Editor Phoebe Clapham On Commissioning Current Affairs Books
While we’re focused on “thinking” this month, it’s important to consider how we as publishers think about the many ideas, manuscripts, and proposals that are submitted for publication. For a university press that publishes and distributes nearly 500 books per year, it goes without saying that judicious review by academic peers, editors, and committees are involved in the process of bringing any book to light.
Many of the book’s highlighted this month, as well as those from March’s Politics and Current Events theme, entered our World of Letters through Yale University Press, London editor Phoebe Clapham. As one of the only American university presses with an acquiring staff abroad, the interest of English-readers is considered broadly across the globe as we consider the appeal of different studies to different audiences. An editor’s role in shaping and positioning a book for publication pays careful attention to the state and conditions of the world the book is about to enter.
Recent publications from Phoebe’s desk have included expert Dilip Hiro’s Apocalyptic Realm: Jihadists in South Asia and Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren’s The Battle for the Arab Spring, while we’re preparing to publish former Economist editor Bill Emmott’s Good Italy, Bad Italy in our Fall 2012 season, and even sooner in the U.S.: Alison Pargeter’s Libya: The Rise and Fall of Qaddafi. Anyone with an interest in the editorial side of publishing will enjoy Phoebe’s article on London’s Yale Books Blog and the fast-paced world of keeping up with current events publishing, not to mention a sneak peak into what she’s working on next.
One of the joys of commissioning books about current affairs and economics is that it’s impossible to run out of material. News stories rush hard on each other’s heels, and the last few years – with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the global economic crisis and the Arab Spring, not to mention the rise of China, Putin’s refusal to relinquish his grip on Russia and the vicious drug wars in Latin America – have been exceptionally interesting times. The spread of the internet and the 24-hour news cycle has also brought about an unprecedented interest and knowledge of global affairs, although as publishers we also have to contend with the fact that many people can find all the information they want for free online…
Read the full post on the Yale Books Blog.