Post Academic


A publishing how-to: Tips from Stacey Pierson, Ph.D. (Part 2)

"Chinese Ceramics book cover" (Courtesy of Stacey Pierson)

Yesterday, Stacey Pierson–Lecturer (= Asst Prof in the U.S.) at SOAS in London, eminent researcher in Chinese ceramics, and the author of 2 books–described her experiences of getting her books in print, from pitching a project to drafting and editing a manuscript to the overlooked aspects of promoting the final product.  For part 2, we continue discussing what it takes to get published and ask her to don her editor’s hat to explain to us the other side of the publishing enterprise.

Post Academic: What are some tips you can give young scholars trying to get past the mental block of transforming a dissertation manuscript into a book, as someone who’s done this before?

Stacey Pierson: Beyond my personal experience, I think new writers working on their first academic book might find the actual writing process difficult because with your dissertation (if you are lucky as I was) you generally receive a lot of feedback and guidance along the way and it is sometimes quite difficult to do this on your own for the first time. At least the dissertation comes with a readymade topic, so the next difficult hurdle is, of course, coming up with a fresh idea that will be publishable and substantial enough to enhance your CV or, if you are lucky enough to get such a job, your tenure dossier. One way forward is to read as much as possible in your area to keep up with what work is already in progress and to mine your dissertation research for areas which you had to put aside but thought at the time had potential.

The interview continues below the fold…

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A publishing how-to: Tips from Stacey Pierson, Ph.D. (Part 1)

Stacey Pierson is Lecturer (which translates to Assistant Professor here in the States) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, specializing in Chinese Ceramics and Museum Studies.  She is also the one-time curator of the prestigious Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, and I imagine she could also probably work as a junior archeologist, ace appraiser, and Chinese translator, if she wanted to!

"Chinese Ceramics book cover" (Courtesy of Stacey Pierson)

But, for our purposes here at Post Academic, it’s her experiences as a published author of two books–Chinese Ceramics: A Design History (V&A, 2009) and Collectors, Collections and Museums: the Field of Chinese Ceramics in Britain, 1560-1960 (Peter Lang, 2007)–and her current post as the Editor of the journal Transactions of the Oriental Ceramics Society that we’re most interested in.  Over the next few days, Dr. Pierson will be sharing her insights on academic publishing from her multiple perspectives as a scholar, writer, and editor.  Today, she tells us about the process of pitching a book proposal, converting a diss manuscript into a book, and writing for multiple audiences–all of which she juggled at the same time.

Post Academic: Can you tell us about the process you went through in publishing your books, from the initial drafting of the manuscript to pitching it to publishers to the production of the book?

Stacey Pierson: My first book was essentially my dissertation, which was already written, so I initially researched academic publishers who include my subject area in their list, Chinese art history. After doing this, and discovering that most have detailed instructions on how to approach them and write a proposal, I sent out an initial proposal to a very prestigious publisher, for the experience mainly.

The interview continues below the fold

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