“I hope you can find a way to make it clear SB is ‘your’ press and will remain so,” Ted Savas said to me this week. Ted, the managing partner of Savas Beatie, LLC, has been Emerging Civil War’s publisher for three and a half years. He and I were talking about ECW’s collaboration with Southern Illinois University Press about the new Engaging the Civil War Series, announced on Tuesday.
For some folks, that might seem to be an eyebrow-raiser: Is ECW leaving Savas Beatie?
Folks inside the publishing world recognize that a commercial publisher like Savas Beatie and an academic publisher like Southern Illinois University Press are two different beasts.
We’ve had a wonderful, rich relationship with Savas Beatie since the release of our first Emerging Civil War Series book in December 2012, Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg. Since then, the series has expanded to seventeen titles (with more to come this spring!), and we have another dozen books at various stages of development.
Beyond that, several of us at ECW have published longer, more in-depth military history studies with Savas Beatie. Kris White, Eric Wittenberg, Dave Powell, and I have all had fantastic personal experiences with Ted and his company.
And, of course, ECW and Savas Beatie recently announced an extension of our partnership with the forthcoming Emerging Revolutionary War Era Series, coming in 2017.
So, we have PLENTY yet to do with Savas Beatie! Trust me, ECW’s relationship with Savas Beatie is the equivalent of a full-fledged “man crush.”
Why establish a relationship with a different press, then?
Several of us at ECW are academics and, alas, that often means publishing in peer-reviewed publications. A number of “blind” readers review manuscripts and offer anonymous feedback, and then authors have to revise their pieces based on that feedback. Manuscripts can go through several rounds of this before finally being approved—a process that can sometimes take years but which is designed to rigorously and objectively test ideas. Commercial presses use a different process for evaluating manuscripts that often rely on editorial expertise and, yes, market considerations. (Academics often sneer at that idea!)
Of the many great academic presses out there, Southern Illinois University Press seemed to be an especially nice fit because they have a great catalogue of books and a dynamic editorial team that shared our vision for making history as accessible as possible. They, like us, want to bring Civil War scholarship out of the academy and out to the front lines.
Engaging the Civil War, then, offers us one more vehicle for our many writers to do the kinds of writing that best helps their individual careers. It also allows us to attract additional writers who might not have the professional luxury to write for a commercial press or (gasp!) a blog, but who might otherwise be able to do some of that if they’re also getting an opportunity to some “scholarly” writing, too.
So, yes, both types of publishers publish books, but the types of books and the processes involved in producing them are two separate things entirely. We’re glad to help bring our readers the best of both worlds–and with SIUP and Savas Beatie, readers truly are getting THE best.
We’ve had a bunch of other questions from folks today….
Q: Are you breaking your partnership with Savas Beatie?
A: No. As we stated above, that relationship is alive, happy, and in good standing.
Q: Is the Engaging the Civil War Series the same as the Emerging Civil War Series?
A: No. The Engaging the Civil War Series will be based around academic research. Each book will be fully cited, peer reviewed, and hard bound. The writing will take a public history approach, meaning that each volume will strive to be very readable (unlike a lot of other academic scholarship).
The books in the Emerging Civil War Series are also reader friendly, but are not peer reviewed. Citations are available online, rather than in the volume. Finally, the Emerging Civil War Series is an introductory series to the Civil War, battles, leaders, etc…. The Engaging the Civil War Series will be in-depth studies, biographies, essay collections, and more.
Q: How many titles can we expect to be released each year?
A: The goal is to release 2 to 3 titles per year.
Q: What are some of the goals of the series?
A: To help bridge the gap between academic and public history, which, at times, can be very large. We are striving to marry the two schools of thought, so that the reader, and history field in general, can engage with new and thought-provoking works.
We also want to make history both readable and enjoyable. History is storytelling, research, and interpretation, all rolled into one. Bringing those three elements together in a cohesive fashion will be job one.
Q: Is there a formal submission process?
A: Yes. Proposals will need to be laid out in a format that will be laid out on our Submissions Guidelines page in the next few days. All submissions will be vetted by the series editors, as well as the seven-member advisory board.
Q: Is the series only open to Emerging Civil War authors?
A: No. Non-ECW authors are free to submit titles for consideration.
Q: Do you have titles in development already?
A: Yes. We already have two manuscripts submitted for review. We also have four more projects at various points of the submission and approval process.
Please feel free to contact us with any additional questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.