On Tuesday night in the Homer Babbidge Library, Associate Editor and Rights Manager at the University of Virginia Press Angie Hogan led a discussion for the second Publishing Now event. Hogan discussed general tips for scholars who would like to have their work published and answered several questions about the role in the publishing world. The conversation began with an interview conducted by Professor Alexis Boylan and later opened up to a Q&A with the audience and Hogan.
Hogan, who has a master of fine arts in creative writing, started working in the publishing industry as an editor at InteLex Corporation. She enjoyed working there, but felt she wanted a more exciting job. “I was bored after a few years there, it wasn’t very active,” Hogan said.
She then moved to UVA Press in 2004, where she currently works in the acquisitions department. She feels “intimate and genuine” with them. When asked about her job, Hogan said that working with UVA Press holds meaning. She has focused primarily on publishing early-modern, eighteenth-century and Enlightenment pieces -- areas she feels should be expanded. She explained, however, that it takes time, and can be hard for writers tofigure out where to send their manuscripts.
The audience was made up primarily of graduate students and scholars who currently going through publication or have already been published. Most of the discussion was centered around the process of getting a manuscript published, which was definitely beneficial to the crowd.
When asked about what makes a book something she’d consider publishing Hogan said, “I mean, I guess I’ve developed my own list of what I’m looking for … the most important thing is looking at if it make sense for us to publish this, and for the author as well.” In other words, she looks to see if the press can market the book.
The first step in being published is writing a proposal to the company by which you would like to be published. Hogan described that she looks for a proposal being well written, unoffensive, engaging and with all the information laid out. If someone recommended the particular company you are writing to, it can also be beneficial to include that in your proposal. She stressed that with UVA Press, word count matters. They don’t like manuscripts to be much over 100,000 words, so if she sees that a manuscript exceeds this, it can be a dealbreaker.
Hogan said attending events such as conferences can be really useful for creating a relationship with any publication company. She recommends going and walking around. “I think meeting people face to face is really useful; You get a sense of how you will work together,” Hogan said. “I don’t expect someone to give me a tradebook pitch, but it’s nice to hear a little bit more about the pitch… [Such as] what are your questions? How can I help you? Often times I don’t know the questions that scholars have about publishing.”
Hogan was also asked about open sources which are becoming more and more prevalent in the publishing world as technology expands. She explained that it is a changing dynamic, and she doesn’t know how everything will turn out. “I don’t think books are dead, I think they will continue to survive; However, I think the number of books printed will continue to go down,” Hogan said. “The quality of books and printing doesn’t go down. With open access there are a lot of things I want preserved, but at the same time, I think we [publishing companies such as UVA Press] have to participate in open access.”
Publishing Now is a year-long series of talks and conversations with various editors from all parts of the publishing world. Supported by the CLAS Dean’s Office, English Department and Asian American Studies, the series is extremely factual and beneficial to those who are in any way involved with publishing or writing.
Of the series, Professor Boylan said: “I think our goal is to have our work come out in the best possible place to the best possible people.”
The next talk will be with George Thompson on October 24-27.
Melissa Scrivani is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.