Tip from Acquisitions/Marketing Intern Thomas Witholt
As someone who will hopefully be employed as a professor in the not-too-distant future, I have a vested interest in the publishing of academic research. Interning at Syracuse University Press has helped me see the workings of a very important part of academic research that I had not previously understood, the actual work of making someone else’s work available to a wide audience. I have been fortunate to work in both Acquisitions and in Marketing, and doing so has given me a nice perspective on the publishing process, from manuscript to sold book. Seeing the practical outcomes of other authors’ choices of organization, topic, style, and audience, reminds me of the importance of these factors for making one’s work accessible and appealing to others. This is especially helpful when I am lost in my own, sometimes abstract, thoughts about my research. Though I don’t think scholarship should be guided by marketability, the ease of writing a catalog description or of drafting a publication proposal for editorial review is often a sign of the work’s clarity and attention to perspective audience. Working at the Press has provided me with clear examples of the way that academic work does not exist in a vacuum, and it makes me think (concretely, not just based on abstract advice from others) of how best to attend to concerns such as audience and style from the very first draft.