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The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: October 10, 2014

"The desire to write grows with writing." - Desiderius ErasmusThis week’s posts are not only useful to apply to your writing, but also thought provoking. One author even dared to ask, “What if you banned publication by graduate students?” I also have included a NPR Planet Money podcast that I think many of you will find interesting. I hope you will share with me your comments about these articles or any other articles you found of interest this week. And, as always, happy writing!

Episode 573: Why Textbook Prices Keep Climbing
This podcast explores two thoughts for the increase in college textbooks. The first is an economic prospective on why textbook prices are on the rise: the principle-agent theory. This theory is that the professor, the one making the decision on which textbook to use in their classroom (the agent), is not looking at the price tag because they are not the buyer (the principle, in this case the student). The second focus is on the used textbook market. What are your thoughts on what is explored in this podcast? I’d be very interested to hear your reactions to the principle-agent theory as authors and as professors.

Thou Shalt Blog?
Joel Friedlander and Jason Matthews offer great insight into author blogging. In this post, Joel and Jason give tips on what tends to work for authors (and what has worked for them) and what doesn’t work. This is a great post for any author considering blogging and needing a little reinforcement on why you should and how to start.

Shorter, better, faster, free
While the above post focuses more on author blogging this post focuses on academic blogging, specifically how blogging changes the nature of academic research. This article is also a great read for those considering blogging. As Patrick Dunleavy stats, “Recent research from the World Bank has shown that blogging about an academic article can lead to hundreds of new readers when before there were only a handful.”

12 Tips To Overcome Writer’s Block For PhD Students
I feel that anytime you can get advice for getting over writer’s block it’s helpful, because you might read something that sparks an idea to help you get through your own block. Dora Farkas provides great tips for overcoming writer’s block and forming a solid writing habit.

An Open Letter to Journal Editors
This article generated much discussion earlier this week. What sparked this discussion was Leonard Cassuto’s question, “What if you banned publication by graduate students?” Most who commented on this post are against the idea of banning publication by graduate students. What do you think?

Want to be taken seriously as scholar in the humanities? Publish a monograph
I found this article particularly interesting because the future of monographs was a session topic at our annual conference this past June. The author, Melissa Terras, suggests that not only are monographs still relevant but also that they should be open access.

Scholarly Writing Hacks: 5 Lessons I Learned Writing Every Day in June
Insightful and actionable information for getting words down on the page. Jennifer Ahern-Dodson says, “In the early messy-thinking-on-the-page stage, it’s not the quality of the words, but generating text that matters most.” I think this is an important reminder because it is easy to get trapped in a perfectionism mindset.