This month, I continue to reflect on the academic book proposal process. In previous posts, I provided a bibliography of all the advice out there on this process, how to identify a book series as a means of narrowing your target lists, and evaluated some of the myths in circulation about book proposing. Now that I have my book under advance contract, I wanted to share some of the funding options available for the writing process itself.
There are two kinds of grants your might pursue while in the writing process. The first are fellowships or stipends to fund your time to write if you don’t have the option of pre-tenure sabbatical. (Full disclosure: I don’t.) The second is a newer beast, the subvention: grants to help cover costs of the material book production process.
These grants envision covering your costs for living so you don’t have to take on extra work, typically during the summer, so you can work exclusively on the project. Some larger R1 universities might offer these. Check out any state-funded grants in your particular region to see if they offer cultural or research grants to this end. There are also national-level stipends that support this kind of work but are, of course, more competitive. Consider:
- American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowships
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipends
- Check out your professional associations for writing grants.
One of the more surprising things about the book proposal process was the request for cash upfront from some publishers—non-profit, uni, and for-profit alike. A testament to the perceived normalcy of this practice is the increase in grants being offered by major associations and institutions targeted toward this specific cost. Again, larger institutions may already have an internal fund set aside for just this reason, so enquire with your department chair or program director early on.
The following list is a range of such grants from my specific area of study as an example of what might be available to you. Do note that you will typically need a statement of commitment from a press in writing before applying. There is no typical application “season” for these, as the deadlines range the academic year.
- First Book Subvention Program, American Comparative Literature Association
- Brooks McNamara Publishing Subvention, American Society for Theatre Research
- Publication Subvention Award, American Theatre and Drama Society
- Weiss-Brown Publication Subvention, Newberry Library
- Research Awards, Society for Theatre Research (UK)
- Publication & Contract Review Grants, Textbook & Academic Authors Association
Do you have any recommendations for stipends, fellowships, grants, or other awards that directly sponsor the writing process for academic monographs? Let me know and I will add it to the list!