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Preface to the First Edition

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2010

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Summary

In 1980, after ten years as an editor of scholarly books and textbooks, I began teaching scholarly editing and publishing. I soon learned that my faculty colleagues regarded me as a window onto a mysterious and often frustrating publishing world. They asked my advice on questions ranging from semicolons to royalties, from en dashes to remainders. At the same time, they informed me of a number of publishers' practices – many admirable, some reprehensible – that I had never encountered.

As a teacher, I met daily with students who were curious about aspects of publishing that I had avoided. I have little artistic ability, for example, and had always regarded book design as magic. That explanation was clearly inadequate for bright, curious graduate students. My expertise in the dollars-and-cents area of publishing was equally sad; to correct my deficiencies, I even went so far as to take an accounting course so that I could use the proper terms in explicating the financial arcana.

In 1982 I began to worry that my theoretical knowledge, though apparently sound, was untested. Besides, I had some ideas for books that needed to be written. I formed a small publishing company and, with the assistance of my husband on legal and financial matters, learned firsthand the realities of what I was teaching. There is no better way to learn the economics of publishing than to invest your own money.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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