When last we left our heroine, she had sent her book manuscript out to a publisher, gotten a somewhat ambivalent outside review, and was asked to revise and resubmit. She revised, she resubmitted, and they sent it back out for review. (Previous installments here, here, here, and here. At the rate things are going, this enthralling series will run to 27 parts. Cancel your subscription while you still can.)
Earlier this week I heard from the editor, who told me they'd sent the revised manuscript back to the original reviewer, who gave it a positive report--and they would now proceed to send it to a second reviewer.
So, yay! Or I think yay. On the one hand, I'm surprised and maybe a little embarrassed that it's been this easy: that one of my fantasy, top-choice publishers was interested enough to want to see the full manuscript, that they remained interested after it got a good-but-not-ready-for-prime-time review, and especially that the original reviewer wound up liking my revisions enough to recommend publication. (For various reasons, I did not think they were sending it back to that reviewer, and if I had known I would have spent the past three months with a deadly knot of anxiety in my innards.)
On the other hand, this process is looking to drag on a good while, and half of me wonders whether this isn't just a postponement of the inevitable: maybe the second reviewer will be lukewarm, and maybe then they'll send it to a third, and around the time of oh, say, my 40th birthday, the press will reject it definitively and I'll have to start over somewhere else.
So if there's a take-away lesson here for those who have yet to try to get a book published--which I think was why I originally began this series?--it's that academic publishing is super-duper slow, even when it's not actually that slow (the turnaround time for my reader was 4 months the first time and less than 3 months the second time), and even when all the news is basically good and even when you have a product you're confident about.
Because to recap: I first developed the germ of the idea for this book ten years ago (almost to the day: my orals were on September 7th, 2001, and we had to open our orals with a 60-second bullshitty account of what we might write a dissertation about). Five years ago I finished the dissertation. A year and a half ago I sent out book proposals to a few presses--and even if I get the best news in the world in December, it'll probably still be another two years before my book is in print.
I don't need an inked contract for tenure. But right now I feel like a parent whose moody late-adolescent kid is still living at home: I love the kid and all, but I'm ready for him to get the hell out of my basement.