This month, I return to reflecting on the academic book proposal process. In previous posts, I provided a bibliography of all the advice out there on this process, as well as how to identify a book series as a means of narrowing your target lists. Now that I have several presses committed to reading the manuscript in full in the next year, I wanted to pause and reflect on the actuality of the process, as well as what things have changed in recent years with shifts in the academic publishing industry.
¶ One of the few things I felt I was certain of when I got my tenure-track job was that I would upgrade my home desk. True, she was the easiest thing to move, comprised of two industrial, cross-hatched legs topped by a black slab of particle board, unattached. Aside from being easy to move and store (and having cost less than $100 all told), it was also romantic. In the early 1980s, my mother had always invested in tablecloths because my parents’ first dinning table was just a door—knob hole and all—balanced on top of two koa tree trunks. (It was only replaced when my grandmother accidentally put a glass through where the knob should have been. The full-sized, immovable dinning set I grew up doing homework on appeared two days later.) My modular, penny-pincher of a desk was a romantic reminder of good starts.
¶ I write to you, dear reader, after six years of MA and PhD work and two years in a job, from this same desk.