Patricia Crosby, acquisitions editor for University of Hawaii Press, shows off some of the books she has helped publish.

Getting paid to
buy books

Question: How long have you been at UH Press?

Answer: Oh my, 21 years. Who'd have thought?

Who: Patricia Crosby

Title: Executive editor and acquisitions editor, University of Hawaii Press

Job: Manages UH Press' editorial department and acquires and evaluates manuscripts and proposals for scholarly books of regional interest

Pat Crosby is both executive editor in the UH Press' seven-employee editorial department and one of its four acquisitions editors, who select manuscripts to be turned into books. Her specialty is East Asian studies, reflecting her academic background of a bachelor's degree in Asian studies from the University of Colorado, a master's in Asian studies from UH, and doctoral studies in Japanese history at UH. A graduate of Laramie High School in Wyoming, Crosby, 57, says she fell in love with the book-editing process while working as a freelance copy editor in graduate school.

Q: What was your first job there?

A: I've always been an acquisitions editor. I was lucky. I came in at a fairly high level because they needed somebody to come in an edit a series of Japanese-language textbooks.

Q: How many manuscripts do you read a year?

A: I do an annual report every year and I'd say we look at about 900 proposals between us. That doesn't mean we read them all, heaven's no. Many of them aren't appropriate for our audience, so it doesn't take much to know that.

Q: How many books actually get published?

A: Last year we did 88 books.

Q: Are the writers mostly from Hawaii?

A: By no means. In fact, the vast majority are from elsewhere. We publish broadly in Asian studies, so they come from all over. The books about Hawaii tend to come more from local authors.

Q: How do you decide which ones are worthy for publication?

A: First you look at the subject matter. Then you look at how the author treats that subject, either theoretically or thematically. Then you look at the citations.

My view is you can write an interesting book on any topic, or you can write a boring book. So you're looking for how does an author deal with a particular topic. If we feel the manuscript is good enough in those general terms, then we send it to someone who has expertise in the matter (for further review).

Q: Somebody from UH?

A: Sometimes, but again, we draw on people internationally.

Q: Once a manuscript is accepted for publication, who actually edits it?

A: Generally there are two rounds of revisions that have to be done, both by the external readers and the house editors, who look at it to make sure that it's readable and well organized. The author revises in response to that.

Then when the final manuscript comes in, the copy editors carefully read it --and you can't underrate a good copy editor.

Q: What's a title that was recently approved for publication?

A: "Final Days: Japanese Culture and Choice at the End of Life," by Susan Long. She's a professor of anthropology and sociology at John Carroll University in Ohio.

Q: Do you ever read books for pleasure?

A: I read all the time. Yeah, I love to read.



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