including essays and academic/scholarly publishing.
• Academic writing and publishing
---Blogs of academia
---Citation boosting and manipulation
---Footnotes, endnotes, references, and citations
---Open access, open science--and how to identify predatory OA publishers
---Authors Guild vs. Authors Alliance (author royalties vs. broadest possible distribution, free)
---Personal essays, how to write better
---Personal essays, great examples of
---Essays on modern love (the wonderful Times series)
• Organizations for nonfiction writers
• Books on the craft of nonfiction writing
• The art of nonfiction: Paris Review interviews
• Teaching children to write good nonfiction
• True crime
• Ideas and observations, well expressed
Film, plays, and documentaries
Food and beverage writing (moved to specialty and niche writing)
Memoir, Biography, and Corporate History
Narrative Nonfiction (a/k/a creative or literary nonfiction)
Science and Medical Writing
Specialized and niche writing
Assholes Finish First
• American Crime Writers League (for writers of crime fiction & true crime)
• Public Safety Writers Association
• CrimeCon. national true crime convention for those who want to do more that watch the news. Meet the key players in big cases, learn how detectives, investigators, and attorneys work, and be the first to see new documentaries and films.
• Victims, Families and America’s Thirst for True-Crime Stories (Britt Peterson, Washington Post Magazine, 7-30-19) What happens when one family's tragedy becomes entertainment for everyone else? For Bill Thomas and other family members of murder victims, CrimeCon — an annual true-crime festival sponsored by the TV channel Oxygen, now in its third year and hosting a sold-out crowd of 3,600 (up from 1,000 its first year) — represents a major and unprecedented opportunity. Twenty years ago, if victims’ family members wanted to draw media attention to a crime in hopes of shaking loose new leads and motivating law enforcement, there were just a few options. Today, there are thousands.
• How does the ‘true crime’ genre impact criminal investigations? (Nora Daly, PBS News Hour, 3-19-15)
• ‘Serial,’ Podcasting’s First Breakout Hit, Sets Stage for More (David Carr, NY Times, 11-23-14)
• Best True-Crime Podcasts of 2018 (Laura Barcella, Rolling Stone, 12-31-18) True crime helped create the podcast revolution — and they’re still leading the way
• Beyond ‘Serial’: 10 True Crime Podcasts You Need to Follow (Elisabeth Garber-Paul, Rolling Stone, 7-22-16) From L.A. comedians riffing on murder to full-on 1940s-style radio dramas, there’s hours of earbud entertainment to keep you on edge
• True Crime podcasts (Player FM)
• How to write a true crime tale, according to bestseller David Grann (Ellizabeth Flock, PBS News Hour, 1-31-18)
• Why our true crime obsession is bad for society (Laura Bogart, The Week, 1-31-18)
• The Con Man Who Became a True-Crime Writer (Rachel Monroe,The Atlantic, 7-19-19) Appears in the August 2019 print edition with the headline “The True-Crime Writer in Cellblock B4.” In his old life, Matthew Cox told stories to scam his way into millions of dollars. Now he’s trying to make it by selling tales that are true. Interesting insights into the genre.
• “I Was in a Violent Girl Gang, Now I’m Helping Others Get Out” (as told to Sue Russell, The Independent, UK)
• The Real Lolita (Sara Weinman, Hazlitt LongReads, 11-20-14) The story of 11-year-old Sally Horner’s abduction changed the course of 20th-century literature. She just never got to tell it herself.
• True Crime (On the Media radio show, WNYC)
• True Crime (The Guardian's pieces about true crime are a notch above the rest.)
• Serial Killers, Versace, and Me (Sarah Weinman, Paris Review, 1-29-18)
• Why Fingerprints Aren’t the Proof We Thought They Were (Sue Russell, PSMag.com)
• True crime (Wikipedia's overview) Helter Skelter (1974), the true story of the Manson murders by Vincent Bugliosi, is the biggest selling true crime book in publishing history; Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1966) is number two. Other classic titles:
---And The Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi with Bruce Henderson (four people set sail for a South Pacific island and only two return)
---Columbine by Dave Cullen (this book about a horrific school shooting and massacre tries to answer the question, Why did it happen?)
---The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (who entertwines the true story of two men: the architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and a cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death)
---Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis (the story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the handsome, Princeton-educated physician convicted of savagely slaying his young pregnant wife and two small children)
---Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Kurt Gentry (the true story of the Manson murders)
---In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (the cold-blooded murder of the Clutter family, in a small town in Kansas)
---The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm. (Using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example -- the lawsuit of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, against Joe McGinniss, the author of Fatal Vision, a book about the crime -- she delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject.)
---Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 'by John Berendt (Savannah socialite Jim Williams stands trial for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and sometime companion to Williams; to improve the story, Berendt didn't stick to the true chronology)
---The Other Side by Lacy Johnson (memoir of her brutal kidnapping and imprisonment at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover)
---Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman
---Shot in the Heart by Mikhal Gilmore, brother of the murderer Gary Gilmore, who asked to be executed by a short in the heart. Norman Mailer covered Gilmore's story also, in The Executioner's Song
--- Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule (a powerful account of the destructive forces that drove Diane Downs, a beautiful young mother, to shoot her three young children in cold blood)
---The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule (about Ted Bundy)
---Son of a Gun: A Memoir by Justin St. Germain (a memoir of a mother-son relationship that is also the searing, unflinching account of a murder and its aftermath)
---The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist (Rich Schapiro, Wired Magazine, 12-27-10) A magazine-length true crime story, for when you want the story and the suspense but don't have time for a whole book.
This category is a bit of a stew.
• Textbook Publishers’ Changing Product Strategies (Sean Wakely, Academic Author Advisors, 11-24-14) Companion piece to series on ("Forming a Publishing Relationship," in TAA's blog): "...higher education publishing is in the midst of profound change. As a result, we should expect to see many new product strategies and business models launched in coming years. The advantages of the big higher education publishers are great, and they’ll certainly continue to be major forces in the marketplace for a long time to come. However, the likely changes in their overall product strategies could open up attractive niches for smaller publishers, startups, and content sharers while creating exciting new opportunities for savvy authors and content experts."
• Industry Notes: AAP Flags Declining U.S. Student Spending on Textbooks (Porter Anderson, Publishing Perspectives, 9-12-19)“The statistics make it clear that students are taking full advantage of the new, cost-effective options that publishers have made available, which has led to a significant decline in student spending....Twenty-one percent of students surveyed said they preferred print with a digital component, which includes print books with online access or support, making the category the second most popular option."
• Authors, Keep Your Copyrights. You Earned Them. (Authors Guild, 8-13-15) 'Most trade publishers do not ask for an outright assignment of all exclusive rights under copyright; their contracts usually call for copyright to be in the author’s name. But it’s another story in the world of university presses. The problem is that most academic authors—particularly first-time authors feeling the flames of “publish or perish”—don’t even ask.' See The Authors Guild Fair Contract Initiative. Academic authors often feel they have no choice but to accept those terms as it is "publish or perish" in academia.
As AG member Bert Krages recently wrote: "Signing over your copyright is a bad proposition, even if the contract has a provision stating that the copyright will be returned to you once the book goes out of print. The reason is that if the press sells or otherwise transfers ownership to another party, that party will own the copyright free and clear of any obligation to return it to you or pay you royalties. On the other hand, if you retain the copyright and license it to the press, then even if another party assumes ownership of the contract, that party is still obligated to comply with the terms of the publishing agreement. Publishers don't have a compelling business need to acquire the author's copyright. A license gives the publisher every freedom it needs to profit from publishing the book."
• University of California boycotts publishing giant Elsevier over journal costs and open access (Alex Fox, Jeffrey Brainard, Science, 2-28-19) “It’s hard to overstate how big [UC’s move] is for us here in the U.S.,” says Heather Joseph, executive director of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a Washington, D.C.–based group that advocates for open access. “This gives institutions that are on the fence about taking this kind of action a blueprint.” For more on Elsevier's price-gouging and behavior about Open Access, see Open access, open science--and how to identify predatory OA publishers.
• Forming a publisher relationship (Sean Wakely, TAA Online, blog of the Text and Academic Authors Association, 11-20-14). A three-part series:
---The acquisitions editor (Wakely, TAA, 9-4-14) Address editors knowing what their needs are.
--- 3 Steps for submitting your project (Wakely, TAA, 11-20-14)
--- 6 Strategies for building rapport (Wakely, TAA, 1-15-15)
• Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
• Academic & textbook writing grants offers grants to both members and nonmembers that "provide reimbursement for eligible expenses directly related to bringing an academic book, textbook, or journal article to publication."
• White papers, working papers, research articles: What’s the difference? (Denise-Marie Ordway with Matthew Baum, Journalist's Resource, 5-3-18)
• Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, The Purpose of Writing
• How to tell good research from bad: 13 questions journalists should ask (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, 3-21-17)
• Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) an association of academics and researchers who coordinate efforts to make their research findings accessible to those outside of academia--to improve public policy and strengthen democracy. See, for example, The GOP Civil War over Medicaid Expansion in the States.
• Textbook contracts: How to determine a good royalty rate offer (Textbook Authors Association, 5-18-09) Read and absorb the comments from 5 "experts" before signing your contract!
• Academic Ethics: Should Scholars Avoid Citing the Work of Awful People? (Brian Leiter, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10-25-18)
• The Coming Copyright Clash in Higher Education (CopyCense, 11-1-12) With college costs in the stratosphere, nonprofit higher education institutions are being questioned about "authorizing salaries of $1 million or more for their presidents and chancellors." "[T]uition often is the main – sometimes the sole – source of a college’s income. Most schools pay all their costs from that sole stream of tuition income." "One other significant cost colleges and universities incur is the cost of scholarly publication....The scholarly publication business process begins with a system – fully supported by higher education institutions – that demands “high impact” publication as a condition of achieving the holy grail of academic tenure" High impact means "that the academic work must be published in a very specific, narrow set of journals." "Many of these 'high impact' journals, once independent, have been absorbed into larger, multinational, publicly-held corporations. In that absorption, these journals’ primary purpose underwent an important evolution. Instead of knowledge dissemination, profit became the journals’ primary purpose. These profit pressures have led to a steady increase in subscription rates over the past three decades." "Increasingly, institutions are saying “Don’t pay whatever price a journal wants for access to an article.” At the same time, though, the institutions have changed nothing in their tenure criteria so that scholarship outside of “high impact” journals and teaching count as much toward a favorable tenure recommendation as publication in a 'high impact' journal." Food for thought.
• Becoming a Stylish Writer (Rachel Toor, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7-2-12) Attractive prose will not make you appear any less smart
"Accustomed to having to justify and support every thought, back up every assertion, and hedge every idea, academics learn to distrust their guts. They hem and qualify until they don't know what they think and don't want to say anything for fear of being wrong.
We creative writers are privileged,' Hugo wrote, 'because we can write declarative sentences, and we can write declarative sentences because we are less interested in being irrefutably right than we are in the dignity of language itself.' ... In my recovering-editor mode, I finally took the first step and allowed myself to admit that most scholarly manuscripts read as badly as many first-year composition papers. In my work for a publisher, I had perpetrated on the world a whole lot of garbled ideas expressed in jargon and in meaningless, incomprehensible, and never-ending sentences."
Toor also writes that in an essay called "Professional Boredom," William Cronon, president of the American Historical Association, "warned that, when taken to an extreme, the values and practices of good history—rigorous, complex, and nuanced argumentation; accuracy; grounding in primary research; awareness of the field—can make the discipline accessible to only a small group. He warns about writing that keeps readers out rather than inviting them in. Cronon suggests that his peers tell stories, and he cautions them not to be boring."
• Writing for a Mass Audience as an Academic (Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, 5-11-18) Professors explain why it's hard to write online. They’re not wrong.
• The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing (Victoria Clayton, The Atlantic, 10-26-15) In academia, unwieldy writing has become something of a protected tradition.
• 10 point guide to dodging publishing pitfalls (Times Higher Education, 3-6-14) Veteran academic authors share their hard-won tips. E.g., go first to a first-tier academic publisher, for the peer review. Geared to British reader, but invaluable advice if your book is geared to academic publishers. (Authors: Richard J. Evans, Tim Birkhead, Jos Boys, Barbara Graziosi, Martin McQuillan, Susan Bassnett, Alan Ryan, Cary Cooper)
• How a Digital Textbook Initiative Achieved Liftoff (Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed, 5-2-18) Indiana University wants other institutions to absorb insights gleaned from its fast-growing digital textbook initiative. "Under the inclusive access model, publishers offer their content on a digital learning platform for significantly less than the cost of a physical textbook. Instructors choose before the beginning of the semester whether to secure and assign an etext. If they do, students pay the lower cost as a required course fee, in exchange for access to the textbook for the entirety of their academic career at Indiana."
• The Authors Guild Calls on Cengage to Treat Authors Fairly (AG, 8-23-19) "For the second time in a little over a year, Cengage has been sued by a group of textbook authors. The authors are pursuing a class action lawsuit against Cengage for violating the terms of their contracts by unilaterally changing their payment structures from a traditional per-sale royalty to a relative use share, thereby lowering their income dramatically. We applaud the lawsuit and hope that the class is certified.
When Cengage launched its Cengage Unlimited digital subscription service for students, it changed its payment basis to relative use of an author’s title as compared to other titles in the same revenue pool, instead of paying the author a traditional per-sale royalty provided for in the publishing agreement. Cengage made this change knowing full well that it was violating its terms with authors.... Cengage argues that the new model—which gives its subscribers access to a group of titles for a flat fee (per semester, per year, or per two-year period)—is necessary today because students are not buying expensive textbooks....Taking money from authors without their say is not the proper way to address changing markets. It’s theft."
• How Academics Survive the Writing Grind: Some Anecdotal Evidence (Helen Sword, Literary Hub, 9-7-17) "The bottom line is that it tkes most academics a long time—whether at the front end of the writing process, at the back end, or both—to produce high-quality work. Apprentice academics may regard the enormous effort involved as a symptom of their own inadequacy, especially if they have been led to believe that writing is supposed to be easy.
"From the cadence of a paragraph to the structure of a book, I learned, stylish academic writers sweat the details." They think about elegance, concision, structure, voice, identity, clarity, accessibility, vocabulary, syntax, agency, audience, telling a story, "the big picture." They even think about visual issues such as typography, pagination, and layout." On each of these topics you'll find thoughtful, helpful, well-expressed brief advice from various writers.
• How a Literary Agent Views Academic Books (Rachel Toor interviews Susan Rabiner for Chronicle of Higher Education, 7-14-19). Rabiner is co-author of Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction – and Get It Published, which explores how to think through a serious nonfiction book (and to understand an editor). "Their book lays out in blunt, unvarnished prose how to write a proposal that will win over editors and shows why 'because it's interesting' is never reason enough to get someone to buy a book." An invaluable Q&A about writing a serious nonfiction book.
She says: If "you don't understand the need to make an argument in scholarly writing, you don't understand scholarship. That's what my many years as a university-press editor taught me. Young scholars have difficulty getting a precise handle on exactly what argument entails because it refers both to how you move through facts to reach a conclusion and to the conclusion you reach — as in, 'What argument does the book make?'...argument is also what allows even the most densely intellectual material to be successfully shaped and structured into a narrative — which is another way of saying it provides the connective thread that takes the readers from facts to resolution in a way that holds their attention, indeed keeps them wanting more."
"So what makes a scholarly work commercially viable? Two things: the strength of the narrative and, even more important, whether the proposed book has explanatory power to answer the questions disturbing us today. The subject matter can be as old as time. The topic can be one that has been written about again and again. But the message has to be about something that matters now."
• What's happening to academic freedom
• Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses / Dissertations (download PDF, Editors Canada)
• The crisis in non-fiction publishing (Sam Leith, The Guardian, 6-26-15) When it comes to high-calibre non-fiction, risk-averse trade publishing houses are producing too many copycat ‘smart thinking’ books that promise more than they deliver. But praise should be given to the university presses. "So the upfront costs of non-fiction – plates, photographs, indexing and subsidising the research – are becoming increasingly out of proportion to the likely payoffs. “Enter the university presses stage left,” says Mundy. “Most are non-profits – they don’t require the 15p in the pound margins that the likes of Penguin Random House do. They often operate globally. Academic presses love librarians, and university libraries still buy books. And they are able to be much bolder with higher cover prices. So they are able to take those risks. Big conglomerates are very effective brand management systems – they can make comedians into novelists. And they can sell the big names – the Pinkers and the Schamas and so on. But the nursery slopes – the future stars – are now more and more on the lists of the university presses.”
• Academia: in the upside down of publishing (Eiko Fried) To simplify: Taxpayers pay the salary of most researchers, but researchers spend a considerable amount of time working for free (as writers, reviewers, editors) for academic mega-publishers who make a ton of profit, so they have less time for their research. We also give much of that taxpayer money set aside for research, and give it to scientific publishers. Yet, while most research is funded by taxpayers, most research papers are not available to the taxpayers or scientists; research is usually hidden behind paywalls of scientific publishers. Universities ‘rent’ subscriptions to journal (subscription fees totaling about US$10b a year globally) but most labs cannot afford subscription fees.
• Revolution in academia: Copyright and open access (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog, 11-29-15). In academia a wide-ranging discussion about open access is weakening academic journals' monopoly on profiting from publishing research findings. Are academic authors, who have long abandoned claims to copyright on many of their scholarly articles (in the "public or perish" world of university faculty-making), less docile about publishing rights, with tenured faculty positions scarcer and scarcer? A round-up of links to key pieces, including "Elsevier Mutiny: Cracks Are Widening in the Fortress of Academic Publishing."
• The Hubbub about Sci-Hub (McNees round-up of articles on Elsevier and other big science publishers' fight against the Russian woman who put many science articles online free, where people who could not afford pricey science journals could access them. Why did they put all those scientific papers and articles online? "Elsevier, like other journal publishers, pays nothing to acquire researchers’ studies. Moreover, publishers don’t pay for the volunteer peer reviewers or editors. But they charge those same researchers, reviewers and editors, not to mention the public, whose tax dollars most likely funded the study in the first place, to read the resulting articles." As of June 2017, Elsevier et al. won $15 million in damages from Alexandra Elbakyan.
• Revisiting: Governance and the Not-for-profit Publisher (Joseph Esposito, The Scholarly Kitchen, 3-29-17) "NEJM, AAAS, ACS, OUP, and so on — try to find the equivalent of such NFPs [not-for-profits] in the auto or consumer electronics industries. One would think that with such a strong group of NFP organizations, there would be stronger challengers to the for-profit leaders of Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, John Wiley, and their kin. The fact is, though, that for all the prestige of some of the NFPs, this is an industry dominated by commercial entities."
• The Dangers of English as Lingua Franca of Journals (Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis, Inside Higher Education, 3-13-18)
• An Adjunct Professor’s Tale Of Low Wages (Here and Now, NPR, 5-3-16) More than half of all college instructors in the United States are adjuncts—part-time contract workers who don’t enjoy the same benefits or compensation as their full-time counterparts. Jeremy Hobson talks with Pamela Lalande, an adjunct professor at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida, about working for low wages in academia.
• "May your manuscripts be accepted, your syllabuses respected, and your Oxford commas unmolested."~Academia Obscura (Facebook page)
• 10 point guide to dodging publishing pitfalls (Times Higher Education, 3-6-14) Veteran academic authors share their hard-won tips, from the British viewpoint--but in principle many of them apply for U.S. academic presses also.
• The Thesis Whisperer (great title for an editor of academic papers) has a blog, which links to such interesting items as YouTube videos of 3-Minute Thesis Finalists (Australian National University--here's Emily Johnston, talking about Mosquito Research: Saving Lives with Pantyhose and Paper Clips, and here's 3MT: the three most common mistakes .
• Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore (TAA Online 11-2-12)
• Undisclosed Conflicts of Interests among Biomedical Textbook Authors. (Piper BJ, Lambert DA, Keefe RC, Smukler PU, Selemon NA, Duperry, PubMed. 2-5-18) An appreciable subset of biomedical authors have patents and have received remuneration from medical product companies and this information is not disclosed to readers. These findings indicate that full transparency of financial pCoI should become a standard practice among the authors of biomedical educational materials.
• Rights and contracts for academic authors (another section on Writers and Editors website)
• Contract terms (especially but not only in book publishing) (separate section on Writers and Editors website)
• The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered by Clive James (NY Times, 7-24-07) (delightfully honest poem by Clive James)
• On Not Writing a Book Right Now (Chandra Manning, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5-14-17) Sometimes we book writers go to the well and it's dry. "Ultimately, for a spring to start bubbling up and refilling your well, you need a good question. In particular, you need the kind of question that just won’t let you go, not necessarily because its importance or relevance is obvious to anyone else, but because you feel like you need — really need — to discover an answer to it."... "Marathons, childbearing, and writing require neither superpowers nor excessive alarmism, but they do demand a willingness to admit that forces more powerful than oneself are sometimes in control of things."
• How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Journals (PDF, Simon Inger, Renew, May 2013) The results from a large-scale survey (and a few other observations)
• Scholars Talk Writing: James M. McPherson (interviewed by Rachel Toor, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2-21-16). "To be called a ‘popularizer’ is the kiss of death for an academic only if the actual writing is sloppy and sensationalized." Toor interviews a series of scholars: Laura Kipnis (1-24-16: 'Ideally you want to be an id on the first draft and a superego on the second'); Camille Paglia (11-9-15: "Good Lord, I certainly learned nothing about writing from grad school!"); Sam Wineburg (8-17-15: How a Stanford professor, known for his work on "historical thinking," learned to trust his own voice); and others.
• Academic Publishing: An Overview (Charles Henry Editing). This is as helpful a description of academic publishing (both books and journals) as anything I've seen. Here are only a couple of many points the author makes; s/he also points out the implications of some of the changes going on, and points up some of the problems in this field--among them that three firms collect most of the profits from academic publishing, provide very little added value, and rely heavily on two virtually free inputs: the articles and the peer review process. Journal prices keep going up, library budgets keep going down, teachers depend on academic publishing to achieve tenure, and the peer review process is definitely not foolproof.
~The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called the “grey literature." Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field."
~"Currently, an important trend, particularly with respect to scholarly journals, is open access via the Internet. There are two main forms of open access: open access publishing, in which a whole journal (or book) or individual articles are made available free for all on the web by the publisher at the time of publication (sometimes, but not always, for an extra publication fee paid by the author or the author’s institution or funder); and open access self-archiving, in which authors themselves make a copy of their published articles available free for all on the web.
• The Politics of Subvention: Crisis in the Humanities II (by Jeffrey R. DiLeo, American Book Review, via Muse) "Your publisher informs you that your scholarly book won't have an index unless you create it. Permission or copyright fees for works you used in your book will not be covered by the press; you are expected to finance them. If you want your book to be copyedited by someone other than yourself, you'll have to pay his or her fees. It is one thing to request increased authorial assistance in the book production process; it is quite another to request that authors pay the cost of book production—and then some....many of the most prestigious journals in business and the sciences regularly require subvention fees of their authors. In fact, most colleges and universities who support publication from their faculty have subvention funds—and even policies regarding their allocation."
• Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore (Textbook & Academic Authors Association, 11-2-12)
• Authors, Keep Your Copyrights. You Earned Them. (Authors Guild, 8-13-15). As the AG's model contract emphasizes: “CAUTION: Do not allow the publisher to take your copyright or to publish the copyright notice in any name other than yours. Except in very unusual circumstances, this practice is not standard in the industry and harms your economic interests. No reputable publisher should demand that you allow it to do so.” "Yet the copyright grab remains endemic among university presses."
• Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Theses / Dissertations (Editors' Association of Canada)
• Keeping Your Thesis Legal (UK-oriented, but with helpful advice for American scholars, too.)
• Why Academic Writing Stinks (Steven Pinker, The Chronicle Review, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9-26-14)
• The Shadow Scholar ("Ed Dante," Chronicle of Higher Education, 11-12-10) The man who writes your students' papers tells his story, now a book (by Ed Tomar, apparently his real name: The Shadow Scholar: How I Made a Living Helping College Kids Cheat. ("A fascinating exposé of the remarkably robust industry of academic ghostwriting." Wall Street Journal)
• My new mission: From PhD to Life, the book! (Jennifer Poli, University Affairs, 9-23-15) Consider hiring a life and career coach, someone who specializes in “unhappy academics.”
• Blacklists are technically infeasible, practically unreliable and unethical. Period. (Cameron Neylon, Science in the Open, 1-29-17). "We already have plenty of perfectly good Whitelists. Pubmed listing, WoS listing, Scopus listing, DOAJ listing. If you need to check whether a journal is running traditional peer review at an adequate level, use some combination of these according to your needs. Also ensure there is a mechanism for making a case for exceptions, but use Whitelists not Blacklists by default." And then he recommends in particular Think. Check. Submit (choosing the right journal for sharing your research results) and Quality Open Access Market (QOAM, a 'market place for scientific and scholarly journals which publish articles in open access. Journals scored for quality through academic crowd sourcing; price information includes institutional licensed pricing.'
• Using Anecdotes to Hook a Reader (Theresa MacPhail, Vitae, 5-29-15) "One of the biggest reasons that an editor will pass on a scholar’s submission is – and prepare yourself for some tough love here – it’s more than a little boring. The writing is too dull, too dry, too navel-gazing, too 'academic,' or it’s all four of those things put together. In other words, it’s not for a general audience."
• The Conversation (US pilot) Academic rigor, journalistic flair.
• How We Make Money From Books (Claire Potter, Tenured Radical, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-7-15) Wise practical advice: what is more important than the size of your book advance.
• Roles and Responsibilities of Authors, Contributors, Reviewers, Editors, Publishers, and Owners: Defining the Role of Authors and Contributors (PDF, International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)
• From Dissertation to Book by William Germano (a Chicago Guide)
• The Thesis and the Book: A Guide for First-Time Academic Authors (ed. by Eleanor Harman, Ian Montagnes, Siobhan McMenemy, and Chris Bucci
• What Editors Want: An Author's Guide to Scientific Journal Publishing by Philippa J. Benson and Susan C. Silver (University of Chicago Press)
• Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success (Wendy Laura Belcher)
• Document Types in Grey Literature (Grey if British; Gray if American).
• Getting It Published: A Guide for Scholars and Anyone Else Serious about Serious Books by William Germano. One of the Amazon reader reviews gives a fairly thorough summary of the book, if you aren't sure if it's right for you.
• MFA literary fiction vs. NYC (links to many interesting stories about the two cultures of American fiction)
• Why the British Library archived 40,000 emails from poet Wendy Cope (Mic Wright, Wired UK 5-11-14). (on the benefits and difficulties of capturing an author's digital life, what researchers of the future will have to root through, and some of the problems of digital preservation)
• Academic and Professional Publishing , ed by Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz, and Ian Borthwick (a comprehensive look at what publishers do, how they work to add value, and what the future may bring). Read this interesting review of authors' expectations for future developments (Judy Luther, Scholarly Kitchen, 3-18-13)
• The Future of the Ph.D. (Mary Ann Mason, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5-3-12) "We need doctoral programs that take fewer years to complete, and ones that enroll fewer students if the jobs in that field are scarce. At the same time, we need an academic environment in which young adults with family responsibilities can thrive."
• The illustrated guide to a Ph.D. (Matt Might). A one-minute read.
• Higher Learning Poster Woman: Meet Graduate School Barbie (Women You Should Know, 4-8-16) Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master’s Barbie™ and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie™.
• A PhD Is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman
• Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success especially for humanities and social science journals, by Wendy Laura Belcher (University of Chicago Press)
• Good Books for Science and Medical Writers (Writers and Editors)
• Medical and scientific images and illustrations (a partial list of sources)
• Guidelines for preparing journal manuscripts (Geoff-Hart.com, on his useful Resources page.
• BibMe(a free online site for searching for bibliographic information, creating a custom bibliography, and downloading it in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian format), dependent on Amazon's database (which might limit scholarly uses)
• Clearing rights and finding rightsholders (Writers and Editors website)
• Editage Insights . Dr. Eddy explains the basics of publishing in English language journals, sharing knowledge he has built over years of experience as a researcher. Each week, he writes about important aspects of journal publication.
• From Academia to Amazon: Is a bestseller hiding in your academic papers? (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal,3-23-10)
• Are University Presses Missing Out on Sales? (Rich Adin, An American Editor 5-14-14) Maybe they should give ebooks a try.
• Publish and Prosper Editage blog, with tips for researchers whose first language is not English but who submit their papers to journals published in English. Touches on writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, and style) and everything else relevant to publishing research papers that journal editors wish their authors knew.
• The Scholarly Kitchen (blog, What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing)
• Virtual Private Library (Marcus Zillman's annotated links to competent academic and scholarly search engines and sources)
• Writing History in the Digital Age (a born-digital, open-peer-reviewed volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, available online here and forthcoming in print and open-access digital formats from the University of Michigan Press for the Digital Humanities Series of its digitalculturebooks imprint)
• Online subject guides (AcademicInfo) A round up of the best and most useful links and resources within a specific subject area. In most cases they list both printed reference works and electronic resources.
• Get Together to Write (Jennifer I. Friend and Juan Carlos González, American Association of University Professors, Jan.-Feb 2009)
• New Faculty Writing Groups (Billie Hara, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9-29-09)
• Abstract (TAA blog)
• Chronicle of Higher Education blogs (The Ticker, Wired Campus, Profhacker, Lingua Franca)
• Explorations of Style (Rachael Cayley's blog about academic writing)
• Get a Life, PhD (sociology professor Tanya Maria Golash-Boza) "Succeed in Academia and Have a Life Too"
• GradHacker (Inside Higher Education blog to build community among graduate students)
• James Hayton (see page listing blog contents)
• Nick Hopwood
• Oxford Editing
• Patter (Pat Thomson's blog, "sound advice with a dash of whimsy" (e.g., on writing for journals)
• PhD Comics (Jorge Cham)
• PhD Talk (Eva Lantsoght)
• Research Voodoo (Katherine Firth -- some categories: academic writing, hyper-anxiety and academic honesty series. the doctoral journey, voodoo, working in higher education, writing the article series)
• The Research Whisperer ("like the Thesis Whisperer– but with more money")
• The Scholarly Kitchen
• Scholars Talk Writing (an excellent series!)
• Science in the Open (Cameron Neylon)
• The Thesis Whisperer
• Writing for Research (Patrick Dunleavy) See, for example, How to write a blogpost from your journal article
Lying is done with words and also with silence." ~ Adrienne Rich*
“Don't let your boy's schooling interfere with his education." ~ Mark Twain
• Closing the Gap Between University Presses and Libraries (Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, 10-18-18) Two leading university presses are changing the way they sell their digital collections to libraries -- cutting out the middlemen. Will others follow suit?
• Will E-Books Feed University Presses — Or Eat Them? Part 1 (Karin Wulf, Scholarly Kitchen, 7-30-19) What roles are e-books now playing, and what roles will they play, in scholarly disciplines for which books are a primary, often the apex, scholarly form? The first of two posts about e-book publishing and university presses.
• Scholarly E-Books and University Presses, Part 2 (Karin Wulf, Scholarly Kitchen, 8-6-19) The second of two posts on the roles of e-books in scholarly publishing, focused on how e-books fit into the mission and the business model of university presses. :As mission-driven, not for profit organizations, university presses are dedicated to the production and dissemination of scholarship. For the field of scholarly communications, it’s important to understand where university presses stand in relation to commercial publishers, but also the space that books occupy as opposed to journals....Rather than a complement, which might imply subsidiary, I see e-books and aggregated digital content as equally important to print for scholarly books," writes Lisa M. Bayer of the University of Georgia Press. John Sherer writes: "At one of the last O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing conferences I heard a smart person say, 'The page is no longer primary.' For most of our customers, print books are still primary. But university presses operate in a file-based ecosystem....I think 10 years ago we all imagined we were converting from vinyl to CD and we’d sell e-books instead of print books. But we were actually going from vinyl to Spotify, with a robust market for analog."
• University Presses Under Fire (Scott Sherman, The Nation, 5-26-14) How the Internet and slashed budgets have endangered one of higher education’s most important institutions.
• University Presses: “Under Fire” or Just Under the Gun (Like the Rest of Us)? (Rick Anderson, The Scholarly Kitchen blog, "What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing" 5-19-14)
• Can the University Press Be Saved From Itself? (Aden Nichols, The Digital Warrior-Poet, 5-26-14). The "publish or perish" principle in academia creates pressure to write and publish books nobody will read in a setting with few tenure track positions. Why not publish books people want to read? "Demoting and digitizing the monograph, turning scholars into masterful storytellers, and aggressively marketing those stories to a general audience may not single-handedly rescue the university press from oblivion, but it sure can’t hurt."
• Steps Down the Evolutionary Road | Periodicals Price Survey 2014 (Stephen Bosch and Kittie Henderson, Library Journal, 4-11-14). "Budget compression, price inflation, and questions of value will collide with open access trends, government mandates, new evaluation tools such as altmetrics, and the increased distribution of information offered by research platforms and social networks."
• University Presses: Homes for Tomes (The Economist, 10-29-13) An often ignored part of the publishing industry faces unique challenges. Many university presses are under financial pressure—after all, “academic monographs are considered a splash today if they sell just 800 copies in their first year”—but they are not-for-profit arms of their universities whose job is to publish works of scholarly importance. This forces them to balance intellectual impact with commercial interest." They face the same problems as commercial publishers, such as digitization and the decline of bookstores, plus some of their own: the rising cost of scientific journals (competing for library $$), increasing scrutiny of press subsidies. "Most will survive thanks to the machinations of the university system. To win tenure, academics need to publish their research, and university presses are hungry outlets. However, no press wants to be mistaken for a vanity publisher, so most of them try to publish academics from other institutions."
The magazine argues that “the machinations of the university system” will keep many presses afloat. This is because “to win tenure, academics need to publish their research, and university presses are hungry outlets. However, no press wants to be mistaken for a vanity publisher, so most of them try to publish academics from other institutions.”'
• Stanford Moves to Stop Supporting Its University Press (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Education, 4-29-19) Scholars question decision -- particularly as it comes from one of the world's wealthiest universities and will limit publishing by a highly respected press. "The Stanford press actually brings in about $5 million a year in book sales, a sum that is impressive compared to sales of many scholarly publishers. But it has also depended on support from the university, which in recent years has provided $1.7 million annually."
• Authors, Keep Your Copyrights. You Earned Them. (Authors Guild, 8-13-15) 'Most trade publishers do not ask for an outright assignment of all exclusive rights under copyright; their contracts usually call for copyright to be in the author’s name. But it’s another story in the world of university presses. Most scholarly publishers routinely present their authors with the single most draconian, unfair clause we routinely encounter, taking all the exclusive rights to an author’s work as if the press itself authored the work....the copyright grab remains endemic among university presses...And yet every author we know of who requested to retain copyright was able to get the publisher to change the agreement. The problem is that most academic authors—particularly first-time authors feeling the flames of “publish or perish”—don’t even ask.' See The Authors Guild Fair Contract Initiative. Academic authors often feel they have no choice but to accept those terms as it is "publish or perish" in academia. As the AG's model contract emphasizes: “CAUTION: Do not allow the publisher to take your copyright or to publish the copyright notice in any name other than yours. Except in very unusual circumstances, this practice is not standard in the industry and harms your economic interests. No reputable publisher should demand that you allow it to do so.” "Yet the copyright grab remains endemic among university presses."
• How a Digital Textbook Initiative Achieved Liftoff (Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed, 5-2-18) Indiana University wants other institutions to absorb insights gleaned from its fast-growing digital textbook initiative. "Under the inclusive access model, publishers offer their content on a digital learning platform for significantly less than the cost of a physical textbook. Instructors choose before the beginning of the semester whether to secure and assign an etext. If they do, students pay the lower cost as a required course fee, in exchange for access to the textbook for the entirety of their academic career at Indiana."
• Rights and contracts for academic authors (another section on Writers and Editors website)
• Citation and reference styles (on footnotes, endnotes, documentation)
• A Farewell to Ibid (Cathy Hannabach and Sarah Grey, ACES, 4-26-19) The Chicago Manual of Style (the bible for book copyeditors) has released its 17th edition. CMS is retiring ibid., the abbreviation (short for Latin ibidem, or “in the same place”) used to tell readers that the endnote or footnote they’re looking at refers to the same source as the previous note. Ibid. has confused generations of young readers. Now: use shortened citations on repeats. Some of us oldies will miss Ibid.
• Citation Style Chart (PDF, OWL, Purdue Online Writing Lab) A side-by-side comparison of APA, MLA, and CMS styles. Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) to read PDFs.
• How to Cite an Author and Editor in APA Style (Joan Whetzel, Pen & the Pad, 4-17-17) The American Psychological Association (APA) requires in-text citations tied to a List of Works Cited and is specific about how it wants sources cited.
• Council of Science Editors Documentation Style (The Writing Center, U of Wisconsin-Madison)
• MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL, Purdue Online Writign Lab)
• The Complete Guide to MLA & Citations (Citation Machine)
• Style Manuals and Citation Guides (PDF, Sam Stevens and Emily Werrell, Duke University) Guidelines for undergraduates, graduates, and professionals, in various disciplines, forms of publication, etc. An excellent overview, guidelines, and bibliography.
• Citation boosting, manipulation, and the "impact factor" (a mini-section under Academic Publishing, not-to-be desired approaches)
• Macros and software for references, citations, footnotes and endnotes Reference management systems automatically renumber references when they are moved around but endnotes need to be finalized before importing from Word to InDesign (design software).
Design of references
• All About Footnotes and Endnotes with InDesign (carijansen.com)
• InDesign scripts (Peter Kahrel), including this: Various foot- and endnote tools, including Convert footnotes to endnotes
• Citation-boosting episode leads to editors’ resignations, university investigation (Retraction Watch, 3-3-17) Heart of story is about an editor violating ethical guideline: “any manipulation of citations (e.g. including citations not contributing to a manuscript’s scientific content, citations solely aiming at increasing an author’s or a journal’s citations) is regarded as scientific malpractice.”
• Citation Performance Indicators — A Very Short Introduction (Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, 5-15-17)
• Footnotes, Endnotes, & References: Uses & Abuses Rich Adin, An American Editor, 3-29-10) A philosophy of citations.
• Title Suppression from Journal Citation Reports . What Journal Citation Report measures to consider if a journal is citation stacking.
• Citations, self-citations, and citation stacking (Editor Resources, Taylor & Francis) Citation metrics, the impact factor, self-citations, and citation stacking.
• When a Journal Sinks, Should the Editors Go Down with the Ship? (Phil Davis, The Scholarly Kitchen, 10-6-14) "The equivalent of a shipwreck happens each year as Thomson Reuters suspends dozens of journals from the Journal Citation Report (JCR)–an annual publication that reports the Impact Factor for thousands of titles–for engaging in publication behaviors that distort the citation record. This year, 38 titles were suspended from receiving an Impact Factor: 23 for high levels of self-citation and 15 for “citation stacking” an ambiguous label to what most would consider unambiguously as a citation cartel." "Is there a way to target those who are responsible for gaming the system without punishing innocent authors?" And he proposes a system. Do read the comments.
• When your opinions conflict [with] your employer’s position on open access (Heinrich Mallison, SpotOn, 10-17-12)
• Somewhat off-topic:Macros etc. for finalizing references, citations, footnotes and endnotes
• Beall's List of Predactory Journals and Publishers (it was down; now it is up again!)
• Paywall Watch Reporting wrongly paywalled articles.
• How to Access Paywalled Scientific Journal Articles (Beth Skwarecki, Lifehacker, 7-11-18)
---Open Access Button (Avoid Paywalls, Request Research--available through this website or as a browser extension)
---Unpaywall (an open database of 22,463,209 free scholarly articles, harvested from Open Access). Get the extension.
---PubMed (health and medicine-related articles). If the paper is available through PubMed Central, there will be a link. You’ll also often find a link to the paper where it lives on the journal’s website, and some of these are free anyway.
---Google Scholar. Search through Google Scholar. If there’s a free full text version available, it will be listed in the right-hand column of the search results. Or do a search for the authors--their name plus the name of their institution should get you to the right person--and see whether they link to their papers.
• The 10 Principles of Plan S (DOAJ, 9-11-18) The key principle of Plan S is: “After 1 January 2020 scientific publications on the results from research funded by public grants provided by national and European research councils and funding bodies, must be published in compliant Open Access Journals or on compliant Open Access Platforms.” (These principles only cover Europe and focus on science and that they may not be applicable on all continents or to the humanities.)
• Elsevier are corrupting open science in Europe (The Guardian, 6-29-18) Elsevier - one of the largest and most notorious scholarly publishers - are monitoring Open Science in the EU on behalf of the European Commission. Jon Tennant argues that they cannot be trusted. "First, Elsevier has a notorious history of campaigning against openness in order to protect its paywall-based business.... Second, many EU member states are currently turning against Elsevier due to its anti-open business practices, high and ever-increasing prices, and dangerously powerful size as a commercial publisher....The European Commission should remove Elsevier as sub-contractor and look into better options such as an independent group with no conflicts of interest. It is time to stand up to these ruthless mega-corporations before they corrupt Open Science."
• To Catch a Predatory Publisher (Bill Sullivan, PLoS blogs, 10-4-17) "What separates a predatory publisher from a legitimate science publisher? Both charge you large sums of money for you to do all the work, but the latter employs a rigorous peer-review process that ensures the articles they publish have been properly vetted. Sting operations have revealed that predatory journals will publish absolute gibberish, proving they are phonies who just want to make fast cash."
• The “problem” of predatory publishing remains a relatively small one and should not be allowed to defame open access (Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant, London School of Economics, 9-25-18) "The investigation and many press releases and media attention suggest a link between predatory publishing and open access publishing, or at least traditional publishing models and research integrity." "To Tom Olijhoek and Jon Tennant, the profile afforded to investigations of this type causes some to overstate the problem of predatory publishing, while often discrediting open access publishing at the same time. The real problem here is one of education around questionable journals, and should not distract from more urgent questions around the shifting scholarly ecosystem."
• Open Science MOOC (founded by Jon Tennant--a mission-driven project to help make ‘Open’ the default setting for all global research) See its box on "Why Open Science."
• A Scholarly Sting Operation Shines a Light on ‘Predatory’ Journals (Gina Kolata, NY Times, 3-22-17) A group of researchers created a sting operation to draw attention to and systematically document the seamy side of open-access publishing. "Traditional journals typically are supported by subscribers who pay a fee while authors pay nothing to be published. Nonsubscribers can only read papers if they pay the journal for each one they want to see. Open-access journals reverse that model. The authors pay and the published papers are free to anyone who cares to read them. Publishing in an open-access journal can be expensive — the highly regarded Public Library of Science (PLOS) journals charge from $1,495 to $2,900 to publish a paper, with the fee dependent on which of its journals accepts the paper....The open-access business model spawned a shadowy world of what have been called predatory journals. They may have similar names to legitimate journals, but exist by publishing just about anything sent to them for a fee that can range from under $100 to thousands of dollars."
• Predatory Journals Hit by 'Star Wars' Sting (Neuroskeptic, Discover, 7-22-17)
• Avoiding Predatory Publishers in thePost-Beall World: Tips for Writers and Editors (PDF, Ray Hunziker, Journal of the American Medical Writers Association, Vol. 32: 3, 2017, pp. 113-15) Made public access by AMWA because of demand.
• Some journals say they are indexed in DOAJ but they are not . DOAJ is the Directory of Open Access Journals.
• Why do authors publish in predatory journals? (Serhat Kurt, Wiley, 1-18-18) Four main themes: social identity threat, unawareness, high pressure, and lack of research proficiency.
• Predatory open access publishing (Wikipedia). Predatory open access publishing is an exploitative academic publishing "business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not)." You can learn a lot from this Wikipedia entry (as it was when I read it).
• Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too) (Gina Kolata, NY Times, 4-7-13) Some "researchers are now raising the alarm about what they see as the proliferation of online journals that will print seemingly anything for a fee. They warn that nonexperts doing online research will have trouble distinguishing credible research from junk. 'Most people don’t know the journal universe,” Dr. Goodman said. “They will not know from a journal’s title if it is for real or not.'”
• Charles Oppenheim Asks How Big a Problem Are Articles That Should Be OA but End Up Behind Paywalls (Scholarly Kitchen, 5-15-17) Oppenheim investigates a report on Ross Mounce’s blogabout commercial scholarly publishers failing to make freely available open access articles for which the authors paid a hefty article processing charge. He interviews people at Paywall Watch, which published Are commercial publishers wrongly selling access to openly licensed scholarly articles?, which says: "The question really boils down to: Who owns the copyright to the article? And did the copyright holder grant permission to Elsevier for commercial use?" The "Paywallwatch site has recorded instances, especially by Oxford University Press, Wiley and Elsevier, of such problems."Authors of those articles rightfully claimed refunds, but readers paid for access to open access articles (which limited the audience for the articles). Retraction Watch interviews patient advocate and open-access advocate Graham Steel, the editor of Paywall Watch, about How upset should we get when articles are paywalled by mistake?. Among other things, retractions are also often behind a paywall.
• Diamond Open Access, Societies and Mission (Robert Harington, Scholarly Kitchen, 6-1-17) Of the many varieties of OA journal, Gold OA has taken root as the primary model, but is less than a perfect model, and sits alongside Green OA, emerging as a flawed alternative to Gold. And then there is Diamond OA, a form of Gold OA that does not include a requirement for authors to pay article processing charges (APCs). The economics of society and journal funding.
• The future of publishing (A special issue of Nature). After nearly 400 years in the slow-moving world of print, the scientific publishing industry is suddenly being thrust into a fast-paced online world of cloud computing, crowd sourcing and ubiquitous sharing. Long-established practices are being challenged by new ones – most notably, the open-access, author-pays publishing model. In this special issue, Nature takes a close look at the forces now at work in scientific publishing, and how they may play out over the coming decades.
• Avoiding fake journals and judging the work in real ones (Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science, 10-13-15). Beryl guides you to Think. Check. Submit., a site that "offers a checklist for evaluating a journal’s legitimacy." She concludes: "In a sense, both the challenge of overflow and the existence of predatory journals have at least one cause in common: the need for academic scientists to maintain a high publication rate in order to build reputations, win funding, and secure jobs or promotions."
• This is the site (now taken down) long maintained by academic librarian Jeffrey Beall: , Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers On Facebook: Beall's List of Predatory Open-Access Publishers. See "Why did Beall's List of potential predatory publishers go dark?" (Retraction Watch, with 70 comments), which as of 1-31-17 links to some cached pages. (However, when I accessed them I got a warning from Symantec that there was danger accessing them and other "phishing" sites.) And Mystery as controversial list of predatory publishers disappears (Science, 1-17-17) and No More Beall's List (Carl Straumshein, Insider Higher Education, 1-18-17) Librarian removes controversial list of "predatory" journals and publishers, reportedly in response to "threats and politics," including threatened lawsuits. Some argue against blacklists like Beall's, preferring whitelists (listing accepted journals), because being accidentally listed as predatory could be so damaging. Whitelists include DOAJ
• What Happened to Jeffrey Beall’s List of (Allegedly) Predatory Publishers? (Emil Karlsson, Debunking Denialism, 1-16-17)
• A listing of predatory academic journals and publishers. (an open source list)
• Missing those lists? Never fear.... (Walt at Random, Jan. 2017) Recommends a reliable alternative to Beall's list of "pppredatory publishers and journals."
• Feds Target 'Predatory' Publishers (Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, 8-29-16) The Federal Trade Commission is "marking a line in the sand" with its first lawsuit against publishers that take advantage of scholars wishing to publish in open-access journals.
• OMICS International Totally Sucks (Jeffrey Beall, scholarly communications librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver. on his blog Scholarly Open Access, 7-5-16): "I call on the Indian Government to take action against OMICS International and all India-based publishers who exploit and victimize researchers. Not carrying out a bona fide peer review in journals claiming to be peer reviewed is an act of publishing misconduct, a breach of publishing ethics."
• Who Really Lost Iraq? (Dominic Tierney, The Atlantic, 1-21-16) Obama didn’t turn victory into defeat. There was no victory.
• By Heart (The Atlantic) Authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.
• The harsh reality of non-fiction writing (Mark Medley, Globe and Mail, 2-27-15, updated 2015) For a Canadian writer, "For a lot of serious non-fiction, the audience is maybe 3,000 to 5,000. And that is not going to earn a large advance." An academic job helps; the magazine industry (traditionally "both incubator and funder") is in decline. Finding an American publisher helps.
• Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash (Rutger Bregman, TED Talk, April 2017) He makes the case for guaranteed basic income.
• 19 Surprising Facts I Learned When I Became a Dad (Dave Mosher, Business Insider, 6-19-17) No. 7. Loud noises can damage a foetus' hearing. No. 8. Babies open their eyes inside the womb and can see light from the outside.
• It’s not pain but ‘existential distress’ that leads people to assisted suicide, study suggests (Ariana Eunjung Cha, WaPo, 5-26-17)
• Understanding Islam (Matt Davies, video of a lecture, 1-10-16--Part 1 of 3). See also Part 2 of 3 and Part 3. (H/T Pat S., who said, "This is the best exposition of Islam I've seen.")
• The lonely journey of a Palestinian cancer patient (William Booth and Sufian Taha, WaPo, 5-26-17) "The Israelis can refuse permits to younger family members, especially males, for security reasons. Doctors at the Victoria hospital said sometimes even mothers and fathers can be denied permits to accompany their sick children."
• Born Before Stonewall (Barry Yeoman, Medium, 6-1-17) "This month marks the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, a defining moment in the struggle for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality. LGBTQ Americans still face isolation and discrimination. But we in the Baby Boom are also helping redefine what it means to grow older."
• Touching the Void: Making Sense of Russian Jews’ Views on Russian News (Danielle Tcholakian, New York Jewish Life, 6-1-17) "Soviet immigrants tend to favor the Republican party in national elections, balking at the “big government” elements of the Democratic platform that resemble socialism—welfare, immigration, access to healthcare and education. Love of Trump, as a paragon of free-market capitalism, makes sense. But how is that reconciled with those same immigrants’ distaste for Russian President Vladimir Putin..."
• What is the Authors Alliance? May 15 note from Authors Guild board member T.J. Stiles to the San Francisco Writers Grotto, criticizing the Authors Alliance. "However, if you are an academic, or scorn the idea of making a living from writing as a quest for “fame and fortune,” the Authors Alliance may be the organization for you. If you think, in our digital age, that the biggest problem facing authors is how hard it is to give your work away for free, it’s for you. If you think you’ve got too much power over people who copy and distribute your work without your permission, by all means sign up....It’s an astroturf organization. It was not organized by authors, nor is it governed by them. The four directors are Berkeley academics. The executive director and her right-hand-woman are law professors who have made many proposals to reduce copyright protections for authors and restrict remedies for infringement. (I take that wording from the writings of Prof. Samuelson.) As Samuelson stated in Publishers Weekly, the organization is intended to represent the interests of authors who don’t write for a living—academics and hobbyists. See my comments below on the financial interests they represent, and how they are at odds with those of authors who write for a living."
The Authors Guild sent out a note later that week: "Some of our academic authors have written to make clear they don’t share the radical copyright views this organization espouses....Far too often, copyright is used to separate scholars and scientists from their intellectual property. Scientific and scholarly journals frequently insist on seizing the author’s copyright as part of the price of publication. For scientists in particular this can be galling: their work is usually publicly funded, yet privately locked up."
• Founder of Just-Launched Authors Alliance Talks to PW (Peter Brantley's interview with law professor Pamela Samuelson, Publishers Weekly 5-15-14)
• Authors Alliance launches, to the chagrin of the Authors Guild (Kirsten Reach, Melville House, 5-28-14). The problem: "the Authors Alliance—founded by Berkeley academics interested in providing support for authors interested in sharing their content for free—is causing some disruption at the Authors Guild, an advocacy group for published writers...focused on copyright and fair contract terms." Find a way to work together, writes Reach.
• Authors Guild, Authors Alliance Battle Over Speaking for Writers (Mercy Pilkington, goodEreader, 5-18-14) Open access is the slippery slope T.J. Stiles was attacking. "AG’s feelings about a group that supports access to information by the masses should come as no surprise given its lawsuits against both Google and the Hathi Trust for scanning and digitizing rare works that have been locked away in academic libraries all this time....Authors Alliance co-founder Pamela Samuelson gave an interview to Publisher’s Weekly that very clearly illustrates how the organization isn’t even on the same radar as the Authors Guild, instead planning to advocate for authors who are interested in making their works available on a widespread, no cost basis [that is, free]."
• Joan Didion, The Art of Nonfiction No. 1 (interviewed by Hilton Als)
• Gay Talese, The Art of Nonfiction No. 2 (interviewed by Katie Roiphe)
• John McPhee, The Art of Nonfiction No. 3 (interviewed by Peter Hessler)
• Janet Malcolm, The Art of Nonfiction No. 4 (interviewed by Katie Roiphe)
• Emmanuel Carrère, The Art of Nonfiction No. 5 (interviewed by Susannah Hunnewell)
• Geoff Dyer, The Art of Nonfiction No. 6 (interviewed by Matthew Spektor) "Fiction, nonfiction—the two are bleeding into each other all the time."
• Adam Phillips, The Art of Nonfiction No. 7 (interviewed by Paul Holdengräber)
• Jane and Michael Stern, The Art of Nonfiction No. 8 (interviewed by Sadie Stein).
• Ink Think Tank | Nonfiction Authors in Your Classroom
• The Nonfiction Minute (blogs for students and teachers,
• Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.). Rethinking nonfiction for kids.
• Teaching ideas (for teaching nonfiction writing and literacy)
• 5 Ways to Lift the Level of Non-Fiction Writing (Leah Mermelstein)
• my handy-dandy process for helping kids write nonfiction based on other sources (Wonder Farm, notes from a home-schooling mama)
• Nailing the Personal Essay (by Adair Lara) She writes in particular about the elements and structure of the narrative essay. Often the structure of the essay is a story (with these elements: character, problem, struggle, epiphany, and resolution). The character is you. In an essay, the moment of change is an epiphany (what magazines call the payoff, or take-home point).
• How I Won My Third Essay Contest (Tammy Delatorre on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-24-19), Excellent on the process of revising an essay from "almost won" to winning status -- and getting to the heart of the matter.
• Michelle Nijhuis’s Brief Guide to Writing Reported Essays (The Open Notebook, 2-23-16) By the author of The Science Writers' Essay Handbook: How to Craft Compelling True Stories in Any Medium.
• Craft Essays (Brevity, several helpful essays on the craft of writing essays). For example, in The Ethics of Empathy: Techniques for Portraying Antagonists in Contemporary Memoir, Wendy Staley Colbert explores seven techniques for portraying antagonists in such a way that readers feel both empathy and antipathy for them, after quoting Vivian Gornick: "In all imaginative writing, sympathy for the subject is necessary not because it is the politically correct or morally decent posture to adopt but because an absence of sympathy shuts down the mind...For the drama to deepen, we must see the loneliness of the monster and the cunning of the innocent."
• Revising the Personal Essay – 8 Tips to Self Edit for Success! (Amy Paturel, on Beyond Your Blog, 4-18-16). “Watch for throat clearing in your opening. Most early drafts come with at least three lines of throat clearing that can easily go...” and "As an essayist, your job is to move beyond the personal and capture the universal." See also her piece 8 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Writing Personal Essays (Paturel, Beyond Your Blog, 1-25-16).
• In Defense of Themelessness (Randon Billings Noble, Brevity, 4-23-19)
• Reflections on Writing the Short Essay: Hesitations and Possibilities (Vanessa Calderon, Casey Dawson, Grant Dufrene, et al, Essay Daily, 2-4-19)
• In Praise of Ambiguity: The Lyric Essay in 2019 by Zoë Bossiere & Erica Trabold (Essay Daily, 3-4-19)
• How to conquer the dreaded college application essay (Emmet Rosenfeld, Wash Post Magazine, 11-13-16) Good before and after examples, showing how essay improved.
•650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing (New York Times, 10-20-16)
• How to Write a ‘Lives’ Essay (Hugo Lindgren, The 6th Floor, Eavesdropping on the NY Times Magazine, 3-8-12). For examples, see the archive: The Best of Our Lives Column.
• What’s an essay, what’s journalism? (Richard Gilbert, 1-10-12) Newspapers need " reporters and writers to provide the emotional reality of the news, for it is the emotions, not the facts, that most engage and excite readers and in the end are the heart of most stories."
• First, an essay: Two on Two by Brian Doyle. Then, an interview about it: Interview with Brian Doyle: From Toughness to Tenderness (Karen Rosica, Creative Nonfiction, Issue 9, 1998)
• The 5 Worst Kinds of Freelance Writing Jobs (Carol Tice, Make a Living Writing) and Get Paid to Write: 26 Sites That Pay Freelancers $100+ (also Carol Tice) come to the same sad conclusion: Writing personal essays is not a reliable way to feed the family for most writers.
• The Personal Touch: Using Anecdotes to Hook a Reader (Theresa MacPhail, Vitae, 5-29-15) If "you have a timely topic for an 800-to-1,200 word nonacademic piece, and you want to grab an editor’s attention, the first thing you should be thinking about is the 'hook' for your lede....The trick is to make the “I” universal enough that readers can invoke themselves in the narrative." Thread the anecdote throughout the piece and consider ending in a "callback," "gesturing back to the beginning."
• Of Bedrock: Reading Michel de Montaigne's “Of Practice” (Micah McCrary, Essay Daily, 7-2016). Montaigne's own wandering mind took him to a place of reflection in order to better make sense of the death-subject, and in many of our own essays today we can see what we've learned from Montaigne's writing moves in “Of practice”: 1) that essays, by their very own meditative nature, employ narratives without necessarily becoming them, 2) that a linear (and non-digressive) form is difficult to maintain if an essay is going to essay, and 3) that in order to write our “honest-to-God” essays we need to make meaning out of our narratives—because that's what essays are supposed to do. Otherwise, we might as well try our hands at short stories."
• How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell. An interesting modern take on Montaigne, including his essays, which Sarah B. puts in historical context. I listened to this and then bought the paperback, so I could go through the book more thoughtfully.
• The internet is an ideal home for the essay (Lorraine Berry, The Guardian, 11-5-15) "[E]ven as the internet has wreaked havoc on literary culture, American women have been fomenting a renaissance in the essay....Way back before the dawn of Netscape Navigator, the future for public intellectuals looked grim. The academy was clotted with jargon that excluded all but the privileged few. They read each other’s essays, but the rest of us did not. The internet provided the space where writers could re-establish the essay’s importance to the general reader."
• When Structure Sets You Free (Nell Boeschenstein on Jane Friedman's blog, 8-27-15)
• Picturing the Personal Essay: A Visual Guide (Tim Bascom, Creative Nonfiction, Issue #49, Summer 2013)
• The Essayification of Everything (Christy Wampole, Opinionator, NY Times, 5-26-13). "I believe that the essay owes its longevity today mainly to this fact: the genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary America."..."When I say 'essay,' I mean short nonfiction prose with a meditative subject at its center and a tendency away from certitude. Much of the writing encountered today that is labeled as 'essay' or 'essay-like' is anything but."
• Essay and Memoir: writing about what changed you (by Adair Lara)
• Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Dinty W. Moore)
• On Essays
• Essay Prize
• Essay Daily (a blog and a filter for, and an ongoing conversation about, essays and magazine of interest). Great blogrolls: Homes for the essay; Essays and Resources. Here's a sample: Deep Roots (Thinking About “Koreans With Guns”) (Julija Šukys, Essay Daily, 12-8-18) The text for this essay about an essay (Sam Cha's "Koreans with Guns") is only 619 words long, but the 61 footnotes total 2695 words. The real essay is in the footnotes. "Cha reminds us that the real story often lies buried, hidden from the surface. You have to excavate to find it. You have to dig for nuance." "In the end, what does an essay about a shopkeeper shooting a young girl in 1991 have to do with a mass college shooting in 2007? What connects these two events beyond the fact that both shooters were Korean?"
• The Wayward Essay (Parul Sehgal, NY Times, 12-28-12).
• The Greatest Nature Essay Ever (Brian Doyle, Orion Magazine Nov.-Dec. 2008)
• Playing for Keeps: Intensity and Creativity in the Lyric Essay. Margaret Kimball's notes on a panel discussion at the AWP conference. Panelists: Steven Harvey, Kathryn Winograd, Robert Root (in absentia), Rebecca McClanahan (posted on Brevity's blog)
• The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, ed. by Phillip Lopate. Two collections of Lopate's essays: Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays and Bachelorhood: Tales of the Metropolis. Among notes students of his memoir classes (in this case Roger Martin) have taken: To turn yourself (your “I”) into a character, distance from yourself. To give “I” a meaning requires building the self into a character. People must be knowledgeable enough about themselves, and free-willed enough, to surprise us.
• T Clutch Fleischmann and Torrey Peters on trans essays (Essay Daily, 1-4-16). "Essay is, at its core, about figuring out a way to say the things that have not yet been said, that seem unsayable. You don’t get the crutch of fictionalization, there’s no set narrative structure, and despite some appealing attempts at creating an essay canon by D’Agata et. al, there’s not a long-standing formal tradition. In essay, the subject dictates all: form, structure, style. The essay is so incredibly trans: you’ve found some unsayable truth, now throw out all the rules that keep you from saying it."
• Writing a Winning Personal Admissions Essay (by Jim Bock, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Swarthmore College), on PBS)
• What Can Sonnets Teach Us about Essays? The Benefit of Strict Form (Chelsea Biondolillo Brevity, 9-12-13)
• A Student's Guide to Writing a Scholarship Essay (StudentScholarshipSearch.com)
• Winning personal essays in 500 words or less (application help, i-studentglobal)
• The Power and Glory of Sportwriting (Nicholas Dawidoff, NY Times 7-28-12). "...for really good writers, sports offer an opportunity to express all the pleasure and passion of life."
Personal Essays. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, ed. by Phillip Lopate. Two collections of Lopate's essays: Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays and Bachelorhood: Tales of the Metropolis. Among notes students of his memoir classes (in this case Roger Martin) have taken: To turn yourself (your “I”) into a character, distance from yourself. To give “I” a meaning requires building the self into a character. People must be knowledgeable enough about themselves, and free-willed enough, to surprise us. See also
• Essay and Memoir: writing about what changed you (by Adair Lara)
• Between Song and Story: Essays for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Sheryl St Germain and Margaret Whitford (46 writers explore the range of the contemporary essay)
• Essay Daily. Subscribe to this and you will get a link to a good essay almost daily, from writers known and unknown, on a range of topics. Excellent blog rolls, too, under these headings: Homes for the Essay: Journals; Homes for the Essay: Books & Chapbooks; Essays & Resources (including essay contests)
• Object Lessons An essay and book series about the hidden lives of ordinary things, from Hancocks to flames, negatives to typings. For example, Candy Land Was Invented for Polio Wards (Alexander B. Joy, The Atlantic, 7-28-19) A schoolteacher created the popular board game, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, for quarantined children--for whom it was a welcome distraction, which gave immobilized patients a liberating fantasy of movement.
• How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, an essay collection exploring his education as a man, writer, and activist—and how we form our identities in life and in art.
• It came from the sewers of London: the utterly disgusting (yet fascinating) fatberg (Joanna Scutts, Nieman Storyboard,4-12-18) In The New York Times Magazine's quirky "Letter of Recommendation" column, Nicola Twilley examines the charms of the "fatberg" -- 'a “monstrous subterranean clot the length of 22 double-decker buses with the weight of a blue whale,” born in the sewers of London.' "The main challenge of the column, Staley finds, is narrative momentum, finding an arc that allows readers to “settle in” to a story. Although 900 words isn’t long, it’s too long to just hear writers simply wax rhapsodic about something they love — it’s not an advertisement, after all, but a hybrid form of the personal essay."
• 50 Amazing Examples of Short Memoir Essay Writing (The Electric Typewriter) Links to short memoirs by famous essay writers. See also 150 Great Articles and Essays
• The Surprising Story of Eartha Kitt in Istanbul (Hilal Isler, Paris Review, 10-1-18) Do listen to Eartha Kitt singing Üsküdar’a Gider İken” (YouTube), mentioned in the essay (and a good argument for sound-and-visual effects).
• Questionnaire for My Grandfather (Kim Adrian, The Gettysburg Review, Winter 2009) Essay in the form of a questionnaire, disguising a checklist of events and factors that shaped one family's personal history, often in negative ways.
• This is what happened when I Googled “morning after pill” (Abigail Rasminsky (my goddaughter), MotherWell, 1-13-17) A beautifully written personal essay. "Planned Parenthood knew what questions to answer even before I’d known which ones to ask."
• Midlife Crisis, Averted (Judith Wagner, Opinionator, NY Times, 6-19-08) 'I’d learned to speak — to emit opinions and to argue them — at the dinner table. Night after night, starting in my late childhood, it was me and my father locked in combat, fighting for the definition of my world. “At least they’re talking to each other,” my mother would tell her friends.'
• A Midlife Crisis, By Any Other Name (Jess Zimmerman, Hazlitt, 7-20-15) "Existential collapse is often treated as the domain of men coming face to face with their mortality. For me and other women, our crisis wasn’t how much life was left, but how much of it we gave away." Refreshingly honest, beautifully written.
• Neil Armstrong's Words—No, Not Those Words—Have Stuck With Me All These Years (Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 7-20-19) Read the piece, then this analysis: Romancing the moon in the reality of time (Trevor Pyle, Nieman Storyboard, 8-15-19) Pierce shines light on the "historical transcendence" of the moon landing by framing it in a darker context.
• I, Rodent (Maud Newton, The Awl, 1-5-16) Read it and then read 5(ish) Questions: Maud Newton and her science-meets-personal-essay “I, Rodent” (Kari Howard talks to Maude Newton about writing her essay, Nieman Storyboard, 8-10-17). The writer talks about her touching piece in The Awl, in which she intersperses disturbing facts about genetic engineering with her lifelong identification with mice. “I kept trying to finish the essay, but the end wasn’t congealing. Eventually I asked myself, What am I avoiding here? What am I embarrassed to reveal?”
• As A Native American, Here’s What I Want My Fellow Americans To Know About Thanksgiving (Corinne Oestreich, Huffpost, 11-22-18)
• Kids (Lisa Renee, Hairpin, Medium, 6-9-17) Looking for small, irrational, incompetent, freeloader roommates with rage issues and separation anxiety? Have kids.
• Personal History (a wonderful series of essays in the New Yorker, series described here.
• 50 Essays Guaranteed to Make You a Better Person (Emily Temple, Flavorwire, 8-25-14)
• The Next American Essay (ed. John D'Agata). "A literary tour of lyric essays written by the masters of the craft."
• The Best Magazine Articles Ever (KK, Cooltools)
• The Ten Greatest Essays, Ever (lists by various authors--a good reading list!)
• The Same River Twice by David Quammen
• Mister Lytle: An Essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan (read online at Paris Review) Doctors have bullied me about my weight for years, but obesity has given me the armor I needed to survive.
• Trash, the Library and a Worn, Brown Table: The 2019 College Essays on Money (Ron Lieber, Your Money, NY Times, 5-9-19) Each year, we ask high school seniors to submit college application essays they’ve written about work, money, social class and related topics. Here are five that moved us.
• I choose to be fat (Laura Bogart, Salon, 7-24-13)
• Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace (read online at Harpers)
• 17 Personal Essays That Will Change Your Life (Sandra Allen, Buzzfeed)
Generally, publications want to see the whole essay -- queries don't make sense because "pulling it off" is as important as the idea for the essay, if not more so. See a few specific venues after articles about venues
• Paying Markets for Personal Essays (Carol Celeste's excellent links, Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow)
• Duotrope (a subscription-based service for writers and artists that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, a personal submission tracker, and useful statistics. After a 7-day free trial period, subscriptions cost $5 per month or $50 a year.
• 19 Websites and Magazines That Want to Publish Your Personal Essays (The Write Life)
• Fifteen Paying Markets for Personal Essays and Life Stories (Chryselle D'Silva Dias, Writing-World.com)
• 5 Personal Essay Markets for Parents (Chantal Panozzo, Writer Abroad)
• Eight Good Markets for Writers Abroad, Part Two (Chantal Panozzo, Writer Abroad)
• 20 Great Places to Publish Personal Essays (Meghan Ward, Writerland, 9-20-11)
• Great Sites For Publishing Your Personal Essays (Part 1) (Susan Maccarelli, Beyond Your Blog, 5-3-15) and 10 More Great Sites For Publishing Your Personal Essays (Part 2) (Susan Maccarelli, Beyond Your Blog, 6-28-15)
• Tips to Help You Publish Your Personal Essays (Sheila Bender, Writer's Digest 3-11-08)
• Submittable (submission management software that manages millions of submissions for thousands of organizations).
Many publications ask that you submit through Submittable (widely used submission management software). See How do I submit?
---Aeon (a magazine of ideas and culture. "We publish in-depth essays, incisive articles, and a mix of original and curated videos.") Contact info for submissions.
---Blunt Moms (Honest. Direct. Surprisingly Hilarious.)
---The Bold Italic (focus on California's Bay area, looks for strong POV and compelling personal style)
---Boston Globe Magazine
---Brain&Life (compelling personal experience about living with a neurologic disease or disorder—or caring for a person who does)
---Bustle (gear to women and lifestyle stories)
---Catapult (American and international fiction and nonfiction)
---Christian Science Monitor (The Home forum seeks upbeat, personal essays from 400 to 800 words and short poems)
---Club Mid (about life in the "messy middle")
---Coffee + Crumbs ("stories about motherhood, love, truth, and the good kind of heartache")
---Dame (for women who know better)
---Essay Daily. See excellent list and links to "Homes for the Essay" along lower right (gathered in three categories: Journals, Books & Chapbooks, Essays & Resources).
---Extra Crispy (about breakfast, brunch, or the culture of mornings)
---Full Grown People (the other awkward age)
---Kveller (about Jewish parenting)
---Lives (the New York Times magazine series of incisive personal essays or as-told-to-accounts)
---Modern Love (New York Times, 1,700 words max, a highly desired place to publish an essay)
---Motherwell (telling all sides of the parenting story)
---Narratively (original, untold true stories, told boldly)
---New Statesman America (rarely accept freelance)
---On Being (essays, columns, poetry, and more)
---Possibility of Change
---The Rumpus (a platform for marginalized voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere; stories that build bridges, tear down walls, and speak truth to power)
---Slate (pitch to the appropriate section)
---Slice Magazine ( short fiction, nonfiction, and poetry--fresh voices)
---The Sun (celebratory, fierce, unflinching, thoughtful, truthful, dark, darkly funny, tender")
---Tin House (alas, this fine literary magazine has stopped publishing essays)
The essays in the New York Times' Modern Love series are usually terrific and at least one writing teacher I know has her students read and critique them weekly, to learn how good essays are constructed. Read From ‘Lives’ to ‘Modern Love’: Writing Personal Essays With Help From The New York Times (Katherine Schulten, Lesson Plans, NY Times, 10-20-16)
Here are some examples from Modern Love:
• An Optimist’s Guide to Divorce (Elizabeth R. Covington, 11-24-17)
•We Didn’t Have a Plan, but the Baby Did (Carlos Kotkin, 6-12-14)
• The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap (Eve Pell, NY Times, 1-24-13)
• Agreeing to Accept and Move On (Elizabeth Koster, 7-31-14)
• A Student of Intimacy, Step by Step (Matthew Parker, 1-23-09). An ex-con learns about love.
• My Husband's New Son: A Choice Not as Easy as It Looked (Lisa Schlesinger, 5-30-13)
• When the Words Don't Fit (Sarah Healy, 10-27-11). On the difference between fantasy love and real love
• Friends Without Benefits (Hannah Selinger, 1-10-13)
• Chubby, Skinny, Accepting (Cole Kazdin, 1-3-13)
• Three Mothers, One Bond <(Jennifer Hauseman, 12-27-12)
• After the Affair (Judy Wachs, 11-23-12)
• Labels of Married Life, in a New Light (Margot Page, 1-18-13)
• A Role I Was Born to Play (Evan James, 11-14-12)
• Sleeping with the (Political) Enemy (Sheila Heen, 11-1-12)
• A Sister’s Comfort, if Not a Cure (Tara Ebrahimi, 12-13-12, on helping a brother with mental illness)
• Married, but Dancing by Myself (Teresa Link, 11-30-13, on marrying, but not for love)
• We Found Our Son in the Subway(Peter Mercurio, Townies [not Modern Love, but it belongs there too] Opinionator, 2-28-13).
The Modern Love Rejects site (essays rejected by the Times) seems to have closed up shop.
Books on the craft of nonfiction writing
"Ideas aren't magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down." ~ Lynn Abbey
• The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, edited with an excellent introduction by Phillip Lopate
• Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee.
"[Draft No. 4 is] not a general how-to-do-it manual but a personal how-I-did-it of richer depth―not bouillon cubes, but rich stock . . . McPhee lays it all out with the wit of one who believes that 'writing has to be fun at least once in a pale blue moon.'" ―Publishers Weekly
• The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing, by Francis Flaherty
• Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction by James Stewart
• Guide to Genealogical Writing by Penelope L. Stratton and Henry B. Hoff
• Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway
• Vernacular Eloquence: What Speech Can Bring to Writing by Peter Elbow
• Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, ed. Walt Harrington
• The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, ed. Alice LaPlante (how writers create -- for serious writing students and teachers)
• The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart's Truth into Literature, by Carol Bly (excellent -- you'll have to buy used copies as it's out of print)
• Writing the Personal Essay, an excellent quick guide to structuring a narrative essay, by Adair Lara (writer, teacher, writing coach, and author of Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay)
• The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick
• Story Building: Narrative Techniques for News and Feature Writers by Ndaeyo Uko
• Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, ed. Mark Kramer, Wendy Call (an excellent guide)
• Writing a Book That Makes a Difference, by Philip Gerard
• Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books, by Dan Poynter (his guide to self-publishing, repackaged)
Books on the craft of narrative nonfiction.
• Authors Guild
• American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA), professional association of freelance/independent journalists and nonfiction book writers, who share info about markets, writing rates, contracts, editors, agents, etc. Members have access to samples of successful query letters and book proposals, among other resources. Non-members may attend the annual conference; there is also a more advanced and smaller-group day for members only.
• Biographers International Organization (BIO--holds a great annual conference, publishes an excellent online newsletter)
• International Association of Professional Ghost Writers
• Nonfiction Authors Association (NFAA, Stephanie Chandler's organization, "an educational community to monetize your author business"), which attracts members with its free reports for authors annual Nonfiction Writers Conference. See directory of local chapters and blog.
• Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI
• Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
• Washington Biography Group and other biography groups
• Western Writers of America, Inc. (freelance writers of Western fiction and nonfiction)
• Major writers organizations
• Regional and specialty organizations for journalists
• Organizations for medical, health, and science writers
• Organizations for corporate, government, and technical communicators
• 6 Questions to Help Nonfiction Writers Find Their Niche (Erica Meltzer on Jane Friedman's blog, 9-11-18) How saturated in your market? Where are the niches? Are any successful titles self-published, and so on.
Groups I know little or nothing about:
• National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
• National Résumé Writers Association (NRWA)
• Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Career Coaches (PARW/CC)
Can we figure out a ‘unified theory of writing’? (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 7-6-12). "In a story, it’s Robert McKee’s inciting incident colliding with the safe patterns of daily life; in news, it’s a radical variation from the norm: Man bites dog."
Creating Nonfiction (Rachel Toor, Chronicle of Higher Education, 12-3-07). For more on the subject, see Narrative Nonfiction
Creating Scenes: The Yellow Test (Lee Gutkind, The Opinionator, NY Timnes 8-22-12). "Readers remember information longer — and are more likely to be persuaded by ideas and opinions — when it’s presented to them in scenes. This is why so many TV commercials are narrative."
Dictionaries, clarity, and the Supreme Court:
• Skip The Legalese And Keep It Short, Justices Say (Nina Totenberg, NPR's Morning Edition, 6-13-11, audio and transcript). Worth reading for the concluding anecdote alone.
• Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words by Adam Liptak (NY Times 6-13-11).
A Directory of Authors on Twitter (Jennifer Tribe). See the Guidelines.
Doing Documentary Work by Robert Coles. "A challenging exploration of documentary writing and photography, focusing on the ways in which researchers can affect, reshape, or misrepresent what they see." Read a chapter online.
18 strategies for brainstorming a title, an excellent guide to developing great titles, from Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers by Scott Norton, posted on Scrib'd
5 Questions to ask before you start to write your non-fiction book (Paul Lima, 5-26-12)'
• Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd (also good on the author-editor relationship). See The Special Relationship by Scott Stossel (WSJ book review, 1-17-13). A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and his longtime editor offer a guide to the craft of nonfiction.
• Hijacking History: SBOE Conservatives Rewrite American History Books (Brian Thevenot, The Texas Tribune, 1-12-10). A fascinating study of political influence shaping Texas social studies textbooks.
Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others . William Cronon surveys essential stages of the research process and different kinds of documents that can offer information and insights about the past
Literati.net (an online community--by invitation only--of published book authors, both fiction and nonfiction)
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The key elements of a sticky idea, they write, are simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories. Practical strategies for creating sticky ideas.
Max Holland on Nov. 22, 1963 (Neely Tucker, Wash Post, 7-24-08 on Holland's VERY thorough research on JFK's assassination)
Menand, Louis. Excellent New Yorker essay, The Historical Romance: Edmund Wilson's Adventures with Communism ( 3-24-03), in which Menand writes: "Intuitive knowledge—the sense of what life was like when we were not there to experience it—is precisely the knowledge we seek. It is the true positive of historical work." Read full essay at http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/03/24/030324crbo_books1.
Top 5 Reasons Nonfiction Authors Should Be Speakers, Too (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-12-12)
Top Ten Works of Journalism of the Decade, 2000-2009 (NYU Journalism Institute)
When the author isn't a writer: bringing in a ghost (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal, 8-5-08, on getting experts published). See also section on Book collaboration and ghostwriting.
Will the E-Book Kill the Footnote? (Alexandra Horowitz, NY Times, 10-7-11)
Writing History in the Digital Age (a born-digital, open-peer-reviewed volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, available online here and forthcoming in print and open-access digital formats from the University of Michigan Press for the Digital Humanities Series of its digitalculturebooks imprint)
Your Brain on Story: Why Narratives Win Our Hearts and Minds (Michele Wheldon, Pacific-Standard, 4-22-14) "Our craving and connection to story is so much more than a haphazard preference."
“The power of anecdote is so great that it has a momentum in and of itself.” Ira Glass contends, “no matter how boring the facts are,” with a well-told story, “you feel inherently as if you are on a train that has a destination.”