Review of ‘Getting Published’ just received

9 December 2009

Today, I was gratified and embarrassed to read a lengthy review of our book recently published in the Journal of Scholarly Publishing.

There was much to be pleased about in this review by Steven E. Gump, not least this comment about our introduction:

The opening chapter offers a behind-the-scenes look at the various players in the publishing industry and a brief but particularly fascinating section on the state of the global academic book industry (15–9). This chapter should be required reading for all aspiring academic authors.

and this about the importance of (self-) promotion:

One way in which this book stands out from other academic writing guides is that it describes how academic authors can themselves add value by actively promoting their books (chapter 10): ‘you should not leave everything to the unseen multitudes in the [publisher’s] marketing department who are working hard to push your book to the market. As an author, you should get actively involved by creating a corresponding pull ’ (160, original emphases). True, such ideas are not new; but I am pleased to find them receiving such in-depth coverage and attention in a book for academic authors.

But Steven E. Gump is also known for being a stickler for consistency. Here, sadly, he detailed far too many instances in which a word was spelt this way here, that way elsewhere, commas wandered a bit, etc., etc. He’s right; these errors shouldn’t have slipped through. Like all authors, I wanted a perfect book and (as usual) we didn’t quite get there. The final comment, then, is probably fair:

Textual inconsistencies aside, though, I recommend this book for academic authors, especially those in the humanities or social sciences, wanting an insider’s view of academic book publishing in the early twenty-first century. For first-time authors, reading this book will clarify a complicated, lengthy process that is only beginning when the manuscript is finished. Authors will be reminded, too, that, despite hurdles encountered along the way, ‘everyone in the academic book industry … is there for the express purpose of making the most’ of their manuscripts–of making each book accepted for publication a success (19). Just be sure to do as the authors say, not necessarily as they do.

Quite. And I’m quite sure that – given how most of my posts seem to be written before dawn – Steven E. Gump would find many more errors strewn through this blog, too.

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More glossary entries

11 August 2009

In recent posts I seem to be throwing a lot of terms about, so here are a few definitions.

Note that I have added a Glossary page to this blog where all such terms will be aggregated.

Diacritical marks

Accents and other modifiers to the standard roman alphabet, in earlier times (before modern Open Type fonts) often detested by publishers for the difficulty of typesetting these correctly.

Font

(1) In common usage (and how it is used in this blog, and in our book), a typeface/type family. (2) More properly, the full set of characters of a typeface in a specific style (indeed, in earlier times, with specific weights), e.g. Baskerville semibold italic. A key feature of the digital revolution in publishing has been the huge advances in typographical design, not least the development of Open Type fonts.

Type family

(1) In common usage and how it is used in this blog (and in our book), a font. (2) Correctly speaking, a group of fonts belonging to the same typeface.

Type style

(1) Typeface variants like roman/regular, italic and bold. (2) The full character set of a typeface in a particular style, i.e. properly speaking a font.

Typeface

(1) In common usage and how it is used in this book, a font. (2) Correctly speaking, a set or family of one or more fonts designed with stylistic unity and a consistent visual appearance (hence Arial is a typeface with several fonts including bold and italic).

Typesetting

The work involved in taking text and illustrative material and laying it out on the page ready for printing.


A couple of entries for a glossary of publishing terms

11 August 2009

Open Type fonts

Scalable computer fonts conforming to the ISO open standard on typography and which can be used across computer platforms. Open Type fonts are now produced by virtually all type foundries and are available for a myriad of alphabets and scripts.

Unicode

An ISO character-encoding standard for fonts and data storage that allows common mapping not just of the single-byte character sets found in Western alphabets but also of double-byte script systems such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

(Two definitions is a start. But, for what it’s worth, our book has about 100 such entries.)