The theme of University Press Week 2022 is Next UP, reflecting university presses' constant spirit of learning, adaptation and evolution. On Monday, November 14, the Association of University Presses asks "Who's Next UP?"
#nextup at mip: becky Straple-Sovers
At Medieval Institute Publications, I suppose that's, well... me! My name is Becky Straple-Sovers, and while I'm not new to MIP—I worked at the press as a student worker during my Ph.D. program for about seven years—I am a new staff member, having started as MIP's Marketing Specialist in January 2022. I graduated with a Ph.D. in English from Western Michigan University in 2021 after writing a dissertation titled "Movement and Meaning in Early Medieval England: The Kinesic Style of Old English Saints' Lives." Working for MIP was a perfect next step for me, since the press's focus on premodern studies means I get to stay deeply engaged with scholarship in my field. I also have a history in publishing: I received a B.A. in Publishing Studies from Illinois State University (where I also majored in dance performance!) and have worked in a variety of publishing contexts since 2008, including as an intern at a small press, a technical writer and marketing assistant at a publishing distribution house, a freelance copyeditor, and more.
MIP is a small university press, so all the staff members do multiple jobs. Along with running our marketing efforts, I also maintain our website, manage our peer review processes, coordinate digital distribution and registration of DOIs, handle exam or review copies, manage our journal subscriptions and take care of lots of what we like to call "administrivia," like wrangling spreadsheets, scheduling meetings, training student workers and more. Every day is different!
Some of the best things about working at MIP are: a) working with my colleagues at the press and the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, who are a wonderful group of humans; b) the chance to stay connected with the educational mission of the Medieval Institute and to work with students, even if I'm not teaching courses; c) the creative side of the job, in which I have a ton of fun designing graphics for catalogs, advertisements and social media and writing content for blogs and newsletters; and d) working with our authors and learning about their projects and research, which are giving me a much broader view of the Middle Ages than I would have had even as a traditional academic and faculty member!
I look forward to many more conversations with our authors, partners, and readers as the Marketing Specialist at MIP. Please feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions about one of our books, about publishing with us, or about marketing ideas!