In the spirit of partnership that pervades the university press community, Syracuse University Press and 36 other presses unite for the AAUP’s second annual blog tour during University Press Week. The tour highlights the value of university presses and the contributions they make to scholarship and our society.
Schedule your week’s reading with the complete blog tour schedule here http://bit.ly/HjQX7n.
Today’s theme is the importance of regional publishing, discussed by one of our favorite regional authors, Chuck D’Imperio.
Regional publishing is a wonderful source of information, data, traditional stories, reflections, memories and history. Although in many cases the parameters can be small, their importance cannot be denied. Not every author can write a serious piece on the nuances of global affairs or the ramifications of economic turmoil. And not every writer’s heart beats with the longing and sentimentality of a romance novelist. We can’t all be adventure writers or cookbook authors. We cannot all come up with clever mystery twists and turns.
But we can all become regional writers. Why? Because we all have stories to tell, no matter how provincial or how far-flung. And these stories, these observations stand the test of time serving an important purpose for the past, present and the future.
Centuries ago familial tales were handed down in oral testimonies from grandparents to grandchildren. Stories of hardships endured and triumphs enjoyed. Of bitter harvests and sharecropping, of transoceanic flight and new beginnings. Of shadowy injustices and illuminating liberations. Of slavery. Of migration. Of life on the dusty prairie as well on the teeming sidewalks of immigrant America.
These stories, eventually written down in small books and disseminated by small presses, have served as some of the most important tools in any writer’s arsenal. Read the legendary works of Herman Melville, Willa Cather, John Steinbeck, Pearl Buck or Mark Twain and it is apparent that at the heart of each of these writers’ opuses lies a work of regional scent. Though disguised as great literary epics and tomes it is still clear to any reader that these authors (and legions more) are simply writing about what they know, where they lived and what they did. Many of the settings of the famous American novels or short stories reflect the simple concept of a regional book masked in the patina of “great literature.”
Story placements as varied as family farms, the sea, a rural Main Street, unpronounceable places abroad, on the river, in the big shouldered cities and more all are the regional backdrop of some of the most familiar works of American writing, from Tara to Cannery Row to “Our Town.”
I am proud to be a regional writer. I have six books currently in stores exploring the width and breadth of my own backyard, Upstate New York. I have written of the great legends of the Hudson Valley, the history of the small towns in the high peaks of the Adirondacks, the whimsy of the tiny museums of the Finger Lakes and the verdigris- covered war memorials which dot the Leatherstocking Region. These books are small, yet timeless. My readers can identify with the stories and tales I have told whether they come from the busy streets of our capital city, Albany or from the bucolic bosom of the Schoharie Valley.
Anybody can be a regional writer to some degree. To paraphrase Grandma Moses, it’s easy. Just pick up a pencil and start writing.
We know that you’re surprised, what kind of chilling tales has SUP been hiding? If you dare, pick up one of our suggestions of the strange and paranormal. Here are a few books to get you in the spirit of Halloween, show your friends that you know the meaning of spooky!
You know the story of Dracula, but what about the vampire who inspired that blood-sucking fiend? Do you dare take on Carmila on All Hallows Eve? This classic gothic tale will have your spine tingling, and maybe even sporting a fashionable, yet protective scarf come the 31st.
Not interested in vampires? What about witches? Delve into the tales of witchcraft and sorcery in Renaissance Italy. Let the magic of Under the Devil’s Spell take over your mind!
Does Halloween fall on a full moon this year? The Literary Werewolf provides a little truth to the tale, these 22 stories ranging from Stephen King to Brian Stableford, will have you questioning what you know!
Vampires, wolves, and witches aren’t your thing? How about ghosts? Dive into the classic, Anna in the Afterlife, and find more than a tale of things that go bump in the night. Take a journey with Anna as she watches loved ones move on after her death, and looks back on her life with a refreshing new view.
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.
Initially, my attraction to SU Press was its size. Hidden from the iconic image of “The Hill,” this Press is kept tucked away; but it still manages to have over a thousand titles under its belt. I knew that this internship would aid me in my education of publishing, but I wanted to know about the community of a press as well.
The community of SU Press is a big part of its success in the category of University Press’s. I believe a University Press should have variety, which SU Press certainly does; it should also aid to the reputation of the University outside of its normal boundaries. SU Press’s variety of subjects and studies that it publishes each season supports the profile of the University where it may not normally be noticed.
In the Marketing department, I’ve gained more than experience for my resume. The projects and tasks I’ve been assigned have given me a new outlook on all of the work that is put in by just one team in a Press. My contact with authors, drafting blurbs, and research have instilled not only a new set of skills, but a confidence to be more independent with future projects I get to be a part of.
We are proud to celebrate 70 years of scholarly publishing. Since its inception, Syracuse University Press has been committed to serving scholars and scholarship, promoting a diverse culture and intellectual expression, and preserving the history, literature, and culture of our region. Through the publication of significant and groundbreaking books, we have been able to extend the reach and influence of Syracuse University, making evident the university’s commitment to knowledge and ideas. For the past 70 years and the years ahead, our goal has been and will remain steadfast: to produce rigorously edited, beautifully designed, intelligent, interesting books. In honor of our anniversary, Syracuse University Press will host six authors over the course of the spring semester. We invite you to attend these readings, engage with our authors, and be part of our celebration.
Along with our author gatherings, Syracuse University Press will also bring the celebration online with monthly guest blog posts, SUP Superlative Trivia and a Fluff Photo Campaign. Follow our blog, Facebook, and Twitter to join in on the excitement.
We thank all those who’ve supported us over the past 70 years and hope you’ll stand by us for the next 70 years as we continue to spread knowledge through reading. For more information on how you can support Syracuse University Press, please contact Ronald Thiele at 315-443-2537 or visit campaign.syr.edu.
Stop into the SU Bookstore to view the special SU Press book display in honor of University Press Week, last week (November 11 – November 17). The display will remain up for the entire year.
Today wraps up the final day of the University Press Week blog tour. SU Press is proud to join fellow university presses in the celebration of this honorable week. To learn more about the importance of university presses visit the AAUP website.
New York University Press: In Celebrating the regional pride of University Presses, Author and NYT editor Connie Rosenblum writes that one wonderful feature of university presses is their desire to publish books about their home turf. She also touches upon the importance of university presses in bringing cutting-edge research to broad audiences.
Columbia University Press: Columbia’s first guest blogger Sheldon Pollock, the Arvind Raghunathan Professor of South Asian Studies at Columbia University, reaches out to the university and faculty to attract greater support and attention to university presses. She talks about how they must insulate themselves from the vagaries of the market and need assistance from the university to do so.
Jennifer Crewe, editorial director and associate director at Columbia University Press, discusses how university presses started with a mission to publish the work of scholarly research and goes on to describe the astonishing degree of innovation and growth they’ve accomplished over the years.
University of North Carolina Press: UNC Press director John Sherer, in his guest post, discusses his recent transition from New York trade publishing back to UNC Press. He describes the abundant pressures university presses are dealing with today and the many changes they’re adopting such as taking on more risks on the editorial front.
University of Alabama Press: University of Alabama Press first time author, Lila Quintero Weaver, tells us “Why University Presses Matter” by discussing how they open their doors to non-academic writers, as they did for his memoir, and play a leading role in the encouragement of scholarship and knowledge.
In an additional guest post, Jennifer Horne, editor of Circling Faith and All Out of Faith, writes that university presses matter because they make books better. She describes the level of experience, quality, and continuity that goes into the publishing process at the University of Alabama Press and the invaluable role university presses play in scholarship and disseminating knowledge.
University of Virginia Press: University of Virginia’s adored author Catherine Allgor, who wrote the award-winning Parlor Politics and The Queen of America, discusses her publishing journey and the level of excellence, integrity, and commitment the University of Virginia Press staff dedicated to the completion of her book. She describes this process with UVP as an ‘exercise in holistic business.’
Oregon State University Press: Intern Jessica Kibler describes her memorable experiences working at a university press as her time at OSU Press draws to a close. One of the most important things she learned during her internship was that university presses give ease to sharing information. She states, “This breadth of knowledge and the ability to share it with the world is one of the most beneficial things about the existence of university presses.”
Princeton University Press: Co-owner of Princeton’s academic and community bookstore, Labyrinth Books, Dorothea von Moltke answers questions on university presses and her business. She describes how the ambition for Labyrinth Books is to carry both a broad range of front list titles and deep backlist titles from university presses and trade publishers.
Indiana University Press: In University Presses: An Essential Cog Within Our Society’s ‘Sophistication Machine,’ former IU Press intern Nico Perrino discusses the importance of university presses through a student’s perspective. He states that without university presses the marketplace of ideas for scholars would be hindered and professors and society would be solely confined to past knowledge.
Fordham University Press: Fordham University Press Director Fredric Nachbaur refers to university presses as ‘the pillars of knowledge.’ He proves his theory by discussing how the tragic hurricane Sandy crisis led the media to university presses for expertise as they are detectives for finding quality authors and sharing critical information.
Texas A&M University Press: Author of The Man Who Thought Like a Ship Loren Steffy, also Houston Chronicle columnist, writes about his personal journey of becoming an author and the lasting impact of TAMU Press both on the field of nautical archaeology and on his family.
Georgetown University Press: Georgetown University Press’ post covers how university presses are uniquely talented in creating scholarly material for less commonly taught languages (they produce books for learning Chinese, Urdu, Uzbek, Pashto, Tajiki, Kazakh, Portuguese, Turkish, Japanese, and Arabic). They conclude their post by listing all of the LCTLs represented by university presses.
University of Chicago Press: University of Chicago Press believes university presses matter because of their continued commitment to foster thinkers and their admiration for flourishing ideas. Editor, writer, and literary critic Scott Esposito confirms this by discussing Wayne C. Booth’s Modernist Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent and observing how fifty years later his influential criticism continues to remain highly relevant and essential.
University of Minnesota Press: Guest blogger Jason Weidemann writes about his recent travels to Cape Town and the time he spent lecturing on scholarly publishing. Jason is the senior acquisitions editor in sociology and media studies at UMP.
University of Illinois Press: UIP author Stephen Wade, in his guest post Write for the World, discusses his positive feelings towards Illinois and its fellow university presses. He goes into detail about their dedicated watchfulness, commitment to humane scholarship, and strong ethics of taking care of deeper impulse.
University of Nebraska Press: Tom Swanson, UNP’s Bison Book manager, explains the important reasons why university presses matter to their region. He writes about how without university presses, specific regions would lose their voice to big houses that aren’t dedicate to promoting the scholarly mission of a University.
Welcome to day 3 of the University Press Week blog tour! We are pleased to present longtime author and former series editor Laurence M. Hauptman as our guest blogger. His most recent SU Press book, Seven Generations of Iroquois Leadership: The Six Nations since 1800 was the 2012 Winner of the Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship.
In his post, he isolates three main reasons why university presses matter. The AAUP University Press Week blog tour continues tomorrow with the Princeton University Press. A complete blog tour schedule is available here.
Why University Presses Matter by Laurence M. Hauptman*
As a young assistant professor in the 1970s, I was fortunate to meet Arpena Mesrobian, the director of Syracuse University Press at a conference on New York State history. Much of what I learned about book publishing came from my conversations with this extraordinary editor who encouraged me, then an aspiring young historian. That meeting was the beginning of a working relationship with her and her fine staff for the next thirty years. This collaboration resulted in Syracuse University Press’ publication of five of my books in Native American history; it also led to my eventual appointment as the Press’ editor of the Iroquois and their Neighbors series from 1989 to 2001. My connection to this university press has been a major part of my academic career and has clearly influenced my decision to submit my subsequent research to other university presses as well. Although one of my books was published by a leading commercial press, namely the Free Press of Simon and Schuster, I have continued to submit my other manuscripts to various university presses, including the University of Oklahoma Press, the University of New Mexico Press, the University of Wisconsin Press, and SUNY Press.
In reflecting why I have repeatedly gone back to university presses to publish my books, I can isolate three major reasons. First, university presses generally work closer and spend more time collaborating with authors, especially new ones to the field, performing more of an educational role by teaching scholars the ropes of the publishing process. For me, the staff of Syracuse University Press were indeed my teachers over the years, instructing me at every stage of the publishing process—how to prepare a manuscript for submission; the need to secure images and permission letters early in the process; the way to structure a proper bibliography and organize an index; the vital role of a copyeditor and how to best proof a manuscript; the importance of working with the production and marketing staff in the selection of book titles, jacket descriptions, and cover designs; and ways to better market and promote the final product once the book is published.
Secondly, university presses are incubators for new ideas and directions in scholarship. University presses are more inclined to take risks than commercial presses. They are not part of large conglomerates whose primary function is to satisfy shareholders by maximizing profits at the cost of scholarship. When I started writing about Native Americans of the Northeast in 1971, few presses, university or commercial, had titles on their list on this subject. Those that had titles focused largely on Colonial America through the Jacksonian Indian removal era. The implication was that American Indians’ no longer existed east of the Mississippi and/or that tribal histories were no longer important except to certain anthropologists studying cultural change and decline. Consequently, 20- 25% of the Native population was being ignored by historians as well as by book publishers. Today university presses have followed the lead taken by Syracuse University Press. They have focused more of their titles on the Native Americans of the Northeast since removal. These include the two oldest presses publishing books on Native Americans, namely the University of Oklahoma Press and the University of Nebraska Press.
Finally, university presses have in-house expertise and draw from their location on campuses of higher learning. In most cases, university presses have more rigorous internal and external reviews. Their boards of editors are composed of university faculty with expertise in the particular field that is the subject of the manuscript under consideration. Moreover, outside reviewers are generally chosen with more care because often recommendations about evaluators are made by members of the board. There is another factor here. University presses can draw from other campus resources as well. They have major libraries to fact check if needed for the accuracy of points or citations in manuscripts. In my own experience with Syracuse University Press, I have had the privilege of working with an excellent cartographer who is based in the nationally recognized Syracuse University geography department. By doing so, I have insured that my maps were done as I wished and not outsourced to someone less able to meet my particular requirements. Consequently, it is little wonder that my final book-length manuscript has recently been submitted to a university press.
*LAURENCE M. HAUPTMAN is SUNY Distinguished Emeritus of History at SUNY New Paltz where he taught courses on Native American history, New York history, and Civil War history for forty years. On October 25, 2011, Dr. John B. King, the New York State Commissioner of Education, awarded Hauptman the State Archives Lifetime Achievement Award for his research and publications on the Empire State. Hauptman is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of 17 books on the Iroquois and other Native Americans. He has testified as an expert witness before committees of both houses of Congress and in the federal courts and has served as a historical consultant for the Wisconsin Oneidas, the Cayugas, the Mashantucket Pequots, and the Senecas. Over the past two decades, Professor Hauptman has been honored by the New York State Board of Regents, the Pennsylvania Historical Association, the Wisconsin Historical Society, the New York Academy of History, and Mohonk Consultations for his writings about Native Americans.
MIT Press: MIT Press editorial director, Gita Manaktala, explores the major shifts in scholarship and reading today (scholarship more collaborative, time to publication more imperative, final form knowledge is just one form of knowledge that we value, peer review changing, reading has changed) and discusses ways university presses can adapt to these changes to meet the needs of readers and authors.
University of California Press: As the Library Relations manager, guest blogger Rachel Lee explains why university presses matter through the eyes of the library. She expresses that, within the academy, university presses and libraries are potential partners in providing new and scholarly publishing for minimal financial return.
University of Hawai’i Press: University Hawai’i Press’ author and editorial board member Barbara Watson Andaya points out how university presses remain a unique repository of knowledge, even with the changes in today’s information age. She goes on to discuss how academic books aren’t generally accepted by commercial houses and that university presses preserve niche markets.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press: R. Bruce Elder, a filmmaker, critic, and teacher of the Graduate Program in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University, discusses his views on the clear benefits of university presses over commercial publishers in the technology-dominant era of today. These benefits include the long-term investments they put in developing a writer’s critical thinking abilities and their commitment to intellectual freedom.
University Press of Florida: University Press of Florida interns, Claire Eder, Samantha Pryor, and Alia Almeida, finish off day 2 of the blog tour with a post about their time at UPF. Claire and Samantha talk about the astonishing wealth of topics that can be found in a university press book and the fun, hard-working work environment, while Alia goes a different direction by detailing her crush on UPF book Picturing Black New Orleans: A Creole Photographer’s View of the Early Twentieth Century by Arthé A. Anthony.
Tomorrow SU Press is pleased to present a post by their longtime author and former series editor, Laurence M. Hauptman, isolating three main reasons why university presses matter.
In celebration of the first annual University Press Week, 26 AAUP University Presses are participating in a united blog tour to emphasize their influence on society as a whole. The tour consists of collaborative University Press guest posts each day from fans such as colleagues, authors, series editors, customers, etc. Syracuse University Press’ guest post is scheduled for Wednesday, November 14th and every other day we will be posting a Round-Up to capture the highlights from that particular day. A complete schedule is available here.
Harvard University Press: In his guest post titled “blue-bound loves,” past president of the American Historical Association and longtime author, Anthony Grafton, discusses how his love for University Presses began with their unique physical beauty, but later progressed into a deeper appreciation for their blend of idealism with practicality.
Duke University Press: Judith (Jack) Halberstam, one of Duke University Press’ bestselling authors, talks about how University Presses offer a rich variety of density, promoting counter-intuitive thinking, than traditional publishers and emphasizes how we need University Presses today more than ever as new forms of literacy are rapidly emerging around us.
Stanford University Press: Steve Levingston, Nonfiction Editor at the Washington Post Book World, goes into detail about his interaction with University presses when writing for the Washington Post’s books blog and explains how their pressing social and cultural interest makes the perfect fit for curious readers hoping to engage in the national conversation.
University of Georgia Press: Claire Bond Potter, author and Tenured Radical Blogger, in “Small is Better: Why University Presses Are Sustainable Presses” defends how in the publishing world, smaller is better. She states how small presses are conserving publishing’s original economic model to produce smalls run of beautiful books on a more personal level.
University of Missouri Press: UMP author Ned Stuckey-French and sales representative Bruce Miller highlight the importance of University Presses through 5 detailed areas. They include the fact that University presses preserve and disseminate knowledge, defend free speech/academic freedom/spirited discussion, serve a readership outside the university, have a special role in land-grant institutions, and play an essential role in developing and evaluating faculty.
Next month, the Association of American University Presses will celebrate University Press Week from November 11-17. This week started back in the summer of 1978 when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed a University Press Week “in recognition of the impact, both here and abroad, of American university presses on culture and scholarship.”
In the spirit of collaboration that pervades the university press community, Syracuse University Press and 25 other presses will come together for a blog tour during University Press Week. This tour will highlight the value of university presses and the contributions they make to scholarship and our society. Bloggers include authors, book review editors, university press staff members, interns, booksellers, and university press advocates, most notably Bruce J. Miller and Ned Stuckey-French, who led a successful social media campaign to save the University of Missouri Press.
Harvard University Press kicks off the tour on Monday, November 12, and it continues coast-to-coast with stops in Canada and Hawaii before ending on Friday, November 16, at Oregon State University Press. The tour comes to SU Press’s blog on Wednesday, November 14, with a post by long-time author and former series editor Laurence M. Hauptman. The complete University Press Week blog tour schedule is shown below.
In addition to the blog tour, the AAUP and other member presses are planning several features and events for University Press Week. For more information, visit http://www.universitypressweek.org.
University Presses are nonprofit publishers that spread knowledge through scholarly, creative and intellectual literature. As part of their academic institution, they place a large emphasis on community involvement and international reach. To illustrate the prevalent impact University Presses have on society, the AAUP created a mapping project in honor of University Press Week this November 11-17. For this project, they encouraged Presses to create a Google map of their footprint in the world based on authors, subjects, events, etc. Each University Press map shares a story of their many years of influence and the united mission they live by each day.
Syracuse University Press’s Influence Map demonstrates their geographic impact over the past 3 years. Each red flag marks the area of influence of a book subject and the yellow flag indicates where the author is from.
When Chancellor William Pearson Tolley founded the Press in 1943 his intent was that such a venture should enhance the school’s academic standing. This map illustrates that with more than 1,200 titles in print and a global reach spanning 6 continents, Syracuse University Press proudly continues to sustain his values 69 year later.