Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Getting It Published, part one billion

(Previous installments here, here, here, here and here.)

So, that was fast: I got my second outside reader's report last week--just five weeks after the editor announced they were soliciting a second review. The editor also included the new report from my first reader, which the press had told me was positive, but had wanted to hold onto until both were in.

The good news is that the first review is really, really good. Warm and enthusiastic, complimentary about the revisions I'd made between the first and second version, and with very precise but incredibly useful suggestions for further tinkering (stuff like, "in paragraph three you say X, but you don't set up X until paragraph ten; put that information sooner").

The bad news is that the second review is not good. Pretty strongly not-good, but also pretty obviously written by someone who has different interests and quite possibly a different subfield of specialization than I do.

The less-bad news is that my editor has urged me to revise in order to address "at least some of" Reviewer Two's comments, which I suspect means the press recognizes the limited utility of the second review.

And I can do that. There's still useful stuff in the review, and even if all I'm doing is shoring up my defenses and showing I'm not ignorant of possible counterclaims, those are valuable additions.

Whether I can convince Reviewer Two with my revisions, though, is another story.


ntbw said...

I think you're impulse is right that overall, the news is good. though it's sort of crazy-making to get very disparate reviews--happens to me all the time these days, since I publish in two intersecting fields with some significant differences.

Has the press asked you to write a response to the report? I've been asked to do that several times, and in cases where reviewers made dramatically different, sometimes even utterly contradictory, suggestions, that's where I could explain what I planned to do and the rationale for those plans. I found that quite a useful exercise.

Also, do you know for sure that the editor will send your revisions back to the same reviewers? In other words, you may not necessarily have to convince Reader Two, just be generally convincing. In the cases of a couple of my books, the editor didn't send out the revisions again at all--he just took the revised version to the press's editorial board, which gave it the go-ahead. As a reader for a press, I was once asked to read a manuscript that had been revised in response to other reviewers' reports. I've also been asked to read a manuscript for a second time when I provided a report, so sometimes it does happen that way.

Flavia said...

ntbw: Yep. They'll be sending it back to Reader Two. But I've been invited to detail what I've done, and why (after I do it), which I suspect is intended to frame the reviewer's response--either for him personally or for the editor/editorial board, or both.

Not sure if it will then go to a third reviewer, or if the goal is just to get two reviewers who say I've done good job of addressing their objections before it goes to the pub board.