Ladder Newsletter

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June 15, 2012

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Enter the Conversation: Find Your Voice in the Scholarly Literature
by Susanne Morgan, Ph.D.

Group with LaptopsAre you intimidated by the review of the literature section of your project? Is it hard to figure out what to include and why?  You can get around that if you imagine yourself in an ordinary conversation.

Entering a Conversation
How do you enter a conversation? When you are new to a group of people, does it take a long time to find your voice? When some of the people are more well-known than you are, do your words get stuck in your mouth? When you are interested in the conversation and have something to contribute, is it hard to figure out how to start? Do you sometimes feel you blurt out a thought?

I bet your apprehensions about writing your review of the literature are similar! So use the same strategies! In ordinary conversation, how do you speak up?

Conversation Strategies
Here are some strategies you probably use as you make your way in a conversation:

  • Listen quietly awhile to the tone of the conversation and then say something: “This dog park controversy you are talking about….where I used to live there was one and an issue there was …”
  • Frame your agenda as a question: “Does anyone know a good novel about a dog?”
  • Pick up on a comment and extend it: “You said you have a little dog, and I think they are getting much more popular than ten years ago.”
  • Refer to a resource you find useful: “The dog-training books written by Carol Lea Benjamin are my favorites because…..”
  • Ask for advice about your plans: “I’m traveling by car with my dog; what kind of crate should I choose?”
  • Challenge someone’s opinion: “You claim off-leash dogs in a secure area are dangerous, but the evidence demonstrates…..”

Click here for: Enter the Conversation: Find Your Voice in the Scholarly Literature



Single, Peg Boyle, Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text, Stylus, 2009

Belcher, Wendy Laura (Belcher, 2009), Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success, Sage Publications. 2009.


**Warning: Shameless Plug Alert:

Join the Academic Writing Club. It will give you the ongoing encouragement, gentle nudges, and a group of supportive colleagues to help you get clear that You are the experiment, and your behavior is the data. Joining the writing club will help you get real about your work and get on with it.

David Emblidge
Publishing Advisor / Manuscript Consultant

David EmblidgeDavid just let me know that he has 2 spots available through June, so don't hesitate!

David Emblidge launched his editorial career at Harvard University Press and moved on to Cambridge University Press, in New York, where he was a humanities acquisitions editor. He was executive editor also, for Continuum, a hybrid publisher of monographs and reference works. His editing career rests on solid academic training: BA, English, St. Lawrence Univ.; MA, English, Univ. of Virginia; Ph.D., American Studies, Univ. of Minnesota.

David then transitioned to trade books for general readers, founding Berkshire House, a press that was eventually sold to WW Norton, one of America’s best publishers. Later, he ran David Emblidge -- Book Producer, a book-packaging firm, creating series for major publishing houses, and then served as Editor in Chief at The Mountaineers Books, in Seattle.

Currently, David is a tenured Associate Professor in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Dept. at Emerson College, in Boston. He gives publishing courses in the MA in Publishing program. His publishing workshops have been presented at the Univ. of Virginia, Univ. of Massachusetts – Boston, and twice for the Associated Colleges of the St. Lawrence Valley (St. Lawrence Univ., Clarkson Univ., SUNY Potsdam). David offered a series of tele-classes about academic publishing via

Various publishers – scholarly and trade – have published work by David Emblidge: Oxford University Press, Da Capo Press, Stackpole Books, Watson-Guptill, and others. He has published many articles in literary and scholarly journals, and in 2007 his essay “The Palmer Method: Penmanship and the Tenor of Our Time,” won the McGinnis Prize for best nonfiction in Southwest Review. He is now completing a book manuscript about American Bookstores and has launched another, Great Snafus in American Publishing. His personal web site is

David has space in a busy schedule for just a few manuscript development consultations. If you are interested in discussing how he can help you advance your book from concept to completion to contract and publication, you may contact him at:

People Are Saying...

Quotes of The Month

A glowing testimonial about our services:

Thank you again for helping me break through my own writing block and finish my dissertation. I've just today submitted the final version of an essay scheduled for publication in 2009. I can't say I never have writing difficulties, but I can say that recalling your advice is always helpful."

~ Adjunct Professor at a State University

“A good quartet is like a good conversation among friends interacting to each other's ideas. ”
Stan Getz (Jazz musician)

“It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”
 Yogi Berra (American professional Baseball Player and Manager, b.1925)

“Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation”
 Laurence Sterne (Irish born English Writer, 1713-1768)

Remember Our Regular Discounts!

Remember=Introduce the Academic Writing Club to a friend, and you each get a discount!

Do a friend or a colleague a favor, while helping yourself. Know someone who could benefit from the Writing Club? This is your chance to give them the opportunity to try the Club and get $10 off, while getting a $10 refund of your own. This applies to both current members and those who have never been a member -- so find a buddy and sign up together.

Just ask your friend to enter the word "REFER" into the coupon code in the shopping cart page, and also tell them to enter *your* name (the referrer) into the comment box at the bottom of the page, so you will get your refund after you sign up yourself. If you're already a member, you will be sent a $10 refund, too! Tell your friend, colleague, or student to go to now, and join!

Get 8 or more people to sign up together, and you each get a $10 discount! Ask your chair, director of graduate studies, dean, p.i, faculty development office or provost office if they would be willing to help their students of faculty members become more productive writers. If they have it in their budget, then you and 7 or more of your peers can participate in the Writing Club with $10 off per person. Just write for more information.
asReady to finish your dissertation? Coaching can help you complete it more quickly with less pain. Write us about individual or group coaching.

Overwhelmed with the responsibilities of being a junior professor, or worried about getting tenured? Write us about individual coaching or our writing/time management groups .

Stay tuned to this newsletter, which will give you hints, reminders and practical suggestions for staying on track and creating the career you deserve. And check out the writing/time management groups on our website

The University List is Growing!

Wondering who signs up for the Academic Writing Club? You may be surprised at the length and scope of the list of universities represented by our members. Check it out here:

Is your university on this list yet? If it's not, and you've been a member of the Academic Writing Club, let me know and I'll add it. If you haven't been a member, join us for the next session!

Are you on an academic listserv?

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I really appreciate your support - we grow and will be able to bring you more of these offerings by your passing on the news about Academic Ladder.


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