With red pen in hand, Glen Lindeman, editor in chief of WSU Press, flips through one of the new manuscripts stacked on his desk. Picturesque landscapes of the Northwest line the walls of his office and a collection of books is neatly filed in the bookcase next to him.
With a background in archaeology, history and environmental issues, this historian is right at home.
He earned a master’s degree in history from WSU and began writing and editing environmental reports for both the state and federal governments. Lindeman started working at the press in 1988 and has been the editor in chief since 1999.
All in a day’s work
WSU Press focuses its publishing on history, society, politics and culture of the Pacific Northwest. Each year, Lindeman sees about 150 manuscripts and selects five to 10 titles to publish.
While only a few make the cut, rejections are handled politely. Instead of mailing out a standardized rejection card, Lindeman writes a personal letter. This kind gesture maintains a good image for WSU, he said.
Lindeman sometimes offers an author advice. When the writing does not meet the focus of WSU Press, he recommends the author try a press that is more suited to the topic.
“I try to give people the best chance possible,” he said.
As a historian, he is quick to spot factual errors. WSU Press wants to maintain high quality, not just fill a quota, he said.
Lindeman is particularly proud of a handful of books on his shelf that he calls his special projects. These are usually manuscripts that have been turned down because they need extensive editing. But they show potential.
“The writing needs a lot of help, but I know the topic will do very well for the press,” he said.
Lindeman said a special-project manuscript typically will have a good topic with excellent research and engaging storyline. Working on weekends, holidays, and sometimes even his birthday, he rewrites and strengthens the entire manuscript for the author.
Only one or two of these special projects can be tackled each year, but book sales prove that it is worth his time. Some of the books have become best sellers.