This week I completed reviewing my page proofs and creating the index. I have approved of the jacket copy and blush at the strong endorsements provided by scholars in the field. All that is left is for the manuscript to go to press!! I’m dreaming of the UPS man delivering my advanced copies in December—a great birthday present if you ask me! Conjuring Moments in African American Literature will be released commercially in January. I have completed my first monograph!
The journey to publication has been a learning experience. I didn’t have many issues with losing an editor or fighting for the cover art—all of which I’ve heard horror stories about. I even decided to go ahead and create the index myself rather than contract a freelancer to do it on my behalf. If you’ll remember, I was torn about that decision in a previous blog.
As it turns out, if you prepare in advance putting the index together isn’t all that troublesome. It is a tedious process, but at the advice of my colleague Elizabeth West, I did the work of creating the index terms well in advance. When I received the page proofs is was a simply matter of using the appropriate software to do a search for the terms.
In all, it took me two full days of work to complete it to my satisfaction. I’m not sure whether I’d be willing to entrust that kind of detail and thoroughness to someone who is less familiar with my work. After all, I’ve invested some years in developing my scholarship and the index is as much a reflection of that as anything else. Who knows? Maybe for the next project I’ll be more flexible since I am now initiated into the process.
I am very happy and excited to see this project come to a close in terms of the writing, revising, and other minutia of publication. I do hope, however, that the life of Conjuring Moments does not end here. The next phase is promoting and marketing my work—another area in which I’m a novice. There are no manuals or guides for how one should go about the work of promoting his or her scholarship. I will have to lean on my great circle of mentors and colleagues to assist with that one. I am looking forward to the critical response to my scholarship as well as the awkward dance of self-promotion!