The Publishing Now series at UConn aims to teach writers about how to get their works published—providing advice from professionals who have been through the process themselves. This specific portion of the event welcomed Brian Halley, the Senior Editor at the University of Massachusetts Press Tuesday night. Halley stressed the importance of peer reviewing and making connections, while also outlining the publishing process. This was an extensive view of dissertation and proposal to-do’s and to-don’ts of contacting an editor.
In preparing one’s dissertation, Halley stressed the importance of the peer review process and asserts that clarity and consistency are the way to go. He also recommended numerous books and articles that would be beneficial to a first time author looking to get their book published.
A crowd of close to 15 professors and graduate students sat on the panel. The event was very intimate and made for easy discussion between the speaker and the audience.
One of Halley’s main points was basic etiquette. He said projects don’t progress when writers are behind on deadlines. Halley said when one writer asked for monthly reminders for writing deadlines, he declined. He said responsibility should lie with writers, not editors. After the proposal is out of the way, Halley estimates that the production will take 10-12 months. This time period can go by much smoother if the writer is able to hold themselves accountable.
Also a part of assuming responsibility as the writer is ensuring that you are contributing to the advertising of your work. While social media is recommended, Halley says it won’t be effective to just make an account to promote your book with prior social media presence. Another way to promote your work is to buy a couple of the press copies. These can then be delivered to your colleagues in the field. Once again, it leads back to strengthening your connections.
Another easy tip Halley gave to writers was to be personal with editors, addressing them by name when pitching ideas goes a long way.
“I would say that my biggest pet peeve is when I’m not really addressed directly,” Halley said. “It makes it really impersonal.”
Halley added that he deletes emails that begin with “Hello editor.”
Conferences are a great way to meet editors, Halley said. It allows them to make a connection between a name and a face. While approaching people at professional conferences can be nerve wracking, Halley said networking is exactly what those events are for.
Halley also said taking initiative is one of the most important things a writer can do. Don’t depend on an editor to be your first pair of eyes on a manuscript. Make sure others can give you feedback on your manuscript and it’s in the best shape it can be before it even gets to an editor’s desk, Halley said.
Sending copies to colleagues in your field is a great way to get your name out there and get feedback on your work.
The final event on April 10 will host Viet Thanh Nguyen, writer of bestsellers “The Refugees” and “The Sympathizer.”
Kanthalina Andreus is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.