Pimp My Book Manuscript

From ’05 to ’09 my main research project concerned the Late Iron Age elite in Östergötland, one of historical Sweden’s core provinces. It’s Beowulf country, Beowulf centuries, Beowulf people: the resulting book manuscript is titled Mead-halls of the Eastern Geats. Elite Settlements and Political Geography AD 375-1000 in Östergötland, Sweden. The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters has now accepted the manuscript for publication in its main proceedings series whose first volume appeared in 1789, ”Handlingar, Antikvariska serien”. The list of colleagues who have published there before is awe-inspiring, and I am very pleased indeed.

Before the manuscript goes into production I must re-work it a bit as per suggestions by an academic referee. And while I do this, I would also be very grateful for comments, corrections and questions from Aard’s readers. Here’s the manuscript as I submitted it back in November (a ½ MB PDF file). Please have a look! And don’t be afraid to ask layman’s questions. I have been campaigning for accessible and comprehensible writing in my field for years, so I’d better measure up on that point.

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Comments

  1. #1 Sandgroper
    June 10, 2010

    A whole book???

    This could take a while.

    But meanwhile, it seems congratulations are once again in order.

  2. #2 Dave S
    June 10, 2010

    Hi Martin,

    congratulations on having your epic tome accepted. Are there really no maps or figures of sites or finds though? “A picture tells a thousand words” and all that…

    Dave

  3. #3 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    Many thanks, guys!

    There’s going to be lots and lots of pix and maps in the book. But I’m not doing any graphic design on the book myself, and I’m still finalising the text. The PDF is just a manuscript. Sorry.

  4. #4 Nick Williams
    June 10, 2010

    Congrats on having your submission accepted !!!

    I read the first page and noticed one slight error. Instead of bread boxes, you should say, bread basket, which is what you mean.

    “The Swedish province of Östergötland is one of Scandinavia’s bread baskets.

    It would be a shame to have such a mistake on the first line of the first page, when there are no others on the rest of the page and probbaly very few in the whole manuscript.

    Regards,

    Nick.

  5. #5 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    Thanks Nick! Fixed!

  6. #6 codero
    June 10, 2010

    I suspect this is idle nitpicking, but while you generally seem to prefer British spellings (e.g. rigour) you use the shorter American one for medi(a)eval.

  7. #7 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    In the case of that particular word, I believe the distinction no longer maps onto geography but onto degree of archaism. The spell checker for British English in Open Office accepts “Medieval”.

  8. #8 Sandgroper
    June 10, 2010

    Page 7, 4th line should read “Slaves were one kind of good” (singular).

    This could be slow – I understand why you have used pdf format, but it’s easier if we can just mark stuff on the manuscript in colour. Yeah, I could print it, mark it, scan it and email it – maybe I will if I find enough to make it worthwhile.

  9. #9 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    No need for positional references: just copy the erroneous bit to a document and add a corrected version. Then I’ll search for the erroneous snippet and find the place. Like so:

    “i am de durty liddle pinqwin” –> I am the dirty little penguin

  10. #10 J-Dog
    June 10, 2010

    I read the first couple of pages, and I have a couple of recommended changes…

    Do you want them in Word format, as an attachment, or should I mark up the manuscript, scan it, and attach it as a pdf doc back to you?

    If so, what is the preferred email address to send to you?

  11. #11 Sandgroper
    June 10, 2010

    Right.

    I haven’t actually found anything about penguins yet, but I’ll get to it.

  12. #12 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    J-dog, thanks! Just use the method that makes the least work for you and email it to martin dawt rundkvist att gmail dawt cawm, please.

  13. #13 Deborah
    June 10, 2010

    Hi. I’ve only been an occasional visitor to your delightful blog, but I’ve worked over 25 years as an editor of archeological publications, and I like Beowulf. I just read Chapter 1. Aside from what was already mentioned, I see:

    p. 5, para 4: societal constance > constancy (this is somewhat a matter of choice but I think it sounds better)
    p. 5, under header “Previous Work in Other Regions”: You have a plural subject in the first sentence of this paragraph, so you need to write “have been the subjects of”
    p. 5, same para: the period is missing after et al. on the Nielsen reference
    p. 6, para 1 (near the end): You don’t need two prepositions; “reported on in these pages” > “reported in these pages”

    Throughout I see many straight quotes and inverted commas (apostrophes) that ought to be curlies, but maybe this correction will be up to the typesetter.

    I’ll try to read more of it!

  14. #14 Martin R
    June 10, 2010

    Wow Deb, that is so kind of you!

  15. #15 Lars L
    June 10, 2010

    Hey, you got a bunch of very helpful editors out there!

  16. #16 CherryBomb
    June 11, 2010

    One way to produce a “polished” manuscript is to have it sand-blasted by your blog readers. If I get some time, I will take a look at it myself.

  17. #17 Astrofys
    June 12, 2010

    Some suggestions, hope they are useful even though they come from an astrophysicst :-).

    1. The Bibliography should not be a numbered chapter!

    2. Sections and subsections should be numbered, not just chapters. Helpful for references and for reader orientation.

    3. Sections and subsections should be in the content. Again it makes it easier fort he reader to orient himself/herself, and it can help an author to more easily see if ther organisation could be improved.

    4. The “Finds” lists (ex page 23). Nearly always begins with “From….” which makes it a bit tedious to read. I suggest that they should be reworked into tables instead. I suggest the headings could include Place, type (ex grave), style and description.

    5. Maybe, just maybe, at least some of the lists should be moved to the appendix.

    Question: Also, do you use Word, LaTEX or anything else for writing?

  18. #18 Sandgroper
    June 12, 2010

    Magnum opus.

    I have emailed a few comments.

  19. #19 Martin R
    June 12, 2010

    Thanks again, guys!

    Astrofys, you and I like numbered sections and subsections, natural scientists like them, but humanities people don’t. The boring finds lists are subsets of much more detailed lists in the appendices. You’re not supposed to read them. I use Open Office’s word processor, which squirted the PDF file out for me.

  20. #20 Jonathan Jarrett
    June 12, 2010

    Martin, congratulations on the placement of the book, that’s awesome. I’ll try and make some time to look over the MS: it won’t be till next weekend now, but I wanted to say ‘congratulations’ before then! Nice work.

  21. #21 Martin R
    June 12, 2010

    Thanks Jon!

  22. #22 Astrofys
    June 12, 2010

    And I thought you considered archaeology to be a science ;-) Have a nice weekend btw.

  23. #23 Deborah
    June 12, 2010

    Ch. 2
    p. 8, para 3
    hilly woodland > woodlands
    fertile plains orientated > oriented
    plains belt’s southern edge > southern edge of the plains belt

    p. 9, para 2
    sharp spatial inhomogeneities > spatial discontinuities (if you mean abrupt transitions, distinct boundaries)
    p. 9, final sentence, change to:
    “Thus, neither the harad nor the parish is relevant as we move into …”

  24. #24 Martin R
    June 13, 2010

    Astro, my use of the word “science” is coloured by the fact that the Swedish language treats natural science as a subset of a larger entity named vetenskap, “science”. The royal Academy is firmly humanist in its traditions, though I can probably get numbered sections if I want.

    Thanks again, Deb!

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