Upcoming Workshops for Individual Authors
In this 90-minute free Zoom workshop, we’ll cover:
- How a book is really different from a dissertation
- Steps you can take to finally get a handle on your “book argument”
- How to develop your “book voice” and eliminate dissertationese
In this 90-minute free Zoom workshop, we’ll cover:
- How to distill your book’s main claims and thread them throughout your chapters
- How your book’s organizing principle shapes its argument
- How to get a sense of your book’s narrative arc
Invite us for an Institutional or Conference Workshop
We are available to give workshops for faculty members about the book-writing process via Zoom or in person. Below, you will find a list of topics we are able to cover. Institutional workshops typically include one or two topics, but we are happy to tailor something to your specific needs and interests.
Book Questions, Chapter Answers: Practical Tools for Managing Your Book
How can you keep track of your book’s central argument when you’re in deep in the weeds of your chapters? In this workshop, we present a framework for understanding the relationship between an academic monograph’s core argument and the evidence discussed in its chapters. In a series of hands-on exercises, we demonstrate how to use this framework—two or three key questions, plus an answer to every question for every chapter—to distill your book’s most important priorities, articulate an argument, and align your book’s evidence with its claims. You will leave with a handout that outlines ways to use your book questions and chapter answers to evaluate your book’s organizing principle and narrative arc.
Eliminating Dissertation-ese: Tips for Writers of First Books
How can you make your book sound less like a dissertation? In this workshop, Allison offers practical advice for authors making the transition from dissertation to book manuscript, with an emphasis on where, how much, and how to cite other scholars’ work. Based on Allison’s experience as a developmental editor, she’ll explain why, although the work of revising the substance of the manuscript can be onerous, finding your “book voice” is often much more straightforward than many first-time authors imagine. The strategies you learn in this workshop will help you write and cite with confidence, even beyond your book.
Assembling and Revising Your Book Chapters Efficiently
Do you have some material for your book chapters (dissertation chapters, seminar papers, or even just research notes) but dread the actual act of “writing your chapter” or “revising” what you have into a solid first draft? How do you know what to cut and what to keep? Will this pile of notes ever turn into something publishers will accept? And, if so, how long will it actually take? The answer: much, much less time than you fear! In this workshop, we present the process of “assembling” a book chapter—a method that will allow you to generate a very rough but workable chapter draft in hours, not weeks or months. We then introduce revising principles you can use to transform this rough draft into your final chapter. The best part? These strategies work for journal articles, too! By taking this one workshop, you can save hundreds of hours across your academic career.
Find Your Narrative Arc: Strategies for Assessing Your Chapters
You may have heard advice to develop and emphasize your book’s “narrative arc.” What does that mean in practice? In this workshop, we walk through a series of playful exercises designed to help you reflect on what each chapter contributes to your book and how the chapters build on each other to tell a story. At the end of the workshop, we discuss ways to handle outlier chapters and background information. You will leave with a clearer understanding of how each chapter functions within the book and language to describe your narrative arc to editors, mentors, and peers.
Book Proposal Workshop
In this workshop, Allison breaks down the common elements of a book proposal and explains how to approach each one. Drawing on her experience as the editor of numerous successful book proposals, she demystifies the genre of the proposal and gives practical tips for writing the various sections. During the Q&A, she will answer questions about approaching editors, assembling the other components of the proposal package, and submitting the proposal. You will leave with a fuller understanding of book proposals in general, greater confidence about writing your own, and the option to set up an appointment with Allison to review your proposal draft in detail.
Q&A with Katelyn and Allison
In this open-ended workshop, Katelyn and Allison answer questions from faculty members about any aspect of writing and publishing a book: getting started, planning out the book, threading the argument through the book, establishing a sustainable writing process, working with an editor, writing a book proposal, contacting presses, and so on. We’ll be glad to tailor this session to the needs of the participants in any way you’d like.
Facilitated Dissertation-to-Book Workbook Experience (coming spring 2024)
In this facilitated workshop, which meets once a week for 6 weeks, we guide participants through Phase I of the Dissertation-to-Book Workbook. The workshop is designed for book authors who want practical steps, expert guidance, and peer support as they dive into the work of drafting a book manuscript. To benefit from the workshop, authors should have some of their ideas (substantial parts of at least 50% of their chapters) down on paper already in the form of dissertation chapters, notes, conference papers, journal articles, and so on. Via conversations and hands-on exercises, participants will evaluate their book’s scope and organizing principle, draft answerable research questions, produce chapter snapshots, describe their narrative arc, assemble an argument, identify what to cut and what to keep, and much more. This workshop requires participants to spend about 6 hours per week on writing exercises at their own pace outside the scheduled workshop time.