Papers and Publication-Volume 3

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By , September 15, 2014 11:40 am

The third digital volume of Papers and Publications has been launched and is available to read here (http://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/). We’ve begun designing hard copies; based on past experience, we hope to have them for sale by the end of September, if not sooner. This year marked our first creative piece (a poem, “Ageless”), as well as continued growth; we had more submissions than ever before. We hope to say that again next year, with help from any undergrads reading this. Publication is very helpful to anyone looking for a career in academia after graduation, or a wide variety of other professional spheres; especially if your dream job requires further education after your undergraduate years, you’re likely to benefit from publishing your research and hard work for your peers to read. Help us by submitting, so that we can help you by publishing, so that we can both help the world with new information and ideas!

It definitely isn’t too early to be thinking about next year’s volume. We haven’t set submission deadline yet, but it should open around the spring semester (somewhere between late December and the middle of January). Especially for those of you who’re currently in the middle of your upper-level classes, start looking at the research projects ahead of you. Can you present them in a way that meets our requirements? Can you work with a faculty mentor to refine your paper (something we recommend anyway; professor-student mentorship is a tradition in academia for a reason)? Do you like the idea of other professionals in your field critiquing, discussing, and hopefully someday citing your hard work? Have a look at our submission guidelines (http://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/aimsandscope.html) and start planning in advance. Even if your capstone course (the source of many of our articles) isn’t until next spring, you can still proceed with this in mind. We allow recent graduates a full year to submit their work, so long as it was written while they were undergraduates. If you can’t meet the deadline for volume 4 in 2015, why not aim for volume 5 in 2016?

To conclude, undergraduate publication can pave the way for future success. We try to guide students and recent graduates through the process, to educate you, to help academic publication seem a little less intimidating. It’s a big job, but not quite as big as you might think, and it can be very rewarding. Your career may require it later on (especially if you want to become a professor yourself, get familiar with the phrase “publish or perish”). Even if it doesn’t, you can still probably benefit, and even if you don’t, the world is always a better place with a little more knowledge in it. Besides, you’ll spend a lot of time and energy on your capstone papers. Why not go a bit further so that someone besides you and your professor can appreciate it?

Dahlonega Lit Fest & UNG Chili Cookoff

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By , March 20, 2014 9:40 am

Last week was a fun, busy week for the University Press of North Georgia. Our managing editor, April, wore four different hats at the 2014 Dahloenga Literary Festival which took place on March 8 and 9. She not only attended the festival and represented the press at our vendor booth, she also gave a mini-workshop on preparing your manuscript for submission and was one of the festival organizers.

That following Tuesday was the UNG Staff Council Chili Cookoff. April participated, representing the Press. And though she didn’t win, it was an absolutely gorgeous day and fun was had by all.

The Unfortunate Numbers

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By , December 5, 2013 3:30 pm

Disclaimer: The opinions below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the University Press of North Georgia College. They belong solely to the author.

There are no guidelines or dos and don’ts for writing about what three hundred years of euphemisms and a whole academic/political machinery still can’t quite figure out how to face head-on. We know this: the publishing world is overwhelmingly white. Writers of color puzzle over rejection letters that say things like, “Great writing and story but I didn’t identify with the main character.”

Daniel José Older, “Another World Waits: Towards an Anti-Oppressive SFF,” Apex Magazine issue 55.

I don’t see a problem here.

No, I really don’t. It all comes down to some Pew poll numbers from a year or so back.

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See that “Mean Number of Books Read” column? Go to the rows which break it down by race:

White (non-Hispanic)                                     19

Black (non-Hispanic)                                      12

Hispanic                                                               11

So let me get this straight. Not only do whites constitute the majority of the general population, but they also read about 40% more books per person per year. What do you really expect to see?

In fact, let me do some number crunching to prove the point even more. If you take the total size of each demographic and multiply it by the number of books that group will read, you wind up with the total market size for each demographic.

White:                  78% of 314 million times 19 books per person per year:                  4.6 billion

Hispanic:              17% of 314 million times 11 books per person per year:                 590 million

Black:                    13% of 314 million times 12 books per person per year:                  490 million

All demographic numbers taken from Census.gov.

Of course these figures will wildly differ from new book sales. I’m sure an astute reader will have realized these figures lack several minorities and still total to 108%. The census figures—unlike the Pew numbers—count biracial as both races. Because the counting methods don’t match, regard the final figures as approximations.

But still, adjusted for how much interest in books these groups have, the white market is more than four times larger than the Latino and African American markets combined. That’s no approximate difference.

The problem is not the publishers, but that the minorities have cultures of non-literacy. Can they read? Almost to a one, yes. America’s literacy rate is one of the world’s highest. Unfortunately, the numbers tell us that, for these minorities, reading is not that fulfilling for them.

I actually find this conclusion more depressing than if the publishing industry were somehow biased. At least then the problem would be controllable—perhaps even fixable—but a culture of not reading? I don’t have a clue how to even start fixing that. Worse: it’s everybody’s problem. It shrinks the market for publishers, and means we will hear fewer author voices overall, never mind where they hail from.

Visiting Author Rundown

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By , November 13, 2013 11:14 am

The Visiting Author book signing on November 8th was a wild success, as over 80 people packed into Dahlonega Starbuck’s lounge to hear the poetry. Each of our visiting authors read several of their works, some in English, some in Spanish as Dr. Gordon E. McNeer read his translations.

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Eighty people is quite a few.

 

Benjamín Prado read from Shelter from the Storm, selecting several of the poems, including “Call my Life Bob Dylan” “Shelter from the Storm”  “Siete preguntas para Kurt Cobain/Seven Questions for Kurt Cobain,” to honor the men he views as his inspirations and guides.

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From left to right: Fernando Valverde, Andrea Cote, Dr. Gordon McNeer, and Benjamín Prado.

Fernando Valverde then took the stage and read his poems “Sueño/Dream,” “El Largo/Lake,” and “Celia” from Eyes of the Pelican.

Finally, Andrea Cote Botero read several of her poems in Poetry Facing Uncertainty:  “La Merienda/The Snack,” “Puerto Quebrado/Broken Port,” and “Desierto/Desert.”

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Graphic Fidelity

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By , November 7, 2013 3:52 pm

Always read the numbers behind a graph because sometimes the best intentions can make for one skewed visual. Recently, when I was meandering through the publishing blogs, I came across an article by Charlene Brusso, arguing that women authors are underrepresented in Science Fiction–or, as people prone to brevity call it, SF–citing how women authors have consistently written fewer than fifteen of SF’s top 100 titles since 2004. It makes for some impressively depressing figures.

The numbers look dire for women authors. But how bad are they? To tell, I would need to know if women actually published that much SF. I didn’t find that information, but I did find this article from Strange Horizons. And I noticed something odd about the bottom line for Locus Books.

US Locus

Taken from Strange Horizons “The 2012 SF Count”

Huh. That’s odd: The overall numbers on the far left aren’t actually that bad, as men and women are only a few percent off (which would be a bad thing in light of Brusso’s numbers) but then again, maybe it’s not so bad, as women are easily the minority in the SF chart. But then why does the chart overall—all five bars—have noticeably more red than blue? In fact, just eyeballing the figures I come to the conclusion that chart as a whole is about 65% red, a fair bit off from the 55% figure the overall bar gives us when taken alone. Ah, we’ll come back to that. Moving on to the UK figures.

UK Locus

Taken from Strange Horizons “The 2012 SF Count”

Whoa! There is no doubt something’s going on here. The overall figures are notably uneven, but it’s still about a 35-65 split, but summing up all five bars again, less than 25% of the graph overall represents women. The overall visual impression the graph leaves you with is about 10% misleading.

So what’s going on here? The answer is in the numbers.  The overall bar for the UK represented 363 authors, while the Unknown bar represented only one. That one author commands over a fifth of the overall coloration of the graph, despite representing only one book of more than three hundred and fifty.  The same thing is true with the American graph, albeit to a lesser extent, as the Unknown bar there represents only nine books and authors. Meanwhile the (many) women who publish in the fantasy subgenre are, again, underrepresented in the graph because fantasy is the largest subgenre in both markets.

Is this malicious manipulation? Almost certainly not. Percentile comparisons are easily the best way to compare the representation, and subgenre is also a great way to classify that representation. It’s just when visually displayed like this the combination winds up exaggerating matters.

So what does this mean for sexism in publishing? I really can’t tell you. The original article I linked to is mostly about review and top sales slots specifically in SF, and when you draw a circle around SF on these graphs it becomes obvious women are under-represented there. On the other hand, as women have a commanding majority within American Fantasy, it could be that there’s just less interest by women in SF. I just don’t know. This is just a reminder to always be skeptical of information, especially if you’re inclined to agree with it.

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