Please Respond! Publish or Perish (Part II)

We have to publish our research. Particularly if we are junior scholars who just finished our PhD or are still working on our PhD, our publications often decide whether we have a chance to stay in academia—or if we have to leave. I talked about the difficulties to find the time and the material in a previous post. But unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there.

In the finishing stages of writing my dissertation, I started thinking about possible publishers, looked at their programs. Dream publishers: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Indiana University Press, University of Chicago Press, Princeton University Press, University of California Press, University of Hawai’i Press, … I decided to begin with the top of my list (still haven’t decided whether that would be Cambridge or Oxford, haha).

But then: I stumbled upon a book series I really liked. A small university press that is not highly ranked—not even on the top lists. And I thought: why should I try another press if I might have the perfect series for my book? So I tried my luck and contacted the series editor. I sent them a brief summary to see if they would be interested at all. Surprisingly, they were! I should send them a book proposal. I was so excited!

I wrote one. I sent it.


I was wondering: how much time should I give them? After a while (three months!—I’m far from pushy), I contacted them. An immediate reply. I’ll get back to you tomorrow.


Almost a month later: let’s move forward. I was excited, but also a bit reserved. That took quite a long time. Too long. Even though I am new in this area: isn’t this a matter of respecting the other person, valuing their time? And: can I speak up for myself? Or do I have to be thankful for their time and general willingness?

We are slowly working towards a contract. I hope. But it feels unfair. I’m running out of time. I’m frustrated. I don’t know if this is going to work out. I’m afraid that they will tell me at some point: sorry, changed my mind! It’s been more than a year by now. But maybe that’s just how it is?


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