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 Supportive 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.

Grant Cycle | Winter 2022

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in humanities

In this application cycle, we are seeking non-fiction work by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color scholars in the humanities. We welcome a wide range of subjects and readerships for project proposals, including books intended for general readerships, scholarly monographs, and textbooks. We are not currently considering proposals for works of fiction, poetry, edited volumes, manuscripts requiring translation, or works under consideration with other publishers. This opportunity is open to previously published and first-time authors alike.

Eligible authors may apply directly via the website form below.  The application cycle is open from February 7 to February 28 (12pm ET). Applicants will be notified of decisions the week of April 18, 2022.

Grant Cycle | Summer 2022

The Summer 2022 grants will focus on sciences and mathematical sciences; please visit the website or follow us on social media in late spring 2022 for updates and further information.

Grant Cycle | Winter 2023

The Winter 2023 grant cycle will focus on underrepresented authors in the social sciences. Criteria and application dates will be updated in late 2022.

Grant Cycle | Summer 2021 (closed)

BIPOC scholars in economics, sociology, politics & international relations, anthropology, and urban studies

In our inaugural 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. Winners were notified of their status the week of October 18, 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. (The next application cycle opens February 7, 2022.)

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

Authors who choose to work with Laura Portwood-Stacer will be enrolled in the Manuscript Works Book Proposal Accelerator, a seven-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 seven 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.

Helen Sword

Helen Sword | Stylish Writing Intensive

Helen Sword is a Professor of Humanities 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 (forthcoming from Princeton UP in 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 retreat (October 21–23, 2021) 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.

Margy Thomas

Margy Thomas, Ph.D. | ScholarShape

Margy Thomas, Ph.D., 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. If you choose ScholarShape as your PUP partner, you will receive full membership in ScholarShape (member benefits are described here) as well as personalized support in a small cohort of your fellow PUP grant winners (small-group program benefits described here). Twitter @ScholarShape; Instagram @scholarshape