THIS IS HOW IT STARTED – Step 5 on the path to my next book – planning to share my research through an academic article
It was my intention to publish my research in a top end academic article. I talked about this at my viva. My examiners gave me minor corrections to make my thesis strong. Minor corrections are quite common, you have done enough to be awarded the doctorate but you need to do some revisions.
It wasn’t the end. More hard work. I felt like giving up – having to go deep into some areas and on reflection if I hadn’t said about my publication ambition, I may have got off easier.
Finally, it was done and signed off and a few weeks later I was at Birkbeck for my graduation ceremony. That was sooner than I expected, I must have just got into the May 2022 ceremony. I was the second in my cohort to be awarded the doctorate and Hannah wasn’t able to come as she was living overseas. It was a wonderful experience and I look so happy. I was in my fancy cap amongst a room of mortarboards and got a great cheer as I walked across the front. We still weren’t shaking hands! Just walk across with a hand to tip my floppy hat!
Not much of a break after the ceremony. It was time to contact journals, I had a shortlist, I had an abstract … and then I found out you had to pay! I’ve had articles published in a couple of journals in the past, I didn’t get paid but nor was I charged.
The academic publishing model has changed. Many journals are open access, so free to read, but you pay to publish. That’s fine if you work at a University where the university covers the fees. I was looking at £2000 or more and it can take over a year to be published. Was this what I wanted?
I went to my wood, the place I go for reflection. I was clear I wanted to get my research out to as many people as possible. I’d already had 7 books published so why not go down that route. I had worked with Trotman, Harriman House, Icon books. Surely one of them would want to publish.
I was turned down from all of them. The book didn’t fit their current direction. I then had to identify publishers who would be interested. I approached three, and Routledge said yes. In mid-September I was given a contract to write Rethinking Retirement for Positive Ageing. The working title was Rethink Retirement (the same as my newsletter), my editor had suggested the change as we considered sub titles.
I went to Modern Elder Academy at Baja, Mexico for 2 weeks to plan out the book and get started. This was a retreat to take a break and enjoy the sea, the swimming, good food and for interesting conversations. I loved sitting, watching the sea with my notebook in hand. I came back to a lot of personal challenges, including a move of home, but writing my book was a priority. With my editor we agreed word count, chapters and then it was over to me. I had a March deadline and I was left to get on with it.
Tomorrow I’ll share how I set about writing my book based on academic research.