The dilemma of my eclectic interests sometimes runs up against the natural slowness of publishing. My book on The Wicker Man has been given the green light by Auteur Publishing and should be out next year. I just received the readers’ reports and they were positive enough to make me blush. The thing is, I submitted the manuscript back in January and I’ve nearly finished writing my next book since then. It’s on a different topic for which I’ve been collecting sources since January. I really hope this next one won’t publish with an academic press. The endless rounds of revision from peer review can wear a body out. Reviewers, you see, have university jobs. Libraries at their fingertips. Sabbaticals. (I work with authors who won’t write unless they have one of the latter.) Now my reading shifts back to Summerisle.
For those of us with 925s that get a paltry number of holidays per year (which are spent holidaying) and paid like most working stiffs, with no academic library access, this can present somewhat of a challenge. I see peer reviews all the time. Academics so deeply into the subject that they don’t (can’t) think of the practicalities. When I see a reviewer write that a book is ready for publication, but if the author could only restructure the whole thing and approach it from this angle instead… I have to chuckle. During my teaching career I worked in situations that didn’t allow for sabbaticals. Even among academia those given such rare benefits are privileged. It’s a wonder that so many books get written, all things considered.
Like waking from a dream world, I suddenly have to downshift to a previous project. I haven’t really thought much about the Wicker Man since January. My next book, which is eclectic, has been slowly gestating over the months. My reading has been geared towards it and is financed personally. I’ve tried contacting the local college and university libraries. I can’t borrow, or do inter-library loan, so the weird resources I need I have to buy. Preferably used. One thing reviewers like to do is point out new resources. And yes, I have to agree that my argument would be stronger with them. I have a strategy to the way I write my books, now that I’ve found a receptive readership, so none of this is mishap, I hope. (Ironically, now I get quite a few readers of my revised dissertation asking me questions about ancient West Asian studies.) That trireme paddled from shore long ago. I’ve moved my current project to another burner, and you’ll be hearing more about The Wicker Man in coming weeks. Next year is the film’s fiftieth anniversary, so I have a deadline that I just can’t miss. It’s time to get reacquainted with an old friend.