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Author Topic: On The Edwin Mellen Press  (Read 61880 times)
menelatar
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« on: June 10, 2011, 11:30:07 PM »

Hi there:

I am having a book published with the Edwin Mellen Press.

My question/comment. I am having a heck of a problem with these guys losing stuff I have sent and shifting formatting requirements.

Has anyone (other than me) had a hard time with this particular publisher?

An example: I have sent a sample formatted page and it was "blessed" by the publisher. Further, I followed all requirements I was sent. I worked closely with their guys as to what was required, mechanically speaking,  for the mss. Now, new formatting requirements--in this case font, pagination, etc that were blessed are now all "wrong" when a few weeks ago they were "right"-- were set and I now have to go about changing things.

This is getting frustrating....

Do these guys have a bad reputation for changing requirements mid-stream? Or am I just a dope? 8)
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aandsdean
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 11:36:40 PM »

They have a bad reputation, period.  Sorry to say.
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hegemony
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 6:27:43 AM »

Have you looked for previous threads on Mellen?  There are a lot of posts.

Publishing with them will hurt your CV if you're on a research career track.  If you just want your book out there and were turned down everywhere else, I guess Mellen might be an option, assuming you have tenure or the equivalent, and/or that your university counts books by Mellen.  I assume you've checked?

From the books of theirs I've seen, I didn't realize they had any formatting standards at all.  Do report further on your process if you decide to stay with them. 
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 3:36:04 PM »

OP, yes, please use the search function to retrieve the many, many prior threads on Edwin Mellen.  It is regarded by many, perhaps most, in the USA and Canada as little more than a vanity press that just happens to target academics.  If you are in a tenure-track position or at some future point hope to be, this is almost certainly a very bad step to be taking.
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llanfair
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 7:00:39 PM »

I was approached at Massive Conference by not one but two Edwin Mellen editors.  One of them even wanted me to believe my dissertation could be published as is, without any alterations.  I thought this all sounded too good to be true, and of course it is.  Colleagues confirmed what YT says.
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litdawg
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 8:19:51 PM »

Their business model must be working. I was just at a major national literature conference, and they had a table at the book fair with two staffers adorned with yellow and blue "Acquisition Editor" flak jackets. They can't make their money off of book sales.
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maocat7
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 2:44:04 PM »

I will step up here and admit that I've published with Mellen.  As evidenced by this forum, they do not have a good reputation, although I disagree with the "vanity press" label.  In my particular case, I was able to publish a niche piece of scholarship that would have never seen the light of day anywhere else.  They suggested several changes and never charged a dime.  I was happy to get my work out in a relatively short period of time as opposed to waiting 9 months just to get a "decline to review" from a bigshot journal whose editor just publishes the work of his cronies and people who fit with his intellectual bent.  Later, I was kicked in the teeth for having the book at the top of my vitae, I've subsequently removed it as my peer reviewed articles are a more acceptable indicator of my scholarship.  Fortunately, I have enough other scholarship out there I don't worry too much about the poor reputation of the press.  I don't regret publishing there, but probably would have done something different knowing what I know now.  I am at an R2 school and while they may consider it, among a host of other factors for tenure, but I certainly would not want to go up for tenure with a Mellen book and little else and it's obviously not going to help me get a job anywhere else.  But again, I just wanted to get a some scholarship out there that no one else would have touched.

As far as your frustrations with the formatting, you are just going to have to suck it up.  They use "camera-ready" copy meaning what you give to them is what will be printed in the book.  I had to go through a couple of rounds with them to get things right. The look of the book itself is pretty ugly.

Good luck
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prytania3
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 3:37:45 PM »

You know, at this point for the OP, it's water under the bridge, so all we can really say is Mazel tov.
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llanfair
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 4:48:51 PM »

You know, at this point for the OP, it's water under the bridge, so all we can really say is Mazel tov.

This is true.  Congratulations to the OP on publishing!
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hegemony
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 5:17:15 PM »

Menelatar and Maocat, I'd be interested in the press's procedure -- did they send the manuscript out for review?  Did they request any changes?
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2011, 5:27:12 PM »

You know, at this point for the OP, it's water under the bridge, so all we can really say is Mazel tov.

And, as Maocat7 points out, there is a place for what is almost self-publishing (but without the cost to you) for manuscripts that fill a tiny niche but are worth having in print for the people or libraries that buy them. I believe I own three. One was given to me by a doctoral student for whom I'd served as volunteer outside reader because the largely-bibliographical project on a very obscure journal edited by a turn of the century innovative thinker (aka nutcase) recorded some sources worth knowing about, and I pull it off the shelf every few years to find something I want to use or to recommend to someone else. The other two came to me as an outside tenure evaluator for people at colleges very few people have heard of (one public, one private) and in both cases I could make a case for the value of that book for someone in that field at that school without compromising my sense of academic reality, though neither candidate was going to get a job elsewhere on the basis of the work in the Mellen book. Again, however, both had some value simply for providing a record of the material treated, even though neither was going to be read by more than 50 people or so.

Having read Hegemony's post on the "while you were typing . . . you may wish to review your post" message, I'd add that all of three of these books had an introduction written by a person whose name I at least recognized (though not a big name). I had the impression that soliciting a brief introduction by a reputable scholar was one of the press's requirements for the author, but not that any of these people had actually been outside readers of the manuscript, though I could be wrong. So I'll be interested in the answers by Menelatar and Maocat too.
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maocat7
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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 5:08:19 PM »

Mellen did have the work "reviewed" from a list of scholars I selected, but it was hardly the "double blind" peer review university presses require.  I was also asked to make some editorial changes and revise two chapters.  There was some substantive feedback on the scholarship, but it was not rigorous.  IMO it is clearly above a self-publish or vanity press, but certainly nowhere near the level of a university press.  My R2 basically counted the 250+ page work as an "invited book chapter."

Menelatar:  Congratulations on finishing a book manuscript, it is a worthy achievement.  Please don't let your formating troubles or this discussion demoralize you, but be realistic too.  While there may be variations in how it "counts" I think there is a consensus that it is not on the same level of books at a university press.

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runwithscissors
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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2011, 8:17:32 PM »

Maocat7 and OP, I was wondering what made you choose EMP in the first place. Was it a chance meeting at a conference, or were you specifically looking for a press for a specialized work?

My general thinking on the issue is that if the work is that specialized, why not divide the good bits into journal articles and thus disseminate it more broadly than the 50 or so readers garnered from an EMP book. This would seem preferable to me than going for a press that at best, is largely ignored due to EMP's lack of selling power to large numbers of university libraries, and at worst forces you to carry the lead weight of "couldn't get published with a university press" around your neck. I realize that is a harsh comment, and I do not wish to offend. I just fail to see what kind of niche this type of press fills, if the object of the academic game is to both disseminate scholarship to the widest possible audience and to gain accolades for being such a clever clogs (excuse my British colloquialism).
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slack
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« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2011, 10:22:23 PM »

I was approached at Massive Conference by not one but two Edwin Mellen editors.  One of them even wanted me to believe my dissertation could be published as is, without any alterations.  I thought this all sounded too good to be true, and of course it is.  Colleagues confirmed what YT says: vanity press all the way.

I was offered a contract with only a dissertation proposal in hand.  They said I would have to get my advisor to write an introduction. 

At the time, I was at a conference and wanted to practice "pitching" my idea to an editor.  I was in grad school and didn't know who they were or anything about the book publishing process. At one point they handed me a clipboard and a pen to sign my name. 

I pretended my cell phone was buzzing and walked away.
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maocat7
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 12:18:25 PM »

runwithscissors:  For me I sought out EMP after a friend of mine published a ms with them that would not be well accepted in my discipline.  At the time, I was somewhat naive about book publishing, probably due to inadequate professional grooming at grad school.  Anyway, the book was based around two articles, stemming from years of research, that were rejected a sum total of five times as "not being a good fit" with the journal (I never got a substantive critique on my work or suggestions as to where else to submit).  I didn't know where else to go with scholarship as I felt it was important enough to get out, but had grown frustrated with waiting a year to find out that the journal that seemed like a good fit gave me a "decline to review."  So I pretty much lunged when EMP told me they'd publish with minor changes.

I have since grown very disillusioned with my particular discipline for it's inability to embrace creativity, innovative research and change in general.  Obviously a work with EMP is not going to reorient a field, but I had grown tired of trying to get through crusty gatekeepers who are more committed to their own world views than novel research.  I'm probably not that great of a scholar either (no worries on the EMP bashing), if the economy wasn't so bad I'd seek employment outside of the academy, in the meantime I stuck trying to survive publishing otherwise decent scholarship in inferior outlets.
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