Hi Manuscript Workers,
I said last week I’d hopefully have good news to share today, so here it is: I’m writing another book! The contract isn’t quite signed yet, so I will wait to share the full details until a bit later on, but I wanted to give my newsletter readers a little sneak peak and also get your input as I refine the draft manuscript.
The book will be a practical guide to editing scholarly manuscripts. The primary readers I’m hoping to connect with are academics (or academic adjacent types) who step into roles where they are helping other scholars prepare research-based manuscripts for publication.
Specifically, my new book will speak to people who:
advise graduate students writing dissertations and papers destined for publication
mentor junior faculty members and peers (e.g. in writing groups)
want to edit an essay collection or special journal issue
have taken on editorial roles at scholarly journals
serve as series editors for scholarly book publishers
teach writing intensive courses at the graduate and advanced undergrad level
work in university writing centers or similar roles
I think a lot of people who end up in these positions find themselves thinking “hey, I never got training in this! Am I doing it right?” I certainly felt that way when I first started working at a scholarly journal in 2013 and then again when I went freelance as a developmental editor in 2015. I only wish there had been a book I could have turned to for reassurance at that time.
Secondarily, the book will fill a training need for those working as professional editors, whether in-house or freelancing. It’ll also be a nice overview of what’s involved in professional editing for readers who are not yet editing professionally but who are contemplating a potential career shift (especially former or perhaps soon-to-be-former academics).
Topics covered in the book will include:
Different levels of editing and when they should occur
How to look at manuscripts through the eyes of future potential readers (including those who make publication decisions)
Diagnosing problems of argument, evidence, structure, and style in scholarly manuscripts
Synthesizing solutions that help scholarly authors achieve their writing, publication, and career goals
Maintaining productive author-editor relationships
Making a sustainable career as a professional editor
I have a complete draft of the manuscript in hand, but I’m still refining it to make sure it really serves the needs of all the potential readers I mentioned above.
That’s where you come in.
I would be DELIGHTED to hear from you if you identify with any of the roles I mentioned or think that you might at some point in the future. I’d love to know what questions you have about how to be an effective scholarly editor and/or what you now know from experience that you wish you’d known when you started.
I’d also love to hear from you if you’re an author who has worked with editors, mentors, or peers who have provided feedback on your manuscripts. What have you liked or not liked about the process? Have you had any editing/feedback experiences that felt particularly supportive (or not supportive)?
If you have a moment to share some quick thoughts with me in the Google form linked above, I would so appreciate it. There are just a few questions there, and they’re all optional. You can fill it out anonymously or share your name — totally up to you.
Thank you in advance!!
In case you missed it: I was on the Academic Life podcast last week to discuss my list of 10 common problems scholarly writers struggle with in their book manuscripts. (I developed this list as I was working on the manuscript for my new book last year.)
I think it might be the most helpful podcast episode I’ve ever recorded. You can use the discussion to make a revision checklist for yourself if you’re getting your manuscript ready for submission to publishers. And please share with a friend if you know someone who’s struggling with revisions at the moment.
Get the link to the episode and all my past podcast appearances here.
See you next week!
Very exciting! Congratulations, Laura.
This is so exciting!!! Much needed.