I got to spend some time recently at Georgetown University’s Office of Scholarly and Literary Publications. Informally known as Booklab, it’s a “literary boutique” run by Carole Fungaroli Sargent, who combines a deep knowledge of publishing with an intuitive-and-informed sense of how writers work and what they need. An author herself, Carole also has a PhD in 18th-century literature. She gets what it means to be a writer and a scholar. She created Booklab to help Georgetown-based authors cope with the rigors of getting ideas into book form and out into the world. (She’ll work with non-Georgetown authors too, time permitting.)
Carole can help with the practical side of things–What should a good proposal contain? What does this contract language mean? How do I find a good indexer?–but she really encourages each author to think about the bigger picture: Why this book now? Why am I the best person to write it? What are its ideal “shelfmates”? How does it fit into my larger career? What does it have to say to the world? How can I build a platform for my ideas?
Booklab’s funded through the office of Jim O’Donnell, Georgetown’s provost, who summed up the prevailing attitude toward tenure and promotion this way: “We’ll drop you from the helicopter naked with a Bowie knife in the middle of the wilderness, and if you come back within seven years wearing animal skins and dragging an elk behind you, you get tenure.”
Read more about Booklab here.
FYI, Carole maintains an excellent blog about writing and publishing. Bookmark it now.