I have recently had the pleasure of exchanging some emails with Mark Goodacre (Duke) who is the series editor for the Library of New Testament Studies under T & T Clark (Continuum, London). T & T Clark has very wisely offered a helpful website dedicated to offering potential authors information on the series. See HERE.
Mark has agreed to answer some key questions about the series and provide some pointers for potential authors. Thanks Mark! May LNTS prosper for many years to come!
NKG: As editor of the Library of New Testament Studies (T & T Clark, Continuum), why do you think LNTS is a first-rate monograph series?
MG: Well, our official blurb says that “All the many and diverse aspects
of New Testament study are represented and promoted, including
innovative work from historical perspectives, studies using
social-scientific and literary theory, and developing theological,
cultural and contextual approaches”
(http://ntgateway.biblia.com/LNTS/). What that is trying to get at is
that quality is the key. We throw the net wide in terms of the topics
covered, the methods employed, the comparative material chosen. I
like the fact that we publish monographs from a large range of
international scholars, from those right at the beginning of their
careers to senior and well known figures in the guild. There is a
good balance of people from all over the globe, though the majority
inevitably comes from the USA, Canada and the UK.
NKG: Do you have an idea of the rate of acceptance of manuscript submissions?
MG: I would have to check with Dominic Mattos at T & T Clark to get the
details, but my impression is that we reject more than half of what we
are offered. Of course the process works differently if one is an
established scholar with several strong books to one’s name over
against a newly qualified PhD.
NKG: Is there something that a potential author can do to put himself/herself in the best position to get published with LNTS?
MG: Yes, write something of high quality! Seriously, the key thing is
that we want the best work. In order to be published, the work has to
be of first class quality. That’s the key thing. I never want any
reader to pick up an LNTS volume and think, “Why on earth did they
publish *this*?”! But there are also, of course, practical things
that one can do, like being efficient and co-operative in
correspondence and and manuscript preparation. A detailed publication
proposal form at the beginning of the process is very helpful to us.
If it is thin and gives us a lot to do to work out what is going on with
the manuscript, that can delay things.
NKG: I know that when a manuscript is submitted, it goes out to an expert reader who assesses it. Do you have a set of names on a list or do you approach whoever may be a reasonable choice for the topic (whether or not they have read for LNTS before)? If he or she gives feedback, is that to the effect of mandatory corrections/changes or ‘recommended’ changes?
MG: We have an editorial board made up of a range of experts and these are
always the first port of call, as far as possible. Each member of the
board acts in an advisory capacity and they will often read
manuscripts. These people are the unsung heroes of LNTS because they
give a lot of their time to the series. They have a feel for what
works and what does not work, and they are a great help to me. And
several members of the board work extra hard and will have an even
greater reward in heaven. However, many of our manuscripts of course
go to those outside the board. As the editor, the decision is usually
mine about where the manuscript goes. We never send out the entire
manuscript “cold”; we always approach people first and discuss it with
them. This is one of the reasons that the publication proposal form
is so important. The person chosen will always have some kind of
expertise in the specific area or methodology dealt with in the
NKG: Some publishers or series have the mindset: a published thesis should be as close to the phd thesis as possible (i.e., only correct the ‘mistakes’, make few global/structural changes). Others take a ‘a monograph is a higher standard and is different from a phd thesis’ approach. Where does LNTS (traditionally?) fall on this matter?
MG: I think we are somewhere in the middle of these too extremes. The
series has changed a bit over the years. As the JSNTSS (Journal for
the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series), volumes were often
quite close to the PhD thesis. That can still be the case but
regularly people revise and improve their PhDs for publication. One
of the ways that people do this is through cutting extraneous material
of the kind that might be appropriate in a PhD (e.g. appendices and
massive, bibliographical footnotes) but is not necessary in the
published version. When you are writing your PhD, there is an extent
to which you have to show your examiners your “workings”. In the
published version, you include what you need to include to make your
case. We have a word-limit of 80,000 which, in my experience, has
greatly improved many manuscripts over the lengthy, 100,000 or more
word versions that were first submitted.
As I am currently researching and learning more about publishers and thier monograph series, I would like to blog about my experience and also the information I am gathering. I aim to have a page on my blog (see above) which will have information on the top 4-6 monograph publishers for New Testament.
Open invitation: I would like to do two case studies per series, hearing (probably anonymously) from individuals who have published their theses with a major series. Please contact me (nijay.gupta[At]dur.ac.uk) if you are willing to serve as a case study. NOTE: I am wanting people with positive experiences (I am not out to make any pubs upset!). If I am having trouble getting responses, I will be contacting individuals myself. A case study will involve a brief discussion of why you chose that publisher, how you went about getting your thesis ready for publication with them, and what things you liked about your experience with them. I am OK with factual comments that may appear negative (‘by policy they do not….’), but I do not wish to have severely critical discussions.
So, please contact me. If you absolutely don’t want to be anonymous (i.e. you love the pub and you want to be their poster child) you can leave a comment here or on the monograph series page above saying you wish to be a case study.
BTW – I am especially interested in LNTS, WUNT II, BZNW, SNTSMS, and NovTSup.
Thanks for your help!