ETC Press Singles Proposal and Guide

In keeping with the mission of the ETC Press to engage in a vigorous dialogue with scholars, practitioners, and the general public by publishing a timely, well-researched, and thoughtful analysis of the most relevant and exciting topics in the entertainment technology sector, we’re excited to announce our new publishing venture: Singles.

We call these “why it matters” books. Singles give authors a chance to take academic research,  practical case studies, or keynotes and other talks, and bring them to a wider audience.

The ideal single is written by an expert who has an idea they want to explain but who isn’t interested in (or ready to write) a book-length project. In other words, Singles are akin to novellas in fiction or chapbooks in poetry. They exist somewhere between a long New Yorker article and a concise book, or roughly 8,000-25,000 words. (But the length can — and does — vary.)

Here are three examples of Singles the ETC Press has published.

  • Wikipedia Knows Nothing: A scholarly take on the knowledge in Wikipedia;
  • Creative Chaos: A short book adapted from a talk given by Dr. Drew Davidson, the
    Entertainment Technology Center’s director.
  • Frankenstein’s Legacy: A series of “as told to” discussions about the impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning on our world

Elements of a Single

A strong Single will be authoritative in substance, but casual in writing style. We expect these Singles to have a basis in scholarly, creative, or practical research, but these aren’t academic journal articles. Instead, the Single is meant to bring that knowledge and authority to a wider audience.

As such, Single authors should:

  • Write in the first-person
  • Address the central thesis for a general audience
  • Focus on the impact of the thesis or idea for a general audience

Single authors should not:

  • Use a great number of in-text citations, footnotes, or endnotes
  • Focus on literature review, methodology, or findings
  • Include a great number of charts, equations, and tables. (Stephen Hawking’s editor once famously said about A Brief History of Time that the scientist would halve his audience with every equation he used. Only one equation — E = mc^2 — appears in the book.)

Well Played Single

In conjunction with the ETC Press Singles initiative, Well Played is going to support Singles as well. While the Well Played Journal continues to release calls for participation for thematically cohesive issues on a regular basis, Well Played Singles can be proposed and submitted at any time.

There are three elements of a Well Played Singles:

  1. Focus on a specific game
  2. Through a rigorous in-depth analysis of the gameplay experience
  3. While also articulating why the game is important and matters to the field and culture at large.

Authors interested in proposing a Well Played Single should follow ETC Press Submission Guidelines and Well Played Style Guide and submit a brief proposal first, and then once approved, write and submit a Single for review, edits, and publication.

Contributors are encouraged:

  • To provide a historical and cultural context for the game and analyze sequences in a game in detail;
  • In order to illustrate and interpret how the various components of a game can come together to create a fulfilling playing experience unique to this medium; and
  • They should they should articulate why the game is important and highlights the value of games.

Please note, singles aren’t long academic research papers, you don’t need to do a literature review or detailed methodology overview. These can be included in an appendix, but Well Played Singlesise about the experience and importance of playing games.

As with the three Well Played books and journal issues, the term “well played” is being used in two senses. On the one hand, well played is to games as well read is to books. So, a person who reads books a lot is “well read” and a person who plays games a lot is “well played.” On the other hand, well played as in well done. So, a hand of poker can be “well played” by a person, and a game can be “well played” by the development team.

Contributors are encouraged to look at video games through both senses of “well played.” So, with well played as in well read, contributors are looking closely at the experience of playing a game. And with well played as in well done, contributors are looking at a game in terms of how well it is designed and developed.

Video games are a complex medium that merits careful interpretation and insightful analysis. By inviting contributors to submit singles that look closely at video games and the experience of playing them and their importance and value in our culture, we hope to expand the discussion, and show how games are well played in a variety of ways.

Pitching Your Single

If you have an idea that you think might fit, please send ETC Press Editor Brad King an email.