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 Princeton University Press editor who will work with authors and coaches throughout the process. Following coaching, grantees agree to give Princeton University Press the right of first refusal on proposals. For any projects that the Press does not pursue, 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.

Grant Cycle | Winter 2021

Women, transgender, and gender expansive authors in Science and Mathematics

In this inaugural application cycle we are seeking non-fiction work by women, transgender, and gender expansive authors in science and mathematics, including scholars and journalists. We welcome a wide range of subjects and readerships for the project proposals, including books intended for general readerships, scholarly monographs, and textbooks. The opportunity is open to previously published authors and first-time authors alike. Eligible authors may apply directly via the website form at the tab in the left sidebar. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2021. Applicants will be notified of decisions the week of May 17, 2021.

The second application cycle will run from August 1 to September 17 and be open to proposals in the social sciences; additional author eligibility requirements and notification dates will be announced no later than June 30, 2021.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should review the descriptions of the book coaches in the section below and select two choices of partners with whom you might like to work.

For questions, please contact Christie Henry 

Apply Now

Book Coaches

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. Twitter @InkWellRetreats; Instagram @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


Laura Portwood-Stacer | Manuscript Works

Laura Portwood-Stacer, founder of Manuscript Works, will work with authors one-on-one to develop compelling proposals for their book projects. Laura’s process includes two meetings via Zoom or phone: a guidance meeting and a review meeting. At the guidance meeting, Laura will walk you through the major elements of the scholarly book proposal and what is expected in each part. Laura can also explain how the publication process typically works and answer any questions you may have about scholarly books and publishing. After the guidance meeting, you’ll draft a proposal and send it to Laura in advance of the review meeting. At the review meeting, Laura will give you specific feedback on your proposal draft, pointing out areas of strength and providing direction for revision if needed. Major goals of the review meeting will be to help you clarify your book’s core argument and contribution and to develop a sound organizational map of the manuscript as a whole. Authors who feel comfortable writing an initial draft of their proposal on their own may opt to begin with a review meeting and schedule a guidance meeting as a follow-up session after revising their draft. 

Laura has worked with hundreds of authors to draft and refine book proposals for scholarly publishers. She specializes in interdisciplinary projects, taking particular interest in critical/cultural studies of technology; media and information studies; and race, gender, and sexuality. Read about some of Laura’s notable past projects. You can get a feel for Laura’s approach to scholarly book development in her newsletter and in The Book Proposal Book: A Guide for Scholarly Authors (forthcoming). Twitter @lportwoodstacer

Margy Thomas

Margy Thomas, Ph.D. | ScholarShape

Margy Thomas, founder of ScholarShape and host of the Oracles of Academia podcast, helps you bring creativity and intuition into your academic writing practice so that you can craft fascinating scholarship and enjoy the process. ScholarShape’s signature method is Story-Argument design, a structured yet flexible approach to shaping your manuscript to function as both a compelling story and a persuasive argument. Underpinning this method is the Story-Argument model, a conceptual framework that describes the deep structure of powerful scholarship across genres and disciplines. Margy synthesized the model through many years of study, research, and work as a developmental editor. The Story-Argument model helps scholars bring creativity and intuition into their writing process in ways that enhance the rigor and coherence of their work. Your membership in this small-group program also includes a one-year membership in the larger ScholarShape community, where you’ll find a comprehensive suite of tools for Story-Argument design. Twitter @ScholarShape; Instagram @scholarshape