If your schedule follows the academic calendar, you’re probably in the throes of finals and grading at the moment. You might be eager to get back to work on your own writing and publishing projects (or you might be fearing what awaits you when you re-open that file you haven’t had time to look at in 3 months). If your to-do list includes an introduction chapter, an overview of your book project, or a response to reader reports, I’m here to help you make progress on them in an un-scary way. Enter, the template.
I always give this caveat about templates, but I’m going to do it again: for me, templates aren't about one-size-fits-all formulas, they're about just starting somewhere. I like them because they give you a structure on the page when you have no idea where to begin or when what you've begun with is such a mess that you can't see the forest for the trees anymore. I don't think most people want to be told what to write or what rules they have to follow. That's not how I work with my clients. I do think people want to know the norms that some people observe so they can make an informed choice to adhere to, deviate from, or modify them. That’s what my templates are meant to provide.
Anyhow, here are three templates I’ve developed over the course of working with scholarly authors on their books and book proposals. I hope you’ll find them helpful as a place to begin. (If you’re not quite ready to work on your book project at the moment, you can put “re-read Laura’s template email” at the top of your winter break to-do list, and then you’ll have something you can easily cross off right away to get the momentum going. I hope you’ll also enjoy an actual break when you’re semester’s over too.)
And here’s a bonus template for those of you planning syllabi for next semester. You can share it with your students! I’m told it actually works.
Because I like templates so much, I have a few more in the works. I get a lot of requests for a template for book conclusions, so that’s on my to-do list for… someday. Participants in my online book proposal accelerator get access to a template for letters of inquiry to scholarly publishers. And I’m currently working on a template for chapter summaries that will be appearing in the handbook I’m writing about scholarly book proposals. (I hope to have some news to share about that book very soon!)
There are a few weeks left to get in on the January session of the book proposal accelerator. I will likely not be offering it again until Summer 2020, so if you’re planning to work on a book proposal in the first half of the year, this is the session for you. I will provide a schedule that will guide you through crafting a proposal draft from start to finish if you want to spend your January weekdays on it, but you are also welcome to just join for the moral support and Q&A in January, and then use the provided materials to work on your proposal over the course of the spring semester. Totally up to you! Tell your friends!