An Embarrassment Of Books

This week I find myself promoting one forthcoming series of books I’m co-editing, another series which is underway but we’ve only just started the promo, a sole-authored second edition which will be out next month, and two co-authored books which will be out in January.

How did this happen, you may well ask? Let me explain. Three years ago Pat Thomson recruited me to co-edit the Insider Guides to Success in Academia, short books for Routledge. I also co-wrote the first in the series, Publishing From Your Doctoral Research, with Janet Salmons, and that was published last December. Now there are six books in the series, available to buy or for pre-order, with several more in the pipeline.

The other series happened much more quickly: it’s made up of the Policy Press innovative Rapid Response e-books which address issues raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. I wrote a post on this blog in May about research methods to consider using in a pandemic. My commissioning editor at Policy Press read the post and contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in editing a short e-book on the subject. I recruited Su-ming Khoo and we put out a call for chapters – and got 104 submissions, many of which were excellent. So now we’re co-editing three short e-books on Researching in the Age of COVID-19. Volume 1 is on Response and Reassessment, Volume 2 is on Care and Resilience, and Volume 3 is on Creativity and Ethics. Each book contains 11 chapters by researchers from around the world: UK to Tonga, South Africa to Peru, New Zealand to India. The e-books are very affordable at £6.99 (or equivalent) and best of all, until 31 August you can get a 50% discount on each book by emailing the address on the web page.

Then for most of last year I was working on three full-length books. The second edition of my book on Creative Research Methods has five new chapters and over 200 new references. That alone was a mammoth task – much bigger than I expected when I started work. And it was sole-authored, unlike all of the others where I had collaborators to help when the going got tough. This book is available for pre-order now and will be out next month.

Then I was also co-writing a book on Creative Writing for Social Research with Richard Phillips. He asked me to work on this in mid-2018, we co-facilitated a two-day workshop on the subject in November 2018, and began writing together in early 2019. It was a complex project, with workshop participants contributing short creative pieces of various kinds that we had to work into the book as examples while maintaining some level of coherence – though we drew on queer theory to underpin the importance of valuing an element of messiness. Our collaboration was an absolute joy and I cherished the opportunity to bring together two of my great loves, creative writing and social research.

The other book I was co-writing was Creative Research Methods in Education, with Narelle Lemon, Dawn Mannay and Megan McPherson. This was Narelle’s idea and she pitched it to me and Katy Vigurs, on a hot day in May 2017, when she was visiting the UK. We were keen and started work on it but Katy had to drop out for personal reasons and it took a while to regroup with new colleagues. The work got going again in mid-2019, exactly the wrong time for me because I was already working on two books and a series, but I wanted to work on this book too and I didn’t want to delay it further. So I gave up having weekends off and we got it all done. Luckily all three books were with the same publisher and the commissioning editor was hugely helpful in timetabling the projects so that, for example, I could work on one manuscript while another was being peer reviewed. I really do not advise working on three books at the same time but, if you have to, I recommend them all being with the same publisher. I think if it had been different publishers it would have been very much harder.

So there we are. After this lot I’m only working on two books, one co-edited and one sole-authored, and I’m not taking on anything else until those are done. Apart from anything else, I think I’ve written quite enough books for the time being!

This blog, and the monthly #CRMethodsChat on Twitter, is funded by my beloved patrons. It takes me at least one working day per month to post here each week and run the Twitterchat. At the time of writing I’m receiving funding from Patrons of $53 per month. If you think a day of my time is worth more than $53 – you can help! Ongoing support would be fantastic but you can also make a one-time donation through the PayPal button on this blog if that works better for you. Support from Patrons and donors also enables me to keep this blog ad-free. If you are not able to support me financially, please consider reviewing any of my books you have read – even a single-line review on Amazon or Goodreads is a huge help – or sharing a link to my work on social media. Thank you!

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