IVP - Addenda & Errata - An Editor’s January

January 19, 2009

An Editor’s January

It’s a good thing that January is dark, cold and wet, at least where I live. It’s conducive to work. Editors, as many other deliberative folks, like to start the new year with big plans for setting wrongs right, executing new initiatives and tackling new goals. So when January comes, let’s jump in and really get things going. Right?

Wrong! You see, editors are not just individuals who pursue their own goals. They facilitate the goal-making of others. It seems that while the editor is celebrating the end of the old and the beginning of the new year, a cadre of authors and would-be authors are drawing up their own new year resolutions, which include, of course, new books! So no sooner does the editor launch his or her own plan for taking the year by storm, than an avalanche of proposals hits the in box! Actually, these start in late December (there are early birds in every bunch). Oh, and there are also arriving the manuscripts that authors have proudly finished, though this is work of a more predictable nature and contributes to the editors own goals.

Now, about those proposals. Some of them just don’t fit us. Some are very much “us” and quite good. We like you just the way you are. Others show potential, but need more work, which calls for more thought and consideration. All of them need editorial attention of one sort or another. But the editor’s schedule was already quite full of things that must be done—books completed, or nearly so, that must be moved along, not to speak of, say, two big reference books at critical stages of development (as was the case for me last January).

So the incoming proposals don’t get the immediate attention they might deserve. And the editor’s guilt grows onerous. And the editor is tempted to hit “reset”—reject them all just to clear the desk and relieve the guilt. But, as I said, some of them are quite good and from friends and acquaintances, so that would be indecent and probably induce more guilt. And so January passes into February. And it’s a good thing that it’s still cold and dark and dreary because there is still much to be done.

But it also helps to blog about it, since it seems to give perspective on just how crazy this is but also just how fascinating to be at the intersection of a ceaseless flow of ideas. One could be working at an assembly line all day. . .

Posted by Dan Reid at January 19, 2009 7:47 PM Bookmark and Share

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