I finally received feedback on my book Radio in the Digital Age from the external reviewers. The publisher has sent me the comments and suggestions from anonymous peers, whose advice can range from minor suggestions through to a complete rewrite – or even “don’t publish”.
This is the bit that academic authors dread. Or at least, I assume so. That’s my experience anyway.
After having spent all that time and mental energy putting together what I imagined to be a coherent document, here was the point at which a couple of people could look at it and say “not worthy”.
Thankfully, that was not the case. I have some work to do – a little bit of reordering at the beginning and end, a few extra caveats and citations to ensure that my assertions are entirely justified, and one or two clarifications, and that’s really about it. A leisurely month or so tweaking, re-reading, and refining – and all’s well.
One of the reviewers called it “readable, thoughtful and knowledgeable”, which are all good things to be. The other reviewer remarked upon my tradition-breaking approach to the topic which was “unusual and welcome”. Feedback also included the phrases “carefully nuanced”, “unusually engaging”, “concise, yet comprehensive” and “a sophisticated critical evaluation”. So that’s all lovely and positive.
But then I noticed the words “on target for publication early 2014” and my heart sank. The agreement with the publisher had been for a 2013 release. There’s a university research evaluation called the REF coming up next year, and the amount of funding we get allocated to continue to do research depends entirely on the outputs we submit.
Publications from 2013 are counted. Those from 2014 aren’t.
In short – I need this out. Otherwise, as far as my job is concerned, I almost may as well not have bothered writing it.
A frantic to and fro with the publisher, and it was agreed that if I can make the suggested changes and proofing within the next two weeks (TWO WEEKS?!) then they should be able to get it out before the end of the year. No promises, mind…
So… back into high-stress writing mode I go.