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Everything wrong with publishing: Kara Rota of Chicago Review Press

Monday 7/4/22

Chicago Review Press is a mid-level press in, as one would expect, Chicago. They have an editor named Kara Rota who acquires music books. I offered her Just Like Them: A Piece by Piece Guide to Becoming the Ultimate Thinking Person's Beatles Fan. What do we have here? We have the world's leading authority on the Beatles. I don't think there is anyone who knows their stuff, who would put that in much dispute. You have someone known for hearing the Beatles as no one else does. And certainly writing about them as no one does, in terms of the quality of the ideas and their freshness, and the prose, which is often cited as a kind of literature. The way I look at this book is the Beatles as literature, and literature as the Beatles. Smart tag line, too. This person also has a large Beatles following. People look to him to see what he says. He doesn't just write Beatles pieces in prominent venue after venue, he writes Beatles op-eds in the highest circulation newspapers in the country. He is a lightning rod, but even when there is controversy--and he's pretty much the only person who doesn't treat the Beatles as an exercise in gushy nostalgia--he makes people think.


Within seconds of opening the email with the attached manuscript--which of course would sell, for all of the reasons mentioned above, and requires little work to get it to final form--Kara Rota sent me the email you see below within seconds. She didn't even look at the book, never mind read it. How do I know this? Let's just say that in this instance, I had means of knowing. She is lying, and this is obviously discrimination. This is a bigot who is telling someone this for reasons that have nothing to do with the truth. It's not about fit, it's not about quality of work, marketability, track record, prospective audience. Here's something neat/ironic/damning, too: Chicago Review Press publishes Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties. This isn't a new book, so it's not a competition issue. Beatles people, though, will recognize the MacDonald work as a core text. It's also the rare Beatles book that can be critical of the band's work. Chicago Review Press is an obvious fit for Just Like Them, and they should be excited to have that opportunity knock on the door, but that changes, when one deals with a bigot like Kara Rota.


Now, someone out there might think, "I hate this person because he is everything I am not, and I'd really love to discriminate against him, but I see how that works out for people when they interact with him and try and do just that, and he knocks them right the hell down and exposes them for what they are. I don't want to be that Raluca Albu--people are still laughing at her." Conversely, people will take the approach of not interacting, thinking that they will be able to discriminate against me that way and be protected--get away with it, as it were. How has that worked out for William Staley of The New York Times Magazine and Claire Boyle of McSweeney's? There is one thing you can do here that is going to work out for you: don't discriminate against me. Treat the work as it deserves to be treated. It might take me a little longer to get to some people, but they will be gotten to. This is also pretty funny: Chicago Review Press bills itself as "cutting-edge."



On 06/05/2022 5:21 PM Kara Rota <krota@chicagoreviewpress.com> wrote:

Thank you so much for thinking of me and CRP on this project. Ultimately, I'm going to have to step aside as it's just not quite a fit for our list, but truly appreciate the opportunity to consider! all best, Kara



You didn't even look at it. You sent this to me within seconds of opening the email. Are you this discriminatory?