A Quick Check-In

I haven’t been quite sure what to do with this newsletter amidst our new pandemic reality. For one thing, I have a lot less time to work on it, with my two kids home. But I’m also not sure whether people want to distract themselves by thinking about writing and publishing, or whether continued newsletters in your inbox would feel like added pressure to “be productive” in ways that don’t make sense at all right now.

For now, then, just a few brief messages as a way of staying connected with you all:

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I’ve been reading books about writing and publishing as I gather a list of recommended readings to put at the end of my own book about book proposals. So far I’ve reviewed Eric Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style and Courtney Maum’s Before and After the Book Deal in this newsletter. I also read William Zinsser’s classic On Writing Well, which I don’t think I’ll be reviewing here but I have found useful as I revise my own manuscript. I recently received a review copy of Amitava Kumar’s Every Day I Write the Book from Duke University Press (shout out to publicists like, Laura Sell at Duke, who make review copies happen!). I don’t know if it’s quite the kind of writing book I prefer to read, but I’m giving it a shot. The cover copy compares it to Stephen King’s On Writing and Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life, so if you liked those books, you might want to check this one out.

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In reading the Zinsser, I picked out approximately 18 little nuggets of advice that hit home for me, either because I needed to be reminded of them for my own writing or because they back up things I frequently say to clients about their writing. I’ll be tweeting those sporadically over the next few weeks probably. Here’s a sample:

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While a lot of people have rightly thrown their academic book proposals out the window for the moment, I still want to be there for those who continue to work on them. I’m still planning to offer my Book Proposal Accelerator this May and June, since it’s all done remotely anyway (we were doing Zoom chats before it was cool). If you aren’t sure what the future will bring for you, but you know that you have a block of time right now to devote to progress on your proposal, get in touch. We can work out an arrangement for you to download all the proposal materials now so that you can take advantage of this time. Then you’d be welcome to join for the online forum and live Q&As in May and June. If this sounds like the right arrangement for you, go ahead and use the regular enrollment form, but put a little note somewhere in there about getting access to the materials early. We’ll make it work!

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That’s all for me right now. I said this would be quick and I usually try to keep my word!