Thursday, January 21, 2010

Including Your Own Work in an Edited Collection?

It's been a year since I earned tenure, and I'm starting to think about the next big steps I want to take.  One thing I want to do is edit a collection of essays about the work of David Wojnarowicz, the artist I've been studying for a few years.  I realized that I don't really want to write a book about him because I don't really care what I think, but I'd love to know what other people think.  That's when the idea of a collection hit me.  I've co-edited a couple, so I certainly know how to do it.

Here's the question.  What do people think of editors who include their own work as a chapter?  Every once in awhile, I hear some criticize an editor for doing that.  I've often thought of it as a good thing.  It's the editor putting herself or himself out there just like the other chapter authors.  Also, I assume the editor has some passion for the subject, so it's cool to see what she or he has to say beyond the general introduction.  But maybe I'm in the minority?

Because here's the question.  As I create a call for submissions and take the time to let people write abstracts and essays, I've wondered if I should work on my own essay and send it to a journal or save it for the collection.  Anyone have thoughts?

This is going to start something of a series here.  I'm questioning where to best place my energy, so I'm exploring ideas and options.


  1. I think it's pretty much the status quo to do so. I just edited one where I didn't include one, and people kept asking me why not.

  2. I don't think there's anything wrong with including your own chapter. After all, your work will be read by an editor and external reviewers anyway.

  3. Well, I included my own in my collection, but honestly, I kept it around to see how the collection itself would shape up. It turned out we had many good submissions, but needed a couple more, at which point I decided to include mine. So you could wait until you have a ToC shaping up, and then decide on your collection vs. a journal submission.