Punctuation, other stylistic rules: obstacle or opportunity?

Punctuation, and other stylistic rules, with all their exceptions and apparently arbitrary forms, can seem like a massive obstacle to writing. If you’re unsure of punctuation (which is reasonable, given all the conflicting opinions on punctuation), the rules are more than a nuisance; they conspire to break into the writerly flow with their demands for figuring out, for example, where to put a comma. Punctuation and other rules are enemies to many writers. Certainly most of us don’t enjoy reading Strunk and White or the massive style manuals that define proper writing style in many academic fields.

20 Ways to get published in an academic environment

Money, establishing tenure and a passion for ideas are just a few of the many primary and secondary motives for publishing, said sociologist Mark Schneider and linguist Joan Friedenberg, both of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Many of these motives, they said, can be fulfilled by different types of academic publishing. They have come up with 20 ways to get published in an academic environment. They are:

10 Marketing tips and strategies for textbook authors

When authors invest the dedicated time and effort to produce a textbook, it’s important that they do it with a goal that it will be adopted and read and that it will provoke learning, said Robert Christopherson, author of the bestselling introductory geography textbook, Elemental Geosystems. “This requires thought throughout the creation process toward our involvement in marketing and how the post-production/sales period will progress,” he said. “Marketing and sales are areas of publisher responsibility for sure, and I respect these editorial channels of authority, however I have learned that the marketing process works best with proactive, aggressive, and consistent effort.”

Christopherson shares the following ten marketing tips and strategies:

Before entering a co-authoring relationship, sign a collaboration agreement

The first thing you should write before entering into a co-authoring relationship is a collaboration agreement, said Stephen Gillen, an attorney with Wood, Herron & Evans, L.L.P.

“Do it before you write the manuscript, before you sign the publisher’s contract, before you write the sample chapters, before you write the outline, and before you write the proposal,” he said. “Do it first. If it’s too late to do it first, do it NOW! If you think you don’t need one, you’re wrong. By the time you realize you do, it’s probably too late.”

How to extract articles from your dissertation

When I finally got around to writing my dissertation (that’s another story), I realized that its organization easily fell into several relatively self-contained chapters. Once I defended, I needed to convert as much of the dissertation to publishable articles as I could, for the “hound of tenure” was fast on my heels.

I realized that I had written each chapter with a possible article based on it already in mind. In philosophy one often takes on positions articulated by others, and seeks to attack them in a way that makes one’s own view more plausible and defended against those who would, or should, attack it. So, I “carved” the dissertation into three chunks and wrote them up as independent articles. I sent them to the same journals that had published the articles I was attacking, and they were accepted (usually subject to some revisions). Hence, my first three publications, followed by a fourth when one of my attackees sought to defend himself in print. Those, plus a couple of short pieces, secured a tenured appointment.

The most important writing tool

Hello. It’s me again, Ken. Dr. B. says that anyone who has polluted the journals as much as I have should have at least one more tip to offer, so here goes…..

Twenty acres, a tractor, and a toolbox, that’s all we had and all we needed. When the old John Deere broke down, we just grabbed the toolbox and put it right. Writing’s no different. Just keep a few tools…and know how to use them.