August is a rough month in academic publishing. The coeds are out of town, tenure committees lie in wait, and the professors return “from whatever villa in Italy they’ve been studying paintings at and start freaking out.”
Jason of Five O’Clock Bot and his coworkers have resorted to new measures:
Not the most stable of creatures, academics can literally go insane when their books (i.e. their children, their life’s passion, their life’s work), creep nearer and nearer to the point of publication. They excel at the grammar of passive-agressive behaviour, and their emails and phone calls to me can go from condescending to coddling to rigid demands within the space of a few phrases. They become, simultaneously, experts at marketing and cover design, but incapable of writing their acknowledgements, chasing up a missing permission, or reviewing their copyediting on time. . . .
This year, the collective state of academics has deteriorated to such an extent I felt it was necessary to adopt a color-coded chart of the various stages of an author’s freak-out, so that myself and the folks down in Production can better choreograph our response. Call it information-sharing, if you will. We’ve got a few authors who are pushing orange, so remain calm. Be vigilant, but try to go about your daily routines.