Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Just before the semester began, I sent out a proposal to a single high-profile university press for my ongoing book project. I had been in conversation for a little over a year with the Sr. Acquisitions editor, who had made her name in the field by bringing my subfield to prominence. So our most recent contacts had been friendly and relaxed (indeed, at MLA, she hailed me down to show me a new book as I approached the table).

So the packet of materials I sent contained the proposal, a table of contents, a shorter abstract, and two sample chapters: the long introduction, and a later chapter.

She emailed today to confirm receipt, but also to say that she "admired my choice of artists," which in turn made her "realize how long it's been since we've [seen] a good book of this kind," and that she's sending it on to "others," presumably series editors or others in house. On the one hand, I hope that the enthusiasm that I read in this note is more than just professional courtesy. But on the other hand, without a complete manuscript, she probably isn't going to tip her hand too much.

This is the first basically unsolicited proposal I've made to a press. Others with book experience: what kind of early responses did you get, and how should one read this sort of thing?

1 comment:

Sisyphus said...

Hooray for auspiciousness! Since *you* are the one giving me all the great advice, I got nothin' for you except a lot of cheering on from the sidelines --- yay!!!

PS an interesting NYT article is out about a bunch of recent plays coming out that are pushing buttons and being shocking with race and blackface and stuff.