Monday, December 27, 2010

Getting It Published, Part 3

(For previous installments see here and here.)

Just before the holidays, I heard back from the publisher to whom I'd sent my book manuscript back in August. The response was, on balance, about what I'd expected: revise and resubmit. I'd known that the manuscript still needed another full round of revisions, and though I'd been hoping that I might get a contract first--with publication contingent on approval of those revisions--I'm not disappointed by this result.

Partly, that's because I got an amazing outside reviewer: someone supportive of my project who wrote a detailed, thoughtful, and entirely constructive report. I've known people who have gone through reviewer hell (one of my friends had her manuscript sent to the same vindictive, territory-policing reviewer by not one, but two different presses), and though I didn't specifically fear that, I did fear winding up with a reviewer who simply didn't get my project or approach. Instead, I got someone both generous and rigorous, 90% of whose criticisms strike me as 100% right.

(And. . . it's a little amazing to have someone you don't know reflect back your own vision of your project; it's all the more amazing when it's a project you've been wrestling with for so long and in so many different forms that you no longer fully trust your own perceptions.)

But let's be honest: partly, I'm able to be so sanguine because I don't need this book contract before I go up for tenure. (RU requires a book or four scholarly articles, and I have five articles and a book contract for a significant scholarly edition.) That's a necessary caveat. Only because I don't have tenure pressure do I have the luxury of being able to see how positive this R&R request is. I can stick with a top-tier press rather than having to rush the manuscript, as-is, to a publisher somewhere a notch or two down the food chain. And if this press ultimately rejects the revised manuscript, I have another equally good press to send it to. And if that second press rejects it, the next tier of publishers is still perfectly well-respected.

I have time. And I have renewed faith in this project. God bless you, anonymous reviewer. And God bless you, SPRING RESEARCH LEAVE.

8 comments:

moria said...

And bless you, Flavia, for writing about this process. I've just gone back to read this whole series for the first time, and in Part 2 I find this:

Basically, it took me four or five years to grow enough as a scholar to write this book.

Which is the most important thing I've read in months. Thank you.

medieval woman said...

Many congrats about the constructive reader's report! That's awesome - and you totally rock...

Susan said...

Yes, the reviewers who write useful reports are unsung heroes. Congratulations on getting one!

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

What good news! Happy New Year and research leave!

Renaissance Girl said...

I'm so happy to read this whole series. I love that reader! Now you go forth, and R&R! I bask in your good news!

Jess said...

Congratulations! What wonderful end-of-the-year news!

Anthea said...

Congratulations on getting such a constructive report! It's so good when we hear that someone else likes our work. ..it just makes me feel that I've done something that I knew was worth while, worth while. Happy New Year!!!

Wendy said...

Absolutely delighted to hear this news!