Sunday, October 04, 2009

38 University Presses at MLA 2009

Wow. I've been to great university press events before, such as the Association of American University Presses convention in Philadelphia last June, but it is still so exciting to count 38 university presses that will be represented at MLA in December. Some of my four readers will yawn and say it's not such a big deal, university presses are always there, but this is the first time I've approached MLA with quite this focus.

When you go to a university press booth, whom do you meet? As nice as it would be to fantasize that the editors are sitting there all day every day waiting to talk about books with whomever strolls up, that isn't the case. Editors will be in and out depending on the value of the conference to their publishing area, and whether or not they have pre-arranged business with booth visitors.

I will contact all 38 university presses during the month of October (2 per day for 19 days) and ask the following key questions: who will be at your booth in December; how do you prefer to interact with potential faculty authors; what do you want us to understand about your booth ahead of time (i.e. what materials/people do you send to a conference and why); and (big picture question) what is the meaning of conference representation for your press? How do conferences help the press?

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