Author Topic: Advice for 1st time book-length manuscript reviewer? (Humanities)  (Read 126 times)

Wahoo Redux

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Hello all,

I've accepted the responsibility of reviewing a humanities monograph for a large academic publisher.  So far I actually like the manuscript with a few reservations, so I will probably recommend publication with (so far) minor revisions. 

Does anybody have any general advice for a first time monograph reviewer?

More specific questions might be:

Generally speaking, how lengthy should my individual responses to the publisher's rubric be?  What is a helpful word count for individual prompts?

How detailed should the review be in regards to revision?  I don't want to rewrite someone else's work, but as a reader I have some reactions to ordering, explanation of theory, etc.

How far should I go in researching the current market?  The subject matter covers a well-trodden path and the manuscript's thesis won't rewrite the history of the genre but does propose an interesting new sub-genre.

Anything I am not taking into consideration?

Thanks in advance, WR

traductio

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Re: Advice for 1st time book-length manuscript reviewer? (Humanities)
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 11:56:31 AM »
I tend to write up my review in a Google doc, not paying attention (during the first pass) to the press's specific questions. I prefer to give more organic feedback (which is also what I prefer to receive), although I do go back, when I'm done, and fill out the form the press sends. I know acquisitions editors need those questions answered, and I hope between my narrative response and the form, they'll get what they need.

As for length, my feedback (that I give but also typically what I receive) is usually 2 to 4 pages, single-spaced. I think reacting to "ordering, explanation of theory, etc." is quite useful, so long as you're not dictating how the author must change their work. (As a writer, I can't always predict what my readers will take away from a book, which is why those comments are useful to me.)

As for researching the current market, I'm too lazy to do the press's work for it -- I figure if they asked me to read a manuscript, it's because I already have an intuitive sense of the market (which is usually the case), and I rely on that, rather than doing much more than a Google Scholar search for recent things I might not have heard of.

Hope that's useful!

Wahoo Redux

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Re: Advice for 1st time book-length manuscript reviewer? (Humanities)
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 03:39:41 PM »
Thank you!  Very helpful!