Monday, May 11, 2009

A Tale of Three Book Projects

So, I'm home from Kalamazoo. I slept 8 1/2 hours, which has me almost caught up. I'm planning to write a post soon on my reflections on the panel on anonymity/pseudonymity and academic blogging, but right now it's time for the report on my adventures in book publishing. And those adventures are threefold:
  1. The first-book project: Good news here. I met with Fabulous Editor on Saturday, and we went over my response to readers. He told me that he thought it was just fine, and that he anticipated that the board would approve it at their meeting this month. We talked about scheduling issues, and I gave him a date for completed revisions that was about two weeks beyond when I thought they'd actually be done.** I also asked him if he thought it would be out in time for next year's k'zoo. He seemed to think that there was an outside chance that it might, but that more likely we'd be at the stage where the press booth wouldn't have an actual book, but could display a spiral-bound mock-up with page proofs. It all sounded very encouraging. But we also spent about half the meeting talking about...
  2. Shiny New Project: When I drafted my response to readers, I followed the excellent suggestion of a more experienced historian and worked in a sentence that hinted at what my next project would be. I stuck it in the timeline information for revisions ("I will be out of the country during the month of June, conducting preliminary research for my next book project on [X], but should be able to finish most of the revisions in July..."). After FabEd and I had finished up with the business of the first book, he asked me about the second one, and we talked about the two ideas I was working on. Shiny New Project was really the one that caught his attention, even though it's less like a traditional monograph. At the end, he said, "I think that one is your next project." This gives me hope that there may be some advance interest there.
  3. Edited Volume: I met up with would-be collaboratrix about an idea for an edited volume that she & I have been discussing for a year now. She's been hard to nail down, and I'd been wondering if I ought to forge ahead on my own, but I really, really didn't want to, because she's done two edited volumes already, and I dearly want the benefit of that experience. But this year I found out exactly how much she's had on her plate, and why I hadn't heard from her. And happily, she's still interested. We had a good strategy talk, and she even sounded out a very good press on the idea -- and they're interested. So it looks like this one is going forward as well, and with some expertise that I seriously lack. Hooray! I do have some anxieties about this project: I think it really, really needs to be done, but everyone I know who has done an edited volume has advised me to run screaming from the room. Still, I'm going to give it a go, with the hopes that collaboratrix's experience will help smooth out the rough spots. And hey, this is new publishing territory for me, so it will give me fodder to expand on the original purpose of this blog without repeating myself too much.
So... I have a research (and blogging!) agenda going forwards, enough to keep me occupied for the next 3-5 years, at least. That's good news, right?


**A strategic move on my own part, though I probably should have gone for a month. No one would object if I turned it in early, after all.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Co-editing is not always bad. I did such a volume early in my career; I knew one of the co-editors and not the other. The other is now one of my best friends, he was so much fun to work with. I am also still friends with the other. Writing together is hard, but there is less of it in a co-edited volume. Make it clear what the division of labor is, and keep the lines of communication open. The potential problem is the contributors, make your deadlines for the contributors clear, and cross your fingers they will produce good work.

historiann said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Notorious Ph.D. said...

Historiann -- Thanks for the comment. I've edited the post and deleted your comment as you suggested. Duh. And ironic. Yeesh. Let's hope most people weren't paying as close attention as you were, or didn't have the resources to look things up and make the connection.

::sigh::

Susan said...

Congratulations. Just don't commit shiny new project to anyone just yet. If it's really exciting, you'll get a better deal later.

And editing does not have to be a pain -- depends on your contributors.

Bavardess - said...

What great news for you, and that was a very smart way to gauge potential interest in your new project. I really enjoy reading about other people's research and writing projects - it makes me feel a bit less isolated here at the bottom of the world.

Belle said...

Hooray for SNP! This bodes well. So... is the wife really dead? Is the cat?