Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Publishing Anxiety

Tim Lacy's fears about the publication of his first book are actually quite common.  When I sent the final manuscript of The Way of Improvement Leads Home to the University of Pennsylvania Press I thought about every one of the fears Lacy identifies in his recent post at the U.S. Intellectual History blog.  The key is not to let these fears overwhelm you, not to take yourself too seriously, and have fun with whatever post-publication attention the book gets.  This, of course, is easier said than done.

Here is a taste of Lacy's post:

I turned in my revised book manuscript about five weeks ago. In my situation, this deadline represented the stage where substantial future revisions are now out. I’ve responded to my readers, my series editor, and my own questions that had come up in between. I’ll be lucky if I can change more than few sentences going forward.

I was happy for about 12-24 hours afterward, but every day since then—and I mean EVERY SINGLE DAY—fears have arisen about, well, you name it. My list of fears is full of contradiction, irrationality, legitimacy, the complex, and the obvious. I’ll limit the following to my top issues (listed in no particular order): 

(1) How will the topics and ideas I purposely excluded come back to haunt me? This fear has driven, in my part, my Guillory series of posts.* 

(2) What counterexamples did I miss or undervalue? 

(3) My analysis is inadequate. This has driven a persistent thought about how I’ve undertheorized parts of my book. It’s amazing how much there is to know—which undervalues what you do, in fact, know. 

(4) Nitpicky reviewers will tear my book to shreds. This, by the way, is why I have always tried to be generous to books—even those I disliked—in USIH reviews. Then again, I’ve not been able to see anything but weaknesses in my manuscript since submission. So this fear is probably most palpable.

Read the rest here.   Good luck with the book, Tim.