Friday, November 27, 2009

Gatekeeping duties

I've spent most of the week reading a manuscript for an academic publisher who wants to know whether to go ahead and put a book into production. For obvious reasons, I can't share the review here. I usually perform this role two or three times a year. To tell the truth it's an awkward task. It's one thing to review a book proposal or a sample chapter when the book has not yet been written. It's another to have to make a decision on a 3-400 page manuscript that has probably taken someone the best part of two years to write. The author has vested a lot time, energy and emotional toil into a work that seemed like a relatively sure bet of publication (they will have received a conditional contract on the basis of a proposal) and yet the book can fall at the last hurdle. Thankfully the manuscript I was reading, whilst it had its faults, was an interesting read and I expect the publisher to nod it through to production on the basis of a few revisions. I'll get back to open reviewing next week.


pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband does a lot of this and we are always surprised at how other reviewers seemed determined to turn away books he felt were worthy of publication. Academics are not always the kindest people.

Rob Kitchin said...

Yeah, we can be a savage and egotistical lot. Problem is everybody thinks their right and everyone else is dullard if they don't agree with them!