could be put and the different kinds of professional and personal interests it might engage. Remember, your book or article could well have readers outside of the disciplinary perspective, denominational identity, or community of practice you had in mind when you wrote it. Don't be afraid to think outside the box! Then, follow the three steps below.

Step 1: Build Your Presence

ORCiD is a persistent identifier for researchers (think of it like a DOI for people). It helps to ensure that your work doesn't get confused with the work of someone else who might share your name and that people can find your work even if your name has changed since it was published. If you don't already have one, the first eight minutes of the video below from the Open Science MOOC will walk you through the process.

Social networks can be powerful tools for connecting with colleagues and injecting your work into just the right conversations. Which platforms make the most sense for you depends on your discipline and your audience. Ask colleagues which platforms they use, or search for work similar to yours across the platforms and see which gives the best response. Some you might want to consider are listed below.

(While the focus of this guide is on helping you share and promote your work, it's worth noting that the tools above can also help you do the work in the first place—managing notes, developing ideas, soliciting peer feedback... If you're new to social networking/social media, Mark Carrigan has some great advice on how these and other platforms can help make you a more productive researcher and scholar.)

Blogging can be one of the most powerful tools for building your online presence and visibility, whether you do it on your professional website, your faculty site, or a separate platform. It is also a big commitment in ensuring that you have regular, quality content. A blog that hasn't been updated with a new post in six months can look worse than not having one at all!

If you're interested in blogging, C. Wess Daniels has some good advice on how to get started specifically for those blogging about theology and religion.

  • Keep a list or spreadsheet of online profiles you have created and the date on which you last updated them.
  • Make sure all your profiles include or are linked to your ORCiD.
  • Always include the DOI (if one exists) for your work wherever you list or reference it.
  • Link to your social networking/social media accounts from your personal and/or institutional homepage.
  • Be aware of any limitations that your publishing agreements may impose on re-posting or re-sharing your work online. While Atla Press publishes under Creative Commons licenses, other publishers may have different arrangements (SHERPA/RoMEO can help you find out what those are). You are responsible for complying with copyright law if you have transferred copyright in the work to a publisher. It is particularly helpful to remember that a social networking site is not an open access repository.

Step 2: Promote Your Work

  • Now that you've built an online presence, use it! Share links to new work across all your social media and social network profiles as it comes out.
  • Include a link to your most recent publication in your email signature.
  • If your publisher allows it, depositing a copy of your work with your institution's digital repository is a great way to get it more widely indexed (be sure to give them the DOI when you make the deposit).
  • You've probably already written an abstract. Strip out the jargon and turn it into a "lay summary" of your work. This can be shared on listservs, Facebook groups, online fora, or anywhere else there's a relevant discussion.
  • Publish open access! — You've already done this if your work is out with Atla Open Press, but you can boost your impact by making sure your publications elsewhere are OA also. Studies show that OA work is more likely to be read and more likely to be repeated across different platforms and networks online.
  • Blog! — Blogs can be a great tool for building your presence and promoting your work, but running your own is a big time commitment. If you don't have your own blog, make use of others; there are lots of multi-author blogs that are happy to publish guest posts or to profile new research. Examples of blogs that are open to guest contributions are:

​You can also reach out to individual bloggers in your field (think of people you're already reading, for starters) and ask them if they would be interested in featuring a review, interview, or other post on your work.

  • Your institution may have a "research office" with expertise and resources to help you position and promote your work. Reach out and ask them about their services.
  • If it doesn't, your institution almost certainly has a press office. Contact them about issuing a release for the publication of your new work.

Step 3: Track Your Progress

Bibliometrics is the measurement of how scholars engage each other's work. Who is citing whom, how many times, and where? Which articles are getting read most? How big an impact is a given scholar having on their colleagues' work? Bibliometrics tries to answer these questions with a variety of tools. If you want to learn in detail about how this kind of data is collected and how to choose the best tools for tracking and demonstrating your own impact, the Metrics Toolkit is a great resource.

A simple way to get started, however, is with Google Scholar—that's right, the same one you're probably already using for research. In the video below, the University of Houston Libraries will show you how to set up a Google Scholar profile and use it to track citations, h- and i10-indices,* and even get alerts when new papers mention you.

*H- and i10-indices are common statistical measurements of how much your work is being cited by other scholars. Not all h- and i10-indices are created equal, though, because the databases from which they are calculated have different contents. Although numbers derived from citations logged in Scopus and Web of Science are sometimes taken as more prestigious, those databases are heavily weighted toward natural sciences. Google Scholar is actually the best source for scholars working in humanities to draw their numbers from, because it represents a higher percentage of humanities and social science publications in its calculations. You can get more details on this from the University of North Texas.

While bibliometrics tries to track how much your colleagues are engaging with your work, altmetrics looks at how much everyone else is. Did someone retweet your paper announcement on Twitter? Did someone share it on Facebook? Did someone mention it in a newspaper article or a white paper at a government agency? None of those will show up in your article's citation count, but they're still important ways of measuring the good you've done!

Altmetric.com is the leading resource for getting these kinds of statistics on your publications and for sharing them with grant funders, tenure committees, and anyone else you want to impress. Also, once you have some numbers to work with, you can refine your publicity strategy; the Altmetric "donut" can show you which of the platforms you're using are reaching the right audiences and where your time is best spent.

Now that you've got an online presence, put your work out there, and discovered who's interested, you have a solid foundation not just for sharing future work but for crafting your personal and professional brand moving forward. As Scott Talan has said, "Even if you object to the notion of being a brand, you still are one. Your colleagues, fellow staff members, and students have views of you that they share with others both online and in real life." The tools offered here can get your paper or your book read but, even more than that, they can help you take control of how you and your work are seen and talked about online and off.

(And if you've done all of the above and are looking to go farther, read Stacy Konkiel's open access book, The 30-Day Impact Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Raising the Profile of Your Research.)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.