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"This book is a wonderful addition to a graduate course on professional writing, to a writers' group in need of some structure, or even to the lone writer who needs assistance becoming an academic writer. "
—Chronicle of Higher Education
Wendy Laura Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success is a revolutionary approach to enabling academic authors to overcome their anxieties and produce the publications that are essential to succeeding in their fields. Each week, readers learn a particular feature of strong articles and work on revising theirs accordingly. At the end of twelve weeks, they send their article to a journal. This invaluable resource is the only guide that focuses specifically on publishing humanities and social science journal articles.
Has a proven record of helping graduate students and professors get published: This workbook, developed over a decade of teaching scholarly writers in a range of disciplines at UCLA and around the world, has already helped hundreds to publish their articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Demystifies the academic publishing process: This workbook is based on actual research about faculty productivity and peer review, students’ writing triumphs and failures, as well as the author’s experiences as a journal editor and award-winning author.
Proceeds step by manageable step: Within the context of clear deadlines, the workbook provides the instruction, exercises, and structure needed to revise a classroom essay, conference paper, dissertation chapter, master’s thesis, or unfinished draft into a journal article and send it to a suitable journal.
Targets the biggest writing challenges: This workbook focuses squarely on the most difficult tasks facing scholarly writers, such as getting motivated, making an argument, and creating a logical whole.
Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks can be used individually or in groups, and is particularly appropriate for graduate student professional development courses, junior faculty orientation workshops, post-doc groups, and journal article writing courses.
Wendy Laura Belcher is assistant professor of African literature at Princeton University in the Department of Comparative Literature and Center for African American Studies. She has taught journal article writing workshops in North America, Europe, and Africa.
Praise for Wendy Belcher and Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks
"A comprehensive, well-written and beautifully organized book on publishing articles in the humanities and social sciences that will help its readers write forward with a first-rate guide as good company. "
—Joan Bolker, author of Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day
“Humorous, direct, authentic … a seamless weave of experience, anecdote, and research.”
—Kathleen Mc Hugh, professor and director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Women
“A useful text that will be an excellent resource for any writer attempting to publish their work.”
—Larry Chandler, Graduate Student
“Wendy Belcher's book is revolutionizing the way younger scholars perceive academic publishing and radically transforming their level of access to it (and consequently to the profession). It is by far the most readable or practical guide to academic writing on the market.”
—Beth Goodhue, UCLA
“Wendy's guidance has been a tremendous help to me, and the book is great for grad students, junior faculty, or anyone who wants to learn how to write and publish more effectively.”
-Jake Dorman, The University of Kansas
“Your book struck such a nerve because there is a long chain of assumptions in academia that scholars should just know how to do certain things. The relief among faculty is palpable when I explain in groups that few of us — even those who have been published in journals — were ever taught properly. And although it helps everyone who cracks it, your book is especially a godsend for faculty from other cultures.” -Carole Sargent, GeorgetownUniversity
“Thanks for your wonderful book!”
-Georgina Green, Graduate Student
“Absolutely LOVE the book!”
-Karra Bikson, Graduate Student
"Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks is the one book I would most recommend to inexperienced academic authors in the humanities or social sciences who seriously wish to see their scholarly work in print. Other books may be quicker to read, but I doubt if any would ultimately prove to be as effective."
"Thorough, beautifully organized, and humane. This is a welcome light on a dark process."
Mary Jane Curry
"Belcher's book uses an interactive format to help writers develop a manuscript for submission from a pre-existing text such as a dissertation/thesis... When I used this book to teach writing for publication, doctorial students responded enthusiastically to the format and tone, which bolstered their confidence and enabled them to confront displacement activities."
"While addressing the sometimes-unsearchable field of scholarly writing and publishing, Wendy Belcher uses unpretentious, contemporary, and even witty prose that is simultaneously captivating and informative."
Introduction: Using This Workbook
Goals of the workbook. History of the workbook. Philosophy of the workbook. Pedagogy of the workbook.
General instructions. Using the workbook according to your temperament, discipline, or career stage. Using the workbook by yourself, with a writing partner, in a writing group, with coauthors, or to teach a class. Feedback to the author.
Week 1: Designing Your Plan for Writing
Instruction: Understanding feelings about writing. Keys to positive writing experiences. Designing a plan for submitting your article in twelve weeks.
Exercises: Selecting a paper for revision. Choosing your writing site. Designing your writing schedule. Anticipating and overturning writing obstacles.
Week 2: Starting Your Article
Instruction: Types of academic articles. Myths about publishable journal articles. What gets published and why. Abstracts as a tool for success. Getting started on your article revision.
Exercises: Hammering out your topic. Rereading your paper. Drafting your abstract. Reading a model article. Revising your abstract.
Week 3: Advancing Your Argument
Instruction: Common reasons why journals reject articles. Main reason journal articles are rejected: no argument. Making a good argument. Organizing your article around your argument.
Exercises: Drafting your argument. Reviewing your article for an argument. Revising your article around your argument.
Week 4: Selecting a Journal
Instruction: Good news about journals. The importance of picking the right journal. Types of academic journals: nonrecommended, questionable, and preferred. Finding suitable academic journals.
Exercises: Searching for journals. Evaluating academic journals. Matching your article to suitable journals. Reading relevant journals. Writing a query letter to editors. Making a final decision about which journal.
Week 5: Reviewing the Related Literature
Instruction: Reading the scholarly literature. Types of scholarly literature. Strategies for getting reading done. Identifying your relationship to the related literature. Avoiding plagiarism. Writing about others' research.
Exercises: Evaluating your current citations. Identifying and reading the related literature. Evaluating the related literature. Writing or revising your related literature review.
Week 6: Strengthening Your Structure
Instruction: On the importance of structure. Types of structures. Article structures in the social sciences and humanities. Solving structural problems. Revising for structure.
Exercises: Outlining a model article. Outlining your article. Restructuring your article.
Week 7: Presenting Your Evidence
Instruction: Types of evidence. Writing up evidence in the social sciences. Writing up evidence in the humanities. Revising your evidence.
Exercises: Discussing evidence in your field. Revisiting your evidence. Shaping your evidence around your argument.
Week 8: Opening and Concluding Your Article
Instruction: On the importance of openings. Revising your opening and conclusion.
Exercises: Revising your title. Revising your introduction. Revisiting your abstract, related literature review, and author order. Revising your conclusion.
Week 9: Giving, Getting, and Using Others' Feedback
Instruction: Types of feedback. Exchanging your articles.
Exercises: Sharing your article and getting feedback. Making a list of remaining tasks. Revising your article according to feedback.
Week 10: Editing Your Sentences
Instruction: On taking the time. Types of revising. The rules of editing. The Belcher diagnostic test. Editing your article.
Exercises: Running the Belcher diagnostic test. Revising your article with the diagnostic test. Correcting other types of problem sentences.
Week 11: Wrapping Up Your Article
Instruction: On the perils of perfection. Finalizing your article.
Exercises: Finalizing your argument, related literature review, introduction, evidence, structure, and conclusion.
Week 12: Sending Your Article!
Instruction: On the importance of finishing. Getting the submission ready.
Exercises: Writing the cover letter. Preparing illustrations. Putting your article into the journal's style. Preparing the final print or electronic version. Send and celebrate!
Week X: Responding to Journal Decisions
Instruction: An exhortation. Waiting for the journal's decision. Reading the journal's decision. Types of journal decisions. Responding to journal decisions.
Exercises: Evaluating and responding to the journal decision. Planning your revision. Revising your article. Drafting your revision cover letter. Requesting permissions. On the importance of persevering.
About the Author