On Publishing…and Procrastination

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header image courtesy of Emma Reed, Champlain Publishing

Champlain Publishing is helping Alumna Colleen Rooney publish a collection of essays written by Champlain students. It’s called Publishing: Digitized and Personalized, and it’ll be out in the world Feb. 3. We’re going to have a big party at Champlain that day. You’re invited.

So last month, as is apparently my way, I sat back down with the manuscript at the last possible second to give it a final publisher’s going-over. If you’ve ever prepared a manuscript for publication, maybe you’ll see why I procrastinated: I’d already seen the manuscript, in all its different phases and iterations, over the last two years.

I was afraid I’d get to that point all editors eventually get to with just about every project, where you’ve read the thing so many times you can’t see it anymore, and you miss obvious typos that people will point out to you in the hallway on campus for the next eighteen months.

This meant that all this past Fall, when we talked about the book in meetings and planned our big February event, I found I’d stayed away a little long. I started to forget what we’d put in the book in the first place, and I’d not yet seen a couple of great new additions. This was a little embarrassing at meetings. I’d started to think of the Publishing manuscript as a youngster I’d babysat for in my past, now growing up so fast I’d better check in before the tyke left me in the dust.

It turned out waiting worked in my favor, because the excellent staff editors and proofreaders (heads up Kiera Hufford and Elise Price) at Champlain Publishing had already caught just about everything. Colleen deftly handled all the legal aspects and bravely assumed the mantle of both editor and publisher; Kiera took over where Colleen left off and got the manuscript packaged and ready to go; Emma handled design and layout and has just sent the final production files to me (where I will hold onto them, puttering about and waking up at four in the morning to worry needlessly over them, until the last possible second).

Anyway, reading the manuscript again was like going to a great party full of all my smartest friends. Jeremy Allmendinger’s hilarious sendup of the history of publishing had me spitting out my tea. Kristin Orlando’s take on stalkertizing shook me up as much as it had when she turned it in, in the publishing class in 2014, and it reminded me how savvy our students are when it comes to understanding how books are marketed.

I hadn’t read Tristan Louzuaway-McComsey’s take on educational fair use policies in publishing before, and it answered probably 80 percent of the questions I have going into another digital publishing project this Spring. (This item in particular is blowing my mind right now: I did about three hours of research trying to answer my myriad digital licensing questions the other day, only to find my student offered up most of this information for me two years ago.)

Colleen Lloyd gives a clear-eyed comparison of self-publishing v. traditional publishing that will help elucidate the process for anyone still on the fence about this. Alexandria Allen skillfully compares book packaging to boy bands, and Taylor Covington brings her bright, lively viewpoint to an insightful overview of crowdfunding. What a gift, to get to work with these people, to get to help bring their words out into the world.

So watch this blog, and our website and our Facebook page and whatever other social media and PR our talented and wonderful Champlain Publishing staff are dreaming up and putting into play right now to bring out Publishing: Digitized and Personalized. Remember this is all just post-New Year’s, when said students should really be resting and skiing and hanging out with friends. Instead they’re scheming and planning and working on blog posts and reviewing proofs on the weekend, because their managing editor left all this stuff up to the last possible second.

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