Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What is a publishing coach?

I get asked this in emails a great deal (including one yesterday). I have a website that that describes what I do, but thought I would answer that question here.

First, there is no clearly established "profession" called a writing or publishing coach. Those who do it seem to be either academics, "ex" academics, or professional writers. I think the best are practicing academics who have gone through the tenure and promotion process, have produced a good deal of scholarship AND know how to teach what they do. The last part is what is often missing, but none of us "have it all."

I also see my role as being somewhat different than someone who focuses solely on writing and publishing, in that I help doctoral students and faculty in several additional domains. So, what are these domains?

1) Writing productivity- how to help you produce more of what you are working on.
2) Articles- Everything you wanted to know about an article but were afraid to ask.
3) Managing the peer review process- most scholars think they know how to do this, but make a good deal of mistakes.
4) Thriving in the academy-  how to build a career that you love.
5) Academic job hunting-  from cover letter writing all the way through negotiating your contract
6) The psychosocial barriers that inhibit the above- my special focus;  helping scholars understand how they get in their own way, and how to we capitalize on their strengths and minimize our weaknesses.

While in an idea world doctoral students and faculty would get the support they need from their home institution, sadly, this is not always the case. You don't need to work with a professional coach to get all of your needs met, but you certainly do need to find people who can help you with each of these domains. When thinking about your career, think about your goals, and what supports you need in each of the above domains. Find people who can support you in each. Build your support team; it is one of the most important things you can do for your academic future.

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