An August Update

A small change of pace

It’s a been a busy summer for this newsletter! Thank you for sticking around, and if you’re new, I’m glad you’re here. Since June, I’ve been running the pilot session of my book proposal accelerator program and sharing some of the material from that in the newsletter so that even people who aren’t enrolled can get some insight into the ins and outs of the scholarly book proposal. The accelerator has been a bit of a departure from my normal routine at Manuscript Works, which until now has been to work with authors one-on-one to develop their book proposals and book manuscripts. Things will not fully be going back to normal this fall, which is why I’ve taken the month of August off from working with clients. It’s a month for making progress on other Manuscript Works projects, and I thought some of you who subscribe to this newsletter might like an update on what else is going on over here. (If you’re just here for the juicy tips on book proposals and scholarly publishing, you can stop reading here. I’ll be back next week with more of that!)

A course for editors
Starting in September, I’m going to be teaching a new course for the first time in many years, but instead of teaching media studies to college students (as I did in my previous life), I’ll be talking to freelance editors about the basics of academic developmental editing. In true academic form, I put off all the planning for the course until this month, oops. But things are coming together and I’ve got some good material planned. We’ll be covering what developmental editing is and what developmental editors do; how developmental editors fit into the academic publishing landscape for journal articles and books; the importance of audience and going beyond peer review; how to diagnose and offer solutions to common problems in academic manuscripts; and how to work with clients and run a successful freelance business. It’s a lot. I’ve still got a lot to do. Eek.

Another session of the book proposal accelerator
If you’ve been reading this newsletter at all, you’re probably already sick of me talking about future sessions of the accelerator, but they’re happening. An 8-week session this fall and then a 4-week session in January. They’ll each be a bit different than the 12-week session I’m running right now, so there is some finagling to do with the material this month, plus all the admin set-up work. I’m excited to work with a new group of authors, though!

Working on my new book
I’m writing a book! It’s a how-to guide on academic book proposals. So, kind of like this newsletter, but with more polish, even more information, and the benefit of peer review. I’m in talks with a few publishers right now and dealing with reader reports on the proposal, which puts me right in the thick of the most anxiety-provoking phase of book authoring. At least I hope this turns out to be the most anxiety-provoking phase of this process, because I’m ready for it to be over! My first book, a research monograph, had a different audience and purpose, so the experience is much different this time around (I’d say better, but it’s still hard). I’ll be spending the fall assembling and revising the manuscript, and I hope the book will exist in the world in the not-too-distant future. I promise to keep you posted along the way.

Community activism
This isn’t actually related to my work as an editor, but I’m devoting a lot of time to it this month, so it feels significant. I sit on the board of the Suffolk County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union and I’m heading up the planning of our chapter’s annual membership meeting in September. The theme is Deconstructing Policing and Prosecution in Suffolk County, 1640–2019, and we’ll be trying to educate community members about the history of structural racism on Long Island going back to Dutch and English settler colonialism, slavery, white supremacist organizing (one in eight white residents of the county was a member of the KKK in the 1920s, including at least one police chief), the eugenics movement (headquartered at the Eugenics Record Office about 15 minutes from my house), housing and school segregation, and long-standing anti-immigrant policing conducted under the guise of “quality of life” concerns. The research I’m doing to prepare is both upsetting and illuminating; I hope we’ll be able to help the community understand the importance of holding local law enforcement accountable and critically questioning the values they uphold. The culture here is very pro-cop, even among the more left-leaning, so it’s going to be an uphill battle. If you happen to know people near Stony Brook (or elsewhere on Long Island) please feel free to spread the word about the event!

In conclusion, September is going to be very full of stuff for me, in addition to getting back to client work. It’s mostly a good kind of busy though. Hey, if you’re still reading, thanks for coming along for the update. I’ll be back in a few days with some tips on the importance of style and voice in your scholarly books and book proposals. See you then!