While I have been working to write more stylishly since first reading Sword, I see this process as a lifelong journey. Sword also shares stories about the places in which she writes, and the people she writes with.
Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy
In that spirit, I wrote this blog post in various ways and venues. I made hand written notes on the bus, jotted down notes in emails to myself, let things dwell in the subconscious a while, and then pulled it all together in Word. For you, it may be a completely different set of conditions. What emotions do you feel about your writing? Disclaimer: I have met Helen and am an admirer of her work, but purchased the book from my own funds and was not solicited to write this review.
Thanks Amani! Yes — I was thrilled to be in the index bucketlist. In my opinion, if you are seriously interested in improving your writing — or teaching others, this book is an essential buy.
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Did you do the quiz? Let us know in the comments section. Other books by Helen Sword if you buy these using the link your purchase supports the Whisperer.
Writing a Successful Academic Book Proposal
Stylish Academic Writing. Critical thinking — the hardest doctoral skill of all? Will my children be damaged by my PhD? Fabulous post: thanks so much. Thank you! What a timely post for me as I am writing my thesis daily with about nine months to go. I like the idea of writing as artisan practice and the role of emotions.
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My emotions are a mix and range from panic to a sense of achievement — all in an hour! I resist the idea of set ways to write and I often let ideas percolate. In the past I viewed daydreaming as procrastination but now realise it is time well spent. To control anxiety I set a daily word count and this seems to help me. That you so much for bringing Helen and her work to my attention.
Kind regards, Judith PhD student.
Journal of Scholarly Publishing
This looks brilliant Inger! The Harvard site says in Australia you need to get a local bookstore to order it in through footprints site. Do you know of anyone stocking it? Ordered as a gift to myself…. Any bookstore should be able to order it for you within two weeks, if it is in stock with the supplier. I am a pebble — which is probably fairly accurate — I struggle to get going, I dont like what I write, and I am isolated.
Thanks for this engaging review of a useful and insightful book. Removed it from the library shelf here…. I came out as a hang glider! Oops, sorry about that and thanks for picking it up. Inger, are you able to relink to a non Sydney Uni library version? Does this book have figures or diagrams in it?
My kindle is ancient and only displays text, hence the original question. However the hard copy is nicely done — a nice cover, layout, font etc. A rock for me! This is well written review with good insights. Enjoyed reading it, but I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. On top of this, improvements in the ease of communication and increased globalization have made it possible to collaborate with authors from around the world to bring their work to press.
For many of us, it may be too late or otherwise ill-advised to switch from formal theory to political geography or anthropology, but there are many things one can do to increase the chances of publication, nonetheless. Make a Memorable, Even Controversial, Argument. Books that make a controversial argument on a topic that has gained considerable attention in the media do very well. In it, the author argued that the development statistics tend to be based on government accounting, and many developing countries in Africa, for instance, do not have the resources to generate reliable numbers.
Widen the Scope of the Argument. This should not be surprising, and dovetails with the above point. This is tricky, of course, as authors should not be overselling their evidence. This can be a tough tightrope to walk. Strip out the Academic Jargon and Simplify!
How To Write a Successful Academic Book (Tips from an Academic Editor)
With presses seeking to broaden their audiences in hopes of covering the costs of publishing the book , academic jargon can be the kiss of death in terms of book sales. As academic disciplines increasingly specialize, it may be that only a handful of specialists can read books using certain niche nomenclatures. Of those who can read this jargon, only a subset of them will choose to do so—and a smaller subset of these will actually be willing to spend cash on your book. For this reason, book editors often urge authors to avoid as much academic jargon as possible. Promote Your Argument and the Book.
Once you are published, your book may do better in sales and scholarly impact when you are actively involved in promoting the book.
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We live in the age of connectivity and social networks, and the authors who promote their books on social media, through blogging, through writing op-eds in various journals and newspapers that promote the book help the sales and reputation of their book considerably. Presses do not require this of their authors, but it is a win-win for the press, the author, and for the book itself, which consequently gets far more readers. We are entering largely unchartered territory with ever increasing pressures on academic presses to turn a profit and with declining sales of print copies of academic books.