¶ I’m lucky. I’ve never had too much trouble with “killing my darlings” when it comes to writing. I can’t stand my first drafts and am typically eager to get to revising stages.
¶ I’m realizing that the book proposal genre is a bit of a different beast. I’ve followed what all the bloggers and books recommend: take time and get some distance. It’s been more than a year and a half since my dissertation defense and revisiting that object for a serious strip-down and re-vision. I’ve written so many query letters, fellowship and grant applications, and other documents where the narrative about this project is the cornerstone. It is language I have downright slaved-over and, what’s more, I still like it. I have a new title I like better, and I know exactly the pieces that need to be tossed, a sense of the remodeling that needs to happen—and I am excited about all of these. But it doesn’t mean I dislike what the project once was.
As I look forward to all the new projects and possibilities that 2018 holds, one of the big things that I plan to commit myself to this year is the book proposal. I’ve given it more than a year to incubate. After conferencing more pieces of it, sharing the idea with colleague-friends, and finding success and positive feedback in those venues and publication, I’m going to reconceive the thesis into a monograph.
In the few weeks of calm between the end of term and the break for actual merry-making with family in Idaho, I’ve repeated what I did for the job market process: read and researched. If I am good at anything, it is finding, collating, analyzing, and synthesizing data about words and writing processes. While there are indeed whole books on the subject, there seems to be a great deal of good advice, samples, templates, and personal narratives from the trenches on the Internet broadly.
Therefore, this month I give you a synthesized list of the blogs and websites I found instructive in this process, as well as other resources to support any research you may be doing on how this whole book proposing process works. The one thing nearly all of them fail to mention is the annual AAUP Subject Area Grid and Directory, indicating the subject ares in which each member press has a strong interest.