Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: November 8, 2019
As we reach the end of the first full week of November, more affectionately known as Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) for most of our readers, we want to remind you of the importance of reading to improve your writing efforts. In fact, Samuel Johnson once said, “The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.” This reading time may be immersed in discipline-specific journal articles, or in items such as the ones below that help improve your overall writing craft and understanding of the authoring industry.
This week our collection includes resources from SAGE MethodSpace’s AcWriMo focus on writing and publishing books, ways to address worry for writers, establishing a plan B (or C), determining your contribution to the literature, maintaining an appropriate writing voice, questioning our assumptions in publishing innovations, and exploring alternative textbook options, including OER.
Remember as you move forward in your writing this week, it is more than acceptable – it’s even necessary – to take time to read to broaden your understanding of both your discipline and your craft, in order to improve your results as an author. Happy writing!
This month academic writers everywhere share goals, progress, and frustrations using the #AcWriMo hashtag. Academic Writing Month is also a great time to develop new skills and sharing resources. The AcWriMo19 focus on MethodSpace is on all stages related to publishing books.
Anticipatory worry stems from the loss of control. What if people don’t like what I write? What if I cannot finish this by the deadline? Why can’t I work faster? What will happen if I don’t get this done? But you know what? It’s all just noise. Mind chatter.
So you want to write a book? Do you want to go it alone or collaborate? Do you want to focus on writing, or do you prefer to organize and manage a project based largely on others’ writings? Throughout AcWriMo you will find posts on MethodSpace that delve into these various ways of creating books.
Having a Plan B and maybe a Plan C might be a sensible thing for PhDers to do and to update throughout their doctorate. Of course you can’t anticipate everything and I’m not suggesting you can. Not everything is in your control. Lots of things aren’t predictable. Some things are unacceptable and need change, not you adapting.
Rather than filling a gap, what can we add that has value? Figuring out the contribution your work makes is likely to help motivate you to get the words down. Also, it should help you to convince editors and reviewers that your work is worth publishing. People often don’t like to think of it this way, but it’s a sales pitch.
How may one maintain an academically cool and objective writing voice, one that protects the author from these internal intrusions, when the “me” cries out in op-ed glee? What steps can be taken to create distance between your subjective experiences and the necessarily objective write-up?
As major textbook publishers grapple with new strategic directions, alternative providers focused on lower-cost materials seize the opportunity to grow their market share. While the biggest publishers are struggling to get their finances in order, smaller providers are experiencing rapid growth and report record textbook selections by faculty members.
You have an idea for a book. It is brilliant! It is unique! It will change the world! Now what? As Thoreau observed, your dreams need practical foundations. “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” -Henry David Thoreau. You’ll need some specific foundations before you can discuss your ideas with an acquisitions editor, and before you begin a book proposal.
Jade’s message as the opening address of the ASIS&T meeting struck me as an intended wake-up call for information practitioners of all stripes, a reminder of how easy it is to impose one’s worldview on others in the course of our work. This unconscious act is especially critical for those of us in publishing and systems design to be mindful of, lest we enforce a dangerously simplified abstraction of “the user” upon our consumers – or, in the scholarly communications industry, a generic researcher, author, editor, librarian, etc.
Modern universities are often not the disruptors they pretend to be, especially pertaining to career advancement. Faculty members won’t engage with creating open resources because colleges and universities by and large don’t make this part of the criteria on which they judge performance, promotion and tenure.