Update from Just World Books

I realize I haven’t posted anything here since mid-April about the progress of my new book-publishing company, Just World Books. But the authors and I– along with a range of other contributors to the project– have all been pretty busy. So I’ll tell you all to watch out for busy Fall 2010 publishing schedule ahead.
First off the press will most likely be Laila El-Haddad’s book, which now has the fixed title Gaza Mom: Palestine, Politics, Parenting, and Everything In Between. The due date for that manuscript’s delivery is tomorrow, but because I’m such a huge softie I’ve given Laila two whole days of grace on delivering… So this Friday, it will be.
I can’t wait. I worked a little with a short excerpt that we’re using to try to persuade the right kind of person to write a Foreword– more on that, later. But I found even working with that short excerpt from the book to be incredibly moving… And that, even though I’d read all her blog posts and other essays at the time, when they first came out.
Somehow, having them strung together (and in forward-chrono order) made for an incredibly gripping narrative.
I think everyone who enjoys JWN will just love her book.
By the way, one of the many “background/administrative” things I’m doing right now re setting up the business and all its systems is, not surprisingly, to supervise the design and building of the Just World Books website. (Ably assisted by the continuing advice from my homegrown CTO.) The site is just a wee bit behind schedule right now. But no worry. It should be up within 3-4 weeks. Hey, by then I might even have a price and an ISBN for Laila’s book so that all the publishing info can be up on the site and y’all can start ordering.
But I don’t want to fix the price till I have a clearer idea of the page-length, so I do need to see the manuscript first. (It’ll have photos from her blog in it, too, which will complicate some of that length/price planning. Oh my. There is definitely more to this publishing business than meets the eye!)
Then in short order after Laila’s book we’ll have Book 1 from Chas Freeman, which will be on “Americans, Intelligence, and the Middle East”, Joshua Foust‘s very timely book that’s a critique of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, Book 2 from Chas Freeman, which is on “America, China, and the World”, and then Reidar Visser‘s book on “Iraq under Nuri al-Maliki, 2006-2010.” (I actually emailed Reidar today to ask what we should do if the Iraqi pols can’t agree on a new PM any time soon. Heck, it looks as if the current stalemate might go on for many, many more months… ) Plus, I’m planning a 25th anniversary reprint of my 1985 book on Lebanon, which I’ll be re-packaging under a new title along with my two longish Boston Review articles on Lebanon from 2005 and 2006, a little connecting text, and a brand-new Foreword by my esteemed, longtime friend Dr. Michael C. Hudson of Georgetown.
So that’ll be most of our Fall line-up. Then, I have two more authors who have already agreed to deliver manuscripts in late fall and January 2011, respectively. They are Rami Zurayk, who’s curating a book called “Food, Farming. and Freedom”, and Ron Mock, who’s a prof at George Fox University in Oregon, who’s publishing a more general (and traditionally constructed) book called “Pacifism Under Pressure” with us.
In addition, I’m in an advanced stage of contract discussions with a couple of other really intriguing bloggers, to do curated books from their blog; and I’m in an earlier stage of discussions around a number of other fabulous-looking projects, including not one but two great-looking atlases, a cookbook (on Gaza’s distinctive and fabulous cuisine, from Laila El-Haddad and a friend), a memoir, and a couple of ground-breaking edited volumes.
The first of those blogger-curated books mentioned above might come out this year. The rest of those projects will all be in the Spring 2011 or Fall 2011 lists.
Anyway, as you all may guess, as soon as the JWB website is up, you JWN readers will be the first to know… And I’ll really rely a lot on all of you to help spread the word about the JWB books as they start coming out.
I have to tell you, starting this business, planning the whole editing and publishing system and getting it into place, and nurturing all these projects along has been a heck of a lot of work– but a lot of fun, too! I’ve found and started working with an incredible bunch of other professionals who’ll also be contributing to the project… and I really think the English-speaking world is ready for these new discourse-expanding books!
Plus, did I mention yet that I’ve been looking into e-book publishing in a very serious way, and one of the things JWB will be doing is to publish fabulous, iPad-optimized e-books that will really build on all the strengths of the original, often web-published texts.
(By the way, I am also hoping to sell other-language rights, too. If any readers here want to enquire about terms for those, let me know.)