The Book Proposal Shortcut closes today

Hi Manuscript Workers,

This week I’m thinking of those who have been affected by Hurricane Ida, as well as all my friends and clients who are being forced to make impossible choices because their universities are not prioritizing their health and safety. It’s rough out there, and I’m sorry. My tiny contribution will be to donate 10% of the gross for my new online program to hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana.

That new program is the Book Proposal Shortcut for Busy Scholars. The Book Proposal Shortcut has two central aims: to demystify the process of pitching a book to an academic publisher and to walk you through that process with maximum efficiency, because I know time is not a resource you have a lot of right now. Along the way I hope to relieve some of your anxiety about the process too (because I know you have plenty of other things to be anxious about).

This newsletter will be taking next week off for Labor Day and then returning the following week for its regularly scheduled programming. But I want to take one last post to answer any lingering questions people might have about the Shortcut program before enrollment closes tonight. If this isn’t relevant information for you, go ahead and archive this email now and I’ll see you in a couple weeks!


How long will it take me to write my proposal using the Shortcut?

The core material in the Shortcut will take you two hours or less to read or listen to (the twelve modules are provided in both written and audio formats and each is about 10 minutes long). Adding in the time it takes you to write the components that each module will have you write, I think you could get through the entire program in a week or two and at least produce a great first draft. Conversely, you could spend an hour or two per week working on each module and get to a ready-to-pitch proposal over the course of a full semester. Basically, it’s up to you how long you want to spend, but if you’re in a hurry, this is the fastest way I know of to get a proposal done.

Will the Shortcut help me if I’m working on my second book / not working on a revised dissertation?

Absolutely. There’s very little in the program that’s specific to first books or dissertation revisions. One of the most valuable things about the program (in my opinion) is the sense of structure it brings to the project of writing a proposal and preparing to pitch it to publishers, and that structure is equally useful to later-career scholars as it is to first-time authors.

Should I do the program before I finish my dissertation?

Hypothetically, you could sign up for the Shortcut before finishing your dissertation. But, while it’s good to learn about what scholarly book publishing entails (and the Shortcut will teach you that for sure), it’s also helpful to have some distance from the dissertation before conceptualizing the book. Check out this article if you’re still working on your dissertation or just finished it. If you just finished your diss and are ready to start thinking about the book, I think it would be fine to plan on slowly working your way through the Shortcut, but it may not be the best use of your time and money right now. You might be better off just reading The Book Proposal Book for now and doing one of my programs a few months down the road.

How would taking this course be different from reading The Book Proposal Book on my own?

Both The Book Proposal Book and the Book Proposal Shortcut will give you helpful context about the publishing process and provide a step-by-step structure for completing and pitching a proposal. The key differences are:

  • The Shortcut isolates the need-to-know information so you can jump right in on the actual work without getting too distracted. You can get through the Shortcut material more quickly than you can get through the entire book.

  • The Shortcut uses an online platform to deliver the content and will also track your progress for you as you complete each module. This format just feels more motivating for some people than a handbook does.

  • The Shortcut includes exclusive fillable Google spreadsheets to help you organize your work.

  • The Shortcut includes three additional sample proposals from my actual clients not published in The Book Proposal Book, plus my own proposal and response to peer reviews for you to use as inspiration. I plan to add more sample documents as I receive permission from additional clients.

The Book Proposal Book would make great accompanying reading for the Book Proposal Shortcut, but you can complete the Shortcut without reading the book at all.

How is this course different from the Book Proposal Accelerator?

The Book Proposal Shortcut is completely self-paced and does not include an interactive component. Because of the labor involved in running the Accelerator, I'm only able to offer that program twice a year and I have to limit enrollment numbers to keep it manageable. The Accelerator involves sharing work with the group, daily feedback, and weekly live Q&A sessions (next year I’m thinking of adding co-working sessions too). These are all great things and work fabulously for some people's needs. On the other hand, some people prefer to work alone, don't want feedback, and don't need another Zoom appointment to show up to or feel guilty about missing. The Shortcut can be accessed any time and there's no pressure to complete the modules by a particular date.

Can I sign up for the Shortcut now and also do the Accelerator next time you offer it?

Yes! You’re welcome to work through the Shortcut on your own and then use the Accelerator to get interactive feedback at a later time. The curriculum for the Shortcut and the Accelerator are identical — the Accelerator just adds the interactive components listed above. Because demand for the Accelerator is so high, I’m sorry that I can’t offer discounts on the Accelerator for people who have previously completed the Shortcut.

What if I complete the program and still have questions about book proposals or how to interact with editors about my project?

People who enroll in the Shortcut will receive invitations to live Q&A sessions that I hold periodically throughout the year. The next two sessions will be on October 1 and December 3, 2021, at 10am Pacific. These sessions are only open to Shortcut enrollees and past participants in my Book Proposal Accelerator, and any questions you have about your proposal or any aspect of the academic publishing process are fair game to ask during the sessions. (I’m not able to give individual feedback on proposal drafts.)

How much does it cost?

Because this is the first time I’m offering the Shortcut, the price is discounted. It’s currently $295 for people who don’t have institutional funding to support their enrollment and $345 for people who do have funding. I will be gathering feedback from the initial group of enrollees and updating the program before opening it again in January 2022. The price will go up to $325/$375 at that point. Any updates made later will be rolled out to the initial group too, so you won’t miss out if you get in early.

Can I have my institution pay for the program directly?

Yes. You can register for the Shortcut using an institutional credit card (or have your department admin register you). The platform I use for the program does charge state and country taxes in some cases, so if you need a tax-exempt invoice, please get in touch with me directly so I can process your payment through a different platform. You can email me at laura@manuscriptworks.com.

What if I want to do the program eventually but I’m not ready to start yet?

If you’ll be ready any time between now and January, go ahead and sign up now. You can access the material whenever you’re ready. If you’d rather wait until I reopen enrollment in 2022, just make sure you’re subscribed to this newsletter so you receive announcements about the next enrollment period.

Any questions I didn’t cover here? Reply to this email and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

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