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Abby Freeland's Essay

At West Virginia University Press, I hold two positions. I am the sales and marketing director of all books and the acquisitions editor of Vandalia Press, our fiction imprint.

As the sales and marketing director, I work to make our books available and accessible to the public. My responsibilities revolve around discoverability and include things like developing metadata for booksellers, wholesalers, and libraries, managing national and international sales representatives and accounts with our distribution center, developing relationships with members of the media to secure reviews, and designing materials, whether online or in print, to promote our books to different audiences.

Without this position at a university press—or any publisher, for that matter—you might publish a book, but no one could read it.

As the acquisitions editor of Vandalia Press, I evaluate proposals and manuscripts and then work with writers until their material is polished enough to present to our Board for final approval to publish. In this position, I am a champion of writers and an advocate of literary and academic publishing within our region and the world.

Without acquisitions editors, you could write a book and decide to publish it on your own, but your final product might suffer because it lacks peer and professional analysis and criticism.

Because I’m comprehensively involved in the entire publishing process, I’m constantly moving between and among ideas that directly relate to our society. To me, this is what makes the university press a fundamental part of academe. A university press turns our history, culture, literature, and science into permanent artifacts through the publishing process and then makes it all accessible to the public.

The books that university presses publish connect us to each other in the present, yet they also help us remember the past and look toward the future. With that mission, the university press is the university’s partner. It makes the invaluable work accomplished within the academy visible and accessible outside its own walls. 

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