The Why: Explaining the significance of your research

The Why: Explaining the significance of your researchIn the first four articles of this series, we examined The What: Defining a research project, The Where: Constructing an effective writing environment, The When: Setting realistic timeframes for your research, and The Who: Finding key sources in the existing literature. In this article, we will explore the fifth, and final, W of academic writing, The Why: Explaining the significance of your research. [Read more…]

Can writers be social online?

Can writers be social online?Social media or social web? I posed that question last year in a guest blog for the British site, Discover Society. Given recent scandals involving hacking and profile misuse on commercial social media sites, I’d like to revisit this question as it pertains to academic and textbook authors. To what extent should we post original writings on social media sites?

First, let’s distinguish between social media and social webSocial media can be defined as: “commercially-owned online platforms or applications that allow for interactions between users who can create, archive and retrieve user-generated content. [Read more…]

The three biggest mistakes academic writers make

academic_mistakesI grew up in an academic family. When we would gather around the table at holidays, everyone but my bipolar aunt had a Ph.D. My ex-husband once told me he felt I needed to get a Ph.D. to be considered a grown-up by my family. So I know the culture. I am fluent in tenure and promotion, refereed articles and revise-and-resubmit, and the heaven and hell of the sabbatical and adjunct worlds.

As a creative writer and scholar who specializes in teaching mindfulness and writing as ways of dealing with chronic stress and healing from trauma, I bring my expertise in stress-reduction together with my personal experience of what it means to “be an academic.” I want to share with you some insights about the three biggest mistakes I see academic writers making. [Read more…]

The value of using social media to broaden your academic reach: An interview with Tanya Golash Boza

Tanya Golash-BozaTanya Golash-Boza, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is widely published, with her academic works including academic and trade books, textbook chapters for edited volumes, and journal articles. Currently she is working on two primary projects, one being a book on the lives of people deported from the United States, and the second being a sociology textbook on race and racism. 

Golash-Boza has successfully utilized social media in her academic career for the past several years. She is the author of three popular blogs, including her academic blog entitled Get a Life, PhD, Weekly Tips on How to Succeed in Academia and Have a Life Too.

Here Golash-Boza shares her insights on the value of utilizing social media to broaden your academic reach. [Read more…]

To be a successful writer, first you must promote

One of the most important parts of textbook publicity and marketing is the press release. A simple yet well-written document that is going to put who, what, where, why and how can I buy this book; out into the marketplace.

If you want media coverage, you’ve got to make your story newsworthy and make clear why anyone should care about your new book. And you’ve got to offer valuable lessons learned, tips, or other useful suggestions from which the readers, listeners, or viewers can benefit. Bullet points and statistics are always helpful.

On nice letterhead, a press release should always be one page. If it’s a must go to two pages but I wouldn’t recommend it. You want to capture the attention of a journalist, book reviewer, bookseller, academic department, distributor, etc. immediately, and time is of the essence.

At the top you can put “For Immediate Release” but it isn’t always a requirement. The dateline, date written out entirely and location (use AP style for stand alone cities and state abbreviations) will suffice. But before you get going on the text of the press release, remember the catchy headline and subhead.

The headline only has one job: to keep the reader reading! It should also be in about a 30-point font and bold. If you choose to make it outrageous, make sure you can back it up. You don’t want a journalist/department to call you and then not be able to support it! Also, remember who is readying it. It may need to be altered according to where it is being sent.

Like the headline, the first paragraph should be newsworthy and possess language that captures the reader’s attention and briefly tell, in one to two sentences, what is being announced. The second paragraph, what is called a nut graph in a journalist article, should summarize or present background of the topic.

After you list the important information about your book, it’s message, maybe the page length, new, interesting and innovative research, etc. you should close the press release with an author bio. Feel free to bold the name or state “About the author.”

Lastly, the final paragraph should offer contact information to the publisher, author, distributor or publicist and a Website or another go to place for additional information.

Now that the press release is written and proofread it must be put out over the wires and passed along to relevant audiences. With today’s Internet there are plenty of free service sites that will distribute a press release to national, if not global, recipients.

Michelle Blackley is a literary publicist in Buffalo, NY. She is also an adjunct lecturer of communication at Buffalo State College and a freelance writer.