Launching a new Book Series

Early in 2015 I had the opportunity to work with  Associate Professor Terence Lee (Murdoch University) and put together the proposal for a new book series to be published by Rowman and Littlefield International. The series, Media, Culture and Communication in Asia-Pacific Societies, has been launched and we expect the first few titles later in 2016 or early 2017.

It was quite a steep learning curve and I am ever grateful for the opportunity (thanks Terence!). I am also glad to say so far, what I have seen of RLI series (all titles appear in hard, soft and digital copy at the same time) convince me the volumes to come will be affordable (soft copies are about $40), accessible and innovative. Before I get onto my soapbox, here’s the required proposal format if you’re thinking of submitting a proposal. Just send it through to me at susan.leong@curtin.edu.au.

I thought it worthwhile  also to say a little here about why we decided to focus on emerging scholarship. There is no doubt that an academic’s first book is always their hardest. Fresh post-qualification, wrung out and more often than not, under pressure to recoup income or opportunity loss made in the pursuit of postgraduate studies, pulling apart a thesis and rewriting it in an accessible fashion calls for a detached professionalism hard to come by. Yet it is my belief that research that makes a difference beyond academia has to be written in plain, simple English. Long words where they are appropriate but brief and clear sentences as far as possible when making complex arguments. This, in my opinion, is the hardest type of writing to accomplish, sparse prose rich with ideas.

I came to this after realising that the books that impacted me most as a researcher, all tended to be contained in slim volumes filled with years of reflection or (and this is crucial) the clear-eyed clarity of the fresh zealot-scholar. My personal favourites include Time and Being (Martin Heidegger), Modern Social Imaginaries (Charles Taylor), Imagined Communities (Benedict Anderson), Rhythmanalysis (Henri Lefebvre) and For Space (Doreen Massey). A person could read them over a few times and  be startled with insights on each occasion.

Personally I still struggle most days to write my way out of paragraph-sentences but just as I do with my students, I hope to encourage and help fellow researchers to write so the average person can also fall in love with our ideas. So, without being a zealot about it all, I want here to ask any one, newly conferred, mad with ideas or simply, looking to work with editors like myself to drop me a line if they think what they have in mind fits in with the series’ theme.