Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: January 28, 2022
What are your writing goals? What do you hope to accomplish and how will you get there? Sylvia Plath kept hers simple when she said, “Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.”
In this week’s collection of articles from around the web, we see strategies for keeping up with information, facing changes to the academic publishing industry, sharing or marketing our work, and managing our inner critics.
Whatever your writing goals, work towards those that let you live, love, and say what you need to – in good sentences. Happy writing!
A sociologist and author of two books exploring happiness, fulfillment, and work life, Dr. Brower says research points to ways we can all be more selective about how we consume information. She also urges us to push out of comfort zones to where innovation is found – at the edges.
Within the scholarly book publishing community, it’s not particularly controversial to claim that free digital editions of monographs will erode print sales. After all, who would pay for something they can get for free? These books already sell so few copies, and the economics are so unfavorable, that further revenue erosion could easily shatter an already precarious ecosystem. That said, there’s a growing body of research indicating that readers strongly prefer print formats for these publications (for example see the 2018 Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey and Naomi Baron’s Words on Screen). And there’s anecdotal reporting that in open access (OA) experiments at university presses, print sales have been stable. Can we review sales data for OA titles to find out if the claim of print cannibalization is true?
Engaging with non-academic audiences has become more common as the ‘impact’ and ‘knowledge exchange’ agendas have gained prominence within HE; academics are supposed to build relationships with users of their research and share knowledge outside the academy. These “impact” and “public engagement” activities are hugely important and researchers whose work can be applied in these ways should be encouraged and incentivised. However, what I have experienced – and what these tweets were inspired by – are difficulties clarifying when and how our knowledge should be shared, and what acknowledgement or recompense we should receive.
In scholarly publishing, we are increasingly aware of issues of diversity from a societal point of view. It has become a part of our efforts to promote, facilitate, and ensure Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEIA) in different areas of the publishing ecosystem. But other forms of diversity can also be found in academic publishing.
Ah, the writer’s inner critic. It’s that wily inner editor who has such a way of getting in the last word (and first and middle words) on any writing session or project. Most of the time when writers speak of the inner critic, there’s a fair amount of self-deprecating exaggeration of how ruthless that little voice can be. We joke about the inner critic as a universal experience, but for many writers at one time or another, the inner editor can turn into a counter-productive tyrant.
I published my first nonfiction book back in August 2010. My book was written for a very specific niche. Here are four things I learned about niche marketing.