This morning I woke up with plan to roll out a sneak peak at the newest book from The Digital Press: The Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota. I got paper galley proofs yesterday evening, and started to go through them and found lots of little niggling issues (most of which… cough… all of which… are my fault), but these will be generally quick fixes. After one more round of gentle editing, we’ll probably approach the point of diminishing returns.
All books have mistakes in them, and these mistakes are part of what makes publishing a craft and an art. They reveal the steady, but not flawless hand of the human publisher and, with any luck, the irregular contours of an author’s work.
But, the book does exist and it’s being straightened out even as we speak, and there is some chance that a little preview happens tomorrow and the digital version of the book is released (very quietly) on Friday with the paper version appearing later in the month.
What is more fun is that I’m going to speak for a few minutes to a class in our undergraduate editing and publishing program this morning. My talk sounds a bit like a pep talk which is embarrassing, but I encourage the students to embrace a decentered model of publishing where every one can be an author and everyone can be their own publisher, but also to be generous with their creativity, skills, and energies. If we want to get out from under the genuinely rapacious behavior of publishers, we have to offer an alternative and support that alternative. The Digital Press offers our contribution to an independent, collaborative publishing model. It’s not the only model that should exist, but I think academic publishing is better and stronger that it does exist.