Book Editing, Part Four

I’m now on Day 3 of responding to the reviewer report on my book manuscript. It hasn’t gotten any easier, but there’s no choice but to keep going.

Despite the centrality of “genre” genre theory is missing completely. In addition, the first half introduces manga genres as demographically defined; the second half switches to thematic genres without explanation.

Genre theory is beyond the scope of this project. Jennifer Prough has already written a great book about this, and I discuss it in the introduction.

The concept of “shōjo” is taken for granted, its historical transformation overlooked.

A historical analysis of the sociopolitical concept of female adolescence is beyond the scope of this project. Deborah Shamoon has already written a great book about this, and I discuss it in the introduction.

The differences between Japanese and North American manga culture call for consideration (regarding identity politics and queer baiting, but also different relevance of Hagio Moto etc.).

A comparative analysis of manga cultures is beyond the scope of this project. Casey Brienza has already written a great book about this, and I discuss it in the introduction.

It remains unclear why manga is given the main role: because of the greater relevance of gendered genres in manga as distinct from anime and video games?

A comparative analysis of all forms of popular media that have ever existed is beyond the scope of this project.

I’m writing about manga because I’m talking about fan cultures, and there’s a huge international community of people in the world who have been inspired by manga to draw their own comics. A book about independent video games or independent animation would be an entirely different book. I do spend a fair amount of time discussing the interconnectedness of various types of media, but I do so in relation to specific works and forums of cultural production, not in an abstract and general sense, which is not the purpose of this project.

None of these comments are helpful, as they’re too general and vague to serve as a recommendation or strategy for revising the manuscript. There could be two things going on here. The first possibility is that the reviewer has a perfect book that they’ve written entirely in their mind, and they’re upset that a book that someone else has actually written on paper doesn’t conform to what they would have written if they actually wrote something. The second possibility is that the reviewer never intended for the author to see their comments, but my first editor sent them to me anyway because he knew he would be resigning from his position at Palgrave at the end of that very workday.

Either way, it doesn’t feel productive to have to respond to any of this, and I wish I could spend my time incorporating useful feedback into the manuscript instead.