Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catching Mistakes (mine, and others')

(Warning: the following post will be utterly boring to all my non-academic readers, with the possible exception of Wizard Chimp, who used to be a freelance copy editor.)

First of all: thank you to all who offered me congratulations. I really appreciate it.

Now, to my main point: Journal of Excellent Studies (hereafter JES) has a style sheet.

This is nothing unusual for academic journals: Usually, a journal wants its foot- or endnotes in a style similar to MLA, Chicago, or APA, with just enough little quirks that you have to go through and tweak them all. This is what I've been doing for more or less the last 24 hours, and I'm almost done. Time-consuming, but the process of going through and cleaning things up has been valuable: I've been able to correct errors in the notes, which I hadn't read nearly as carefully as I'd read the text. (This includes one fairly major error in which I had conflated two entirely different documents from two entirely different archives in two entirely different cities. ::ahem::)

[Small irritation: I don't like the JES' system (also in Strunk & White) of adding an extra "s" in possessives of personal names already ending in "s" (e.g. "Agnes's shoe"). It looks awkward to me.]

Here's my irritation du jour, and it has nothing to do with JES, but rather with another journal entirely -- we'll call them Foreign Journal of Smart People (FJSP). About 30 years ago, FJSP published an important article that I leaned on rather heavily for about three pages of my article. Now, as a part of my editing, I had to go back and double-check all the inclusive page numbers of the articles I used (rather than just the pages I cite). Before trekking into the stacks, I decided to see how much I could do online. I found a reference to the FJSP article, but with one word in the title spelled slightly differently than I had it. Now, this word was a foreign-language derivative of a Latin personal name, so I had no idea whether I had it right or not. Unfortunately, further online exploration yielded about 50-50 results: half with the spelling I had, half with the "new" spelling.

As the kids say, "WTF?"

Luckily, the library here has a run of FJSP, so I went down and pulled the volume. And guess what? On the title page and in the body of the article, they use my spelling. Along the top of every page of the article and in the table of contents, they use alternate spelling. Seriously.

None of this is very important, but this kind of stuff eats up hours, and I just had to vent.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sometimes, it works out okay.

The editors at Journal of Excellent Studies have informed me that they are going to publish my article.

[[deep breath]]

[[deep sigh of relief]]

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm done with the conference, done with the chapter. I'm resting up in Saugatuck, Michigan with my two friends (pictured here) from Fellowship Institute. I've been taking lots of pictures, sleeping in until 10 or so, and giving myself permission not to work until Monday. The light here is gorgeous... I feel like a human being here, in a way that I haven't in so very long.

Life is good, people.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Almost Done

It's 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, last day of the conference. I give my paper in 3 hours. This has been a very strange Kalamazoo for me -- my fifth, but it seems like more. But none has been quite like this:

~~Only one person from my grad school cohort is here, and I only ran into him by utter happenstance at the book display.

~~I haven't really had a chance to browse the book display much at all.

~~My undergraduate mentor was giving a paper here, and she never travels, and especially not to Kalamazoo.

--By the end of three days at the conference, I will have visited two panesl besides my own.

~~For the first time, I skipped both the Pseudo-Society and the dance. This is not like me.

All this busy-ness because I was pitching the book. I met with three publishers: Publisher X, a scholarly non-UP who has been very interested for a long time; and publishers Y & Z, who are two of the best university presses in the particular type of work I do. I kind of figured that X would want to see the whole MS, but Y & Z were longshots -- things that I had to try, just so I'd know.

So, here's the report:

Editor X had read the proposal & chapter, seemed interested, but told me that he had to take it to the editorial board to see if they thought it would work. An hour later, I ran into an editorial board member who I knew from my grad school days, and he told me unofficially that I'd be getting an invitation.

Editor Y had read the proposal, talked to me for almost an hour, and seemed very interested. Said that he'd be reading the chapter, and if it matched up with the impression he'd gotten from our talk, he'd contact me (by the end of the month) to send the whole thing.

Editor Z had told me before the conference that he wouldn't have time to look over my materials before the conference, but that I should just stop by and say hello. So I did, at their reception -- where he surprised me by telling me that he had read it, and that I should make an appointment to talk with him. Which I did the next day. Where he asked to see the whole MS as soon as it was ready.

So, like I said: a weird Kalamazoo, but a successful one.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to prepare for my paper presentation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Preliminary report

I've met with publisher A (AKA "dream publisher"), and they seem interested based on the proposal. I have to see publishers B & C still; and I made a preliminary contact with publisher D, who seemed more tepid... but the editor was British, and I may have been incoherent.

Once I've had all my meetings, I'll let you all know what things look like.

In other news: it's 2:30 on Friday, and I still haven't been to a single panel. Oh yeah.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

At the 'zoo

We've arrived at Kalamazoo, and inaugurated our stay here by ditching the first session. Over 500 panels, and I'm not sure how many of them I'll be seeing at all. But dammit, I'm having a good time already. And bloggers' coffee tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Somebody loves me.

Firs of all: safe journey to all of you headed off to the 'zoo over the next couple days. See you all bright and early Friday morning!

Now, on to business: Remember this post, when I blegged for good thoughts, encouragement, chapter reads, and cookies? Well I'm sure I got the first two, and a couple people even bravely volunteered for number three (In April! Jeebus, but you guys rock!). But no cookies.

Until yesterday:

Very cool. Even cooler was who they were from: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome MY MOM, who now is a reader of this blog. Hi Mom! And thanks for the cookies.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Exploding head syndrome

1. Up until two a.m. last night pulling together the five "finished" chapters (check out the word count, folks!) to send off to Generous Reader. I wanted them to be more polished. But they're off. [good/bad]

2. First contribution for Major Initiative to Outside Project has finally come in; hopefully more to come. [good]

3. Kalamazoo paper proposal is very interesting, but it turns out that my documents don't really allow me to make the argument that I want to, so I'm forced to come up with something on the fly, my main question being, "Why didn't I find what should have by all rights been everywhere in my documents?" It's the dog that didn't bark in the night. [bad, but handling it with as much panache as possible]

4. Journal of Excellent Studies e-mailed to inform me that they will be mailing me a letter about my article. [???]

Really, I don't know what to think anymore. Except that I very badly need some sleep.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A (fairly) decent proposal

I'm done. Sort of. I've got a chapter that I'm 80% happy with, a proposal that rocks, and a decent cover letter. I've sent off the one to the one publisher who wants e-mail; I have a fat folder ready to go to the other two tomorrow.

In other news: my personal hygiene is as low as it's been since I was backpacking across Europe. My apartment is a mess. I've been living on lattes and scones, supplemented by the occasional hummus and crackers. My eyes are glazed. And yet... I still have to write a paper for Kalamazoo. Please tell me what I was thinking?!?

Screw it. I'm going home to shower and collapse. I'll catch up with y'all when I'm feeling more human...