Signing a Book Contract

For a more personal post, I signed my first book contract last week. It’s both thrilling and scary at the same time. Last year, I was invited to write the third edition of the Archival Fundamental Series Providing Reference and Access Services for Archives and Manuscripts. I was honored to be asked and am very excited to work with series editor Peter Wosh and Publications Editor Chris Prom.

While in library school, and even in my history PhD program, the idea of writing a book seemed to be what other people did. It wasn’t necessarily in my plans. After I finished my dissertation, there was a glimmer of that possibility. Having more or less finished a book in dissertation format, it seemed achievable. And now I have the chance!

I have to explain the thrilling and scary parts of this. It is thrilling because in the past few years, I realize how much I enjoy writing. Archival scholarship is interesting to me and I’m constantly impressed by books and articles I read. Authors dedicate an incredible amount of time to share their insights and practices. I was excited when Archivaria published my article a couple years ago. This will be much different than writing a dissertation, as I’m writing about what I know and do nearly every day and exploring published scholarship to add to my knowledge and ensure comprehensiveness. I love the archives world and am grateful I can contribute to scholarship.

The project is scary as well. I have a schedule and deadlines, and 300 pages to write. I have an outline and a good starting point, but it’s a bit overwhelming as well. I want to make sure that this is a usable manual for archivists at any level, any type of institution. I want it to be helpful. Plus, people will read it and use it. I had no delusions while writing my dissertation that few people other than my committee and my dear English professor friend (who corrected grammar and such) would read it. The AFS book has much more at stake. I have great support, both from SAA and colleagues.

This project is a welcome challenge, and I look forward to the process. And I will post more as I progress to share the difficulties, accomplishments, and any other thoughts. Writing is hard, but I’m up to the challenge!

5 thoughts on “Signing a Book Contract

  1. I love your transparency in this post! Your thoughts are genuine and encouraging. I know the writing journey you are about to begin will be extremely rewarding and will help advance the archival profession greatly. I look forward to reading more about your progress.


  2. Congratulations Cheryl! I hope you will continue to post about the challenges and joys of writing a book. A friend asked me yesterday if I thought writing a book was in my future. I hope to, one day, but for now I’m just mastering writing shorter articles!


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