Book Proposal Development Grants

Supporting Diverse Voices

We recognize that there are myriad opportunities to support authors in the earliest stages of a book’s development, specifically the ideas-to-proposal stage. In support of our unequivocal commitment to equitable and inclusive publishing, we want to ensure this early stage support is available to the greatest diversity of prospective authors. With Supporting Diverse Voices grants, we offer historically excluded and underrepresented scholars around the globe the opportunity to develop a book proposal in group or one-on-one settings with one of our partnering book coaches, each with her own approach to the collaborative development process.

The Supporting Diverse Voices grants cover the costs of these collaborations. Each grantee will have a sponsoring PUP editor who will work with authors and coaches throughout the process. Following coaching, grantees agree to give PUP the right to consider the resulting proposals exclusively, before they are submitted to any other publishers for consideration. For any projects PUP does not pursue, Press editors will mentor grantees on alternative possible publishing paths.

Grants will be administered twice during the calendar year, with particular disciplines and groups specified for eligibility each cycle.

Autumn 2023 Grant Cycle

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Scholars in the Humanities

In this application cycle, we are seeking non-fiction work by BIPOC scholars in the humanities in the fields of literary studies, classics, history, ancient history, art and architectural history, urban history, religious studies, philosophy, and education/Skills for Scholars.

We are particularly interested in projects that employ the book proposal development process to expand the scope of a project to reach a wider audience within or beyond the academy. We welcome applications from scholars around the world, especially those whose institutions represent underrepresented viewpoints (including MSIs, HBCUs, or universities in the Global South), as well as scholars whose institutions do not have the resources to support manuscript development. We are currently not considering proposals for works of fiction, poetry, edited volumes or anthologies, or translations.

Applications for this cycle are now closed. 

How to Apply

The next application cycle will open in Winter 2024. Until then, we invite you to review the descriptions of the book coaches in the section below and consider partners with whom you might like to work.

Meet Our Coaches

Julia Boss headshot

Julia Boss | Julia Boss Editing

Getting your ideas onto the pages of a book—and that book onto library shelves—is essential to a scholarly career. The book proposal is the form in which you first articulate your research as the book it will become and introduce yourself to presses as a partner in the work of creating it. Authors who choose to work with Julia Boss will receive personal coaching in an outcomes-based model focused on a single goal: creating a frictionless reading experience for the acquisitions editors and other decision makers who will read your book proposal.

A flexible-format coaching program breaks the proposal down into a series of writing and revision tasks, culminating in a developmental edit of the complete proposal package (proposal and one sample chapter). Working with Julia, you can choose between face-to-face and asynchronous coaching options, depending on the communications modality that best supports your writing process; you will receive her detailed written feedback on all drafts. Together you will address reader expectations for the book proposal as a form, consider the respective readerships for the proposal and the eventual book, define the work your book performs and how each chapter supports it, demystify the function of comps (comparative titles), and examine the ways you already share your ideas in public as they develop an audience for the book to come.

Julia has read hundreds of nonfiction book proposals over the course of her career, working first in trade nonfiction and for the past twenty years as a developmental editor focused on scholarly and other serious nonfiction writing. Authors she has worked with have placed books with competitive publishers including Cambridge University Press, University of Toronto Press, Oxford University Press, Notre Dame Press, and many others and have won prizes from the Modern Languages Association and the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.


Michelle Boyd

Michelle Boyd, Ph.D. | Composed Writing Retreat, InkWell Academic Writing Retreats

The Composed Writing Retreat is a transformative, retreat-based training program that teaches scholars to overcome their writing fears and create a calm, confident, productive writing practice. The power of Composed lies in its unique experiential learning program. It not only trains scholars to overcome writing blocks; it goes further, providing the container, support, and guided practice they need to truly transform their relationship with writing from one of fear to one of trust. Scholars who complete Composed call it “magical,” but it’s not magic—it’s science. The program is rooted in literatures showing that each scholar has their own natural writing process, and that many of their struggles come from their inability to recognize, access or follow that process when they need it. Composed trains scholars to uncover their process, build a routine around it, and use it to work through the emotional and psychological barriers to writing. It was designed by InkWell founder, Michelle Boyd, Ph.D., a self-described “struggling writer” whose success as an award-winning writer and former tenured faculty member belied the challenges she faced throughout her career as an academic. Every scholar leaves Composed with a customized method for make meaningful, measurable progress any time they write so they can boost their productivity and reconnect with the pleasures and satisfactions of writing long after the retreat is over. Inkwell: June 4–9, 2023 (Virtual).

Twitter: @InkWellRetreats
Instagram: @inkwellretreats 
Linkedin: InkWellRetreats

Jane Jones

Jane Joann Jones, Ph.D. | Up In Consulting  

For first-time book authors, the book proposal is a brand-new genre of writing that in some ways defies that to which they’ve become accustomed, such as dissertations and scholarly journal articles. As such, it’s imperative to learn how to effectively communicate the “so what” of your project—and believe you’re capable of doing so. This is especially important for underrepresented authors who may lack mentorship or knowledge of academic publishing conventions. Jane Jones, founder of Up In Consulting, works with writers in a 6-step process where she walks you through a brainstorming session and multiple drafts of the proposal. First, you will meet with Jane for an initial 1-hour coaching session to discuss the book project and your goals. Upon completion of the coaching session, Jane will send you a memo outlining suggestions for the direction of your proposal. Together, you will determine the delivery date for the submission of the proposal first draft. Jane will review the proposal and offer feedback—written and/or oral depending on extent and nature of revisions. You will review the feedback, can request clarification if necessary, and revise in preparation for final draft. Finally, Jane will review the final draft and copyedit the proposal for submission.

Instagram: @janejoannphd
Linkedin: JaneJoannJones


Laura Portwood-Stacer | Manuscript Works

Authors who choose to work with Laura Portwood-Stacer will be enrolled in the Manuscript Works Book Proposal Accelerator, a six-week group program that guides scholars through the process of developing and pitching a compelling book proposal. In a series of 12 brief modules, the Accelerator breaks down what prospective authors need to know about scholarly book publishing, what they need to do in order to craft a compelling proposal, and how they can make their proposal stand out in the eyes of editors and publishers.

As participants in the Accelerator use the modules to craft each component of their proposal, they can post their drafts in the group platform for quick feedback from Laura. This allows participants to not only get responsive advice about their projects but also to benefit from seeing how other scholars approach the proposal and book development process. The Accelerator also includes five live Q&A sessions held on Friday mornings (Pacific time). Sharing work in the group platform and attending the live Q&A sessions is totally optional for all participants. Private coaching is not part of the Accelerator program—any material on which authors wish to receive feedback must be posted to the group platform within the designated six weeks of the Accelerator.

Authors do not need to have a proposal drafted yet before participating in the Accelerator, but they should come prepared with a loose project description and chapter summaries. The program will be held from January 7–February 24, 2022 and June 3–July 21, 2022.

Laura Portwood-Stacer, PhD, is the author of The Book Proposal Book: A Guide for Scholarly Authors and the founder of Manuscript Works, a consultancy serving academic authors around the world. Her Book Proposal Accelerator program has helped hundreds of scholars gain clarity on the book publishing process and confidently pitch their books to competitive presses. Past participants have received offers on their books from publishers such as Princeton University Press, Oxford University Press, University of Chicago Press, the MIT Press, Duke University Press, and many others. Learn more about Laura’s approach to editing and publishing at her website and in her weekly newsletter.

Twitter: lportwoodstacer
Instagram: manuscriptworks 
LinkedIn: lportwoodstacer

Jordana Moore Saggese, PhD, seated with laptop.

Jordana Moore Saggese PhD | Forza Coaching

Jordana is a tenured full professor in the humanities, at an R1 university, an award-winning academic author, an experienced editor, and a certified life coach. She knows what it’s like to work on the tenure-track as a first-generation woman of color, to write and to publish (three) academic books, and to balance teaching, research, and service with a life that includes three kids and a dog. As the founder of Forza Coaching, she supports academics in the development of their research and writing across all stages—from initial idea to final draft. Jordana works with clients to demystify academic publishing, to strategize methods for achieving their goals, and to craft a focused and sustainable writing practice. Services include project management, 1:1 mindset coaching, as well as developmental editing. So, if you are looking for a comprehensive and bespoke research program that allows you to ditch the self-doubt and to manage your mind so that you can reach your highest potential, this is the coach for you. If you choose Forza Coaching as your partner, you will receive (1) an initial 60-minute consultation to discuss project goals and status of the work; (2) a template for drafting a project timeline with clear and realistic benchmarks; (3) personalized support from Jordana via five coaching calls to monitor your progress; and (4) two rounds of editorial feedback on each of your three documents – proposal narrative and two sample chapters.


Helen Sword

Helen Sword | Stylish Writing Intensive

Helen Sword is Professor Emerita at the University of Auckland and an international expert on academic writing across the disciplines. As the author of research-based books including Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard UP, 2012), The Writer’s Diet (Chicago UP, 2016), Air & Light & Time and Space: How Successful Academics Write (Harvard UP, 2017), and Writing with Pleasure (Princeton UP, 2022), she aims to empower writers around the world to write more clearly, confidently, prolifically, and with greater pleasure. Helen’s flagship Stylish Writing Intensive is a transformational program for academics who aspire to maximize the impact and outreach of their research by publishing engaging, inspiring scholarly prose. Your personalized schedule over the three days of this immersive online (virtual) retreat (October 19-22, 2023 and March 21-24, 2024) will include a carefully curated blend of structured writing time, advanced writing and editing workshops, asynchronous feedback, and craft-focused coaching with Helen as part of an intimate cohort. You will also receive one year of free membership in the WriteSPACE, an international community of academic, professional, and creative writers who meet online for weekly Virtual Writing Studio sessions and monthly Special Events with invited guests. To learn more about Helen and her work, check out her Resources for Writers website and sign up for her free newsletter.

Twitter: @helens_word 
Instagram: helens_word 
LinkedIn: helen-sword 
Newsletter: Helen’s Word

Margy Thomas

Margy Thomas, Ph.D. | ScholarShape

Margy Thomas, Ph.D., founder of ScholarShape, helps you center your scholarly work around your deep wisdom and intrinsic motivation so that the scholarship you create expresses what you believe is true and important, resonates with readers, and contributes to the collective project of healing the world. Using the flexible structure of ScholarShape’s Story-Argument model, you can navigate the uncertainties of the scholarly process with a sense of purpose even when you don’t know where you’re goingwhich, for many of us, is most of the time. Learn more and sign up for the free Scholar Magic course at 

Website: ScholarShape
Twitter: @ScholarShape
Instagram: @scholarshape

Author Leslie Wang, Ph.D.

Leslie Wang, Ph.D. | Your Words Unleashed

Leslie Wang is a writing coach and the creator of Your Words Unleashed, a signature coaching program that helps scholars master their writing habits and publish books that matter. She helps authors from diverse disciplines draw wisdom from their own histories, overcome imposter syndrome, and make decisions grounded in their core values so they can write with joy and purpose. She empowers writers from marginalized backgrounds to transform the world with their ideas.

Your Words Unleashed helps authors develop the practical strategies and unshakable self-confidence to write their first book. Leslie works intensively with individuals through eight 1:1 coaching sessions over six months, with the goal of a completed book proposal. Her holistic process involves creating a sustainable writing schedule and realistic goal setting, managing internal blocks, identifying an ideal audience, and locating the book’s core message. Throughout, Leslie will provide feedback on your writing and ideas.

A certified life coach and former tenured professor, Leslie is also an ethnographer and the author of two scholarly books. Her coaching brings together an intimate understanding of academic writing, scholarly publishing, and the context of higher education. To learn more about Leslie and her work, check out her website or listen to her podcast.


Previous Grant Cycles

Grant Cycle | Winter 2023 (closed)
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the social sciences

The fifth cycle of PUP’s Supporting Diverse Voices: Book Proposal Development Grants was launched in support of non-fiction works by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the social sciences. Applicants submitted projects in the social sciences in the fields of anthropology, economics, politics and international relations, and sociology. We were particularly interested in projects that aim to reach a wider audience of non-academic readers. We welcomed applications from scholars around the world and the opportunity was open to previously published authors and first-time authors alike.

Grant Cycle | Summer 2022 (closed)
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the sciences

In this application cycle, we sought non-fiction work by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the sciences. We welcomed a wide range of subjects and readerships for project proposals, including books intended for general readerships, scholarly monographs, and textbooks. Applications were sought  for projects in the following subject areas: in physics, earth science, biology, nature, neuroscience, computer science, and the mathematical sciences. This opportunity was open to previously published and first-time authors alike.

Grant Cycle | Winter 2022 (closed)
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the humanities

In this application cycle, we sought non-fiction work by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the humanities. We welcomed a wide range of subjects and readerships for project proposals, including books intended for general readerships, scholarly monographs, and textbooks. This opportunity was open to previously published and first-time authors alike.

Grant Cycle | Summer 2021 (closed)
BIPOC scholars in economics, sociology, politics & international relations, anthropology, and urban studies

In the summer 2021 application cycle, we sought non-fiction work by BIPOC scholars in the social sciences in the fields of economics, sociology, politics and international relations, anthropology, and urban studies.

Grant Cycle | Winter 2021 (closed)
Woman, transgender, and gender expansive authors in science and mathematics

In the inaugural application cycle in winter of 2021, we sought non-fiction work by women, transgender, and gender expansive authors in science and mathematics, including scholars and journalists.