Writing for Publication – Workshop Notes

In case you want a recap on writing for publication, here is a break down of the EGO Workshop on Writing for Publication led by Dr. Bronwyn Williams on October 23, 2015. Thanks again to all who attended. 

Topics Discussed 

  • The process of pulling together his article “Speak for Yourself”
  • Thinking about ways of creating a book proposal – moving from dissertation to book proposal

*”Speak for Yourself? Power and Hybridity in the Cross-Cultural Classroom” – Taking a Seminar Paper through the Publication Process

  1. Began during Bronwyn’s PhD – came about in a comp theory course in which he had to write a “bibliographic essay”
  2. Presented at a MLA conference on this idea, which happened to be chaired by Doug Hesse [fortunate coincidence]
  3. Took a seminar on post-colonial theory
  4. Began to find the connections between these ideas – the theoretical lens came out of here
  5. Workshops on Writing Across the Curriculum [WAC program]
  6. Finding connections across these spaces and using conference presentations as an exploratory space.
  7. Not tons of citations in his published piece or a lot of ground clearing on how this fits into the pedagogy space.
  8. Not making the moves of citing lots of sources/groundwork, but focusing on “what’s new and how to get to the new”

*EGO members can access this article in the password protected Documents section of this site.

Tips for Publishing as Graduate Student 


  1. Lesson: It’s easy early on as a graduate student to feel like you have to write defensively and that you have to put a lot of theory into things – but published works have a lot less than that a lot of time.
  2. Resist the urge to spend so much time on setting up previous theory and focusing more on what’s new.
  3. Reflect on your own pedagogy through critical theory
  4. Start high when sending things out to publications [big name journals like Cs, CE, etc] – the worst thing that can happen is you are going to get rejected, get comments, and can rework it for another publication
  5. Send out your best work; you’re going to get reviews, you’re going to get comments regardless

One of 3 Things Happen After You Send an Article Out

  1. Acceptance – Yahoo! Congratulationsz8a
  2. Revise & Resubmit – Most common scenario; you don’t get it unless they mean it, so revise your piece using reviewer comments and resubmit!
  3. Rejection – It happens, but don’t let it bring you down. Keep working on the project and try it somewhere else.cay
    1. Six months to a year is a fair timeframe for getting a revise and resubmit done based on how much they are asking for – if it’s something minor, do it as quick as you can. Some publications also have their own deadlines to follow for R&R.
    2. Letter framing a resubmission = very important! It’s crucial that you frame how the author is going to read the revision:
      1. “Thanks… here’s what I’ve done to respond to the reviewer comments” and be specific in pointing to how you responded to the comments.
      2. Give a clear reason for why you might not have responded to one of the bigger comments and leave it open for more conversation like “In my revision I decided to not do X for these reasons…”
      3. No need to write a note for every small thing, just focus on the big ideas.

A Note on Reviewer Comments

  1. Negotiating between reviewer comments can be a challenge. For instance, one reviewer may say “Your paper is great!” and the other says “It’s terrible!” – what do you do with that?spchlss
    1. Reinforce what is great; a good editor should give you guidance on the reviewer comments in their email and sketch out what the key moves should be. Some editors don’t – and it’s okay to email an editor and say “I got two different sets of reviews, can you give me a sense of what to do here for the publication?”
  2. It’s normal to feel frustrated by reviewer comments.
    1. Consider: write a “fake letter” to the person who might have angered you. Don’t send it to anyone or anything, just to get all the frustration out.

Publishing a Book

  • Not every dissertation has to become a book, but the book is still often a standard for tenure – it’s good to think about how to work towards a book
  • “What might my dissertation look like if I was writing it as a book?”
  • If your committee allows it -> write it more as a book rather than as a dissertation form, you can save a lot of time turning it into a book. – no one publishes a book that is in the exact form of a dissertation
  • And if they don’t, you can still think through the ideas as chapters in a book
  • You have to do certain performances for a graduate committee that you won’t have to do for a book publication
  • Get to know the presses and the editors of the presses to think about where a book might fit
  • Networking is key – if you can get someone to put in a good word for you too, that’s also helpful.tumblr_mqasjqBITS1s11tiho1_500
  • Book proposals aren’t very long, 2-3 single spaced pages usually
  • Some presses have specific requirements for headings and areas to include, but the moves are the same across writing any book proposal

Key Moves in a Book Proposal

  • Here’s the conversation
  • Here’s my intervention
  • Here’s how I did it
  • This is what makes it distinctive
  • Table of contents
  • Markets and Competitions – where can this press sell it?
  • This is who is going to buy it – audiences [grad students, courses, people in other fields]
  • This is where it fits on the press’ list: it’s complimenting these other kinds of books you’ve already done
  • List possible reviewers for the book – who is connected in the realm and might read it favorably?
  • Annotated table of contents
  • NOTE: You don’t have to have a whole book written to send out a book proposal – here’s the two sample chapters, here’s the rest of it, here’s when I can have it done by, and see what happens.