Celebrate with us: it’s University Press Week! Today through Saturday, the fifth annual University Press Week will highlight the work and value of the 140+ members of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP). The University Press of Florida is a proud member of the AAUP, and we are excited to be participating. The theme of this year’s University Press Week is Community: “from the community of a discipline to a regional home and culture, from the shared discourse of a campus to a bookstore’s community of readers.”
In the spirit of community, a blog tour is taking place every day this week at university press blogs around the world. Today’s blog tour theme is The People in Your Neighborhood, so we thought we’d introduce you to some of our neighbors here at the University Press of Florida. Our readers, our authors, our indie booksellers, our sales representatives, our editorial board members, and our staff are all important members of our “neighborhood.” Without them, we would not be able to do what we do: publish high-quality books in a variety of subject areas including archaeology, anthropology, history, literature, Latin American studies, science and technology, art, photography, cooking, gardening, and sports.
We asked our neighbors some questions about UPF and about the university press community. We hope you’ll enjoy hearing from some of the many different people in our book publishing neighborhood.
Q: What’s your favorite UPF book?
I love Jeff Klinkenberg’s heartfelt observations and genuine passion for the real Florida. He admirably carries on the tradition of great Florida writing in the style of Al Burt.
Colorado Springs, CO
Lyn Millner leaves no detail out in her book about the Koreshans that settled in Estero. I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the site where the group settled, which is now a Florida state park. A very interesting account of the group and what Estero and FL were like at that time.
Punta Gorda, FL
I am proud of my Cracker heritage on both sides of my family!
—Kathleen von Balson
Bill Belleville writes of the true, real Florida, how we are losing it and what we might do to save it, if it’s not too late.
They are the most comprehensive plant guides to Florida.
Great information for those of us who live out of state and wanted to visit some local craft breweries on our trips to the area.
Q: What were the advantages of publishing your book with a university press?
I frequently tell colleagues how lucky I am to have been picked up not only by a university press, but specifically by UPF. I got one-on-one editing with Meredith, which made the book immeasurably better. And I’ll always remember the day (shortly after I received my first copies in the mail) that I received a letter from the press saying that the staff looked forward to marketing my book for years to come. I don’t think I would have gotten that commitment from a national house.
Lyn Millner is the author of The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet. She is associate professor of journalism at Florida Gulf Coast University. She has written and produced stories for NPR’s Morning Edition, the New York Times, USA Today, the Miami Herald, Oxford American, and others.
I write books about Florida art, and generally art that has not been brought to public attention. Our first book, The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters, launched a cultural phenomenon and has been reprinted just about yearly since its 2001 release. It was essential to me that the manuscript pass muster by scholars and, frankly, have the UPF imprimatur to add awareness that the art and the book has been carefully considered.
Gary Monroe is the author of several books including The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters and E. G. Barnhill: Florida Photographer, Adventurer, Entrepreneur. He is professor of fine arts and photography at Daytona State College.
One of the best things about working with a university press is the attention to detail that the press took concerning the text. Because of their input, I felt the level of my book was raised to greater heights than it would have otherwise been.
Byron Motley is the author of Embracing Cuba. His photographs have been published in the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Vanity Fair, and the Advocate.
Publishing my books Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture and Origins of the Dream through a university press gave the subject matter authority and creditably in both the academic and public spheres. UPF’s prestige as a leading figure in innovative studies of African American literature also brought these studies into the hands of important readers who are defining the field of English Studies. This press has another profound asset: it has also crossed over into the realm where the general public is invited into very accessible scholarship.
W. Jason Miller is the author of Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture and Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric. He is associate professor of English at North Carolina State University. During his research for Origins of the Dream, W. Jason Miller discovered a long-forgotten reel-to-reel tape of King’s first “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered in a high school gymnasium in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.
After three books published by UPF, the advantages of having published with this university press continue to accrue. Known for the diversity of its published titles, it was an honor for an untested author to be placed on the same bookshelf with their acclaimed academic scholar-authors in the sciences and humanities. As a result of the university press’s prestigious reputation in non-fiction publications, my first book won the annual book award of the Society of Architectural Historians, Southeast Chapter. I particularly enjoyed and benefited from the sense of being part of the university press family, and by extension, the excitement and challenges of the university campus community. My three books were richly embellished with color and black and white illustrations, made possible only with the talent, experience, and encouragement of the professional university press staff. They made it easy to be curious and to learn about the creative process of producing the finished book, a work of art and authentic history, from peer review to layout, and from cover design to marketing. Such advantages beg the question: Why would anyone want to publish elsewhere?
Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon is the author of several books including Walking St. Augustine: An Illustrated Guide and Pocket History to America’s Oldest City. She is an architectural historian living in St. Augustine.
Figuring out how to publish your first book is somewhat akin to sumo wrestling. It’s big, cumbersome, and fraught with an uncertain outcome.
On one fine spring day, my two year struggle down that uncertain and often confusing path ended at a luncheon meeting in Gainesville. Sitting across from me was a professional freelance editor. I told her I wanted perfection. She told me, “Well, for a Florida-themed book like yours, you really can’t go wrong with the University Press of Florida. They’re the best.”
My first book was published three years ago and my second book is due out in the spring of 2017. Perfection is what I wanted and perfection is what I got.
Bob H. Lee is the author of Backcountry Lawman: True Stories from a Florida Game Warden. He spent over three decades as a water patrol officer on the St. Johns River and a land patrol lieutenant in Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler counties. Before retiring in 2007, he taught man-tracking classes through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Q: What’s one thing you love about University Press of Florida books?
Quality! When we order from UPF we can be certain that content, quality and style have been considered in equal parts. Shrimp Country, for example, has been a recent best seller and the feedback from our customers has been terrific. Great photos, great recipes and a beautiful presentation that will wear well. Other favorites include Hidden Seminoles, Fourth Down in Dunbar and The Allure of Immortality.
MacIntosh Books & Paper, Sanibel, FL
UPF offers variety that showcases the Sunshine State in all its brilliance. Whether the arts, sciences, gardening or good ole Florida lore . . . UPF covers the bases. And speaking of bases . . . sports too! UPF is our ‘go-to’ on so many levels. UPF is certainly the mainstay of our local Florida section.
Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
UPF acquisitions folks have a sharp eye for trade titles and a knack for bringing them out at sellable prices. Keep it up.
Haslam’s Book Store, St. Petersburg, FL
Q: What’s your favorite thing about university press books?
My favorite book thing is probably the books on regional history that all my presses do. But what I like most about working for university presses is my relationships with the people who work for the presses. Having worked with university presses since 1988 I have formed working relationships and friendships that I cherish.
—David K Brown
University Marketing Group, New York, NY
University presses in my opinion offer a more interesting selection of books than one generally finds on a trade list.
Bob Rosenberg Group, San Francisco, CA
UPF Editorial Board
Q: Why do you enjoy serving on the UPF editorial board?
UPF is attracting the most thoughtful and engaged scholars on heritage, archaeology, and history, particularly for Florida, as well as publishing a wide-range of books offering new insights and syntheses that energize my teaching at New College of Florida.
Professor of Anthropology
Director of the New College Public Archaeology Lab
New College of Florida
Being a member of the UPF advisory board has helped me to appreciate the rich intellectual and cultural contributions of each of the institutions in Florida’s state university system and the authors and editors with whom we work. From dance to pottery to cooking and history and politics, the UPF portfolio offers a vast array of perspectives, methodologies, and approaches for understanding Florida and the world.
Associate Dean, College of Undergraduate Studies
Executive Director, Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning
Professor, Department of Writing and Rhetoric
University of Central Florida
It has been an enormous privilege to serve on the UPF board since its inception in the late 80s. To help select the finest publications along with extraordinary colleagues from our entire state system, has been the richest service in my career.
Professor of English
University of West Florida
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a part of the AAUP?
Connecting with other scholarly publishing professionals around the world.
—Lauren Phillips, Journals Manager
I love that AAUP members genuinely want others to succeed and competition doesn’t seem to split the community. We all see each other as colleagues, however far apart we are, and we’re all here for each other when another colleague needs advice.
—Samantha Zaboski, Publicist and Subsidiary Rights Coordinator
I’ve really appreciated the care and collegiality shown among staff at different AAUP-member presses, from welcoming those who are new to the university press world to sharing their best practices and tips and tricks. Members of AAUP celebrate the successes of all affiliated presses. It sometimes feels as if AAUP is one large house instead of over 140 separate ones.
—Rachel Doll, Advertising and Direct Mail Manager
My favorite thing about being part of AAUP is participating in a great line of mentors and mentees. No matter what part of the chain I’ve been in, I have learned so much from a lot of sharp (and usually very funny) people!
—Sian Hunter, Senior Acquisitions Editor
I love that the members of AAUP are invested in teaching newer professionals. Not just the conferences, sessions, and professional development webinars, but individual members are interested in teaching and helping junior staff develop their skills. I thoroughly enjoy being part of a community of professionals who love what they do enough to teach others how to do it.
—Stephanye Hunter, Assistant Acquisitions Editor
My favorite part is that I am a member of one of the most generous, helpful, and collegial organizations in America. Every member of AAUP values the mission-driven goals of our presses and everyone wants to see everyone succeed.
—Meredith Morris-Babb, Director
This week, follow the hashtag #ReadUp on Twitter to learn more about the university press community. We hope you’ll join us in celebrating University Press Week 2016.