We’ve spent the last year putting together a textbook for writing about music called simply, How To Write About Music. In the book you’ll find examples of music writing, writing prompts and, perhaps most uniquely and practically important, real life advice from working music journalists and editors. Now that the book is out, my co-editor Marc Woodworth and I sometimes worry that we’ve launched our guide into the world with only an extremely positive message and perhaps too few caveats about how hard it is to become a successful music writer: we’ve told you how: now go forth and be a music writer! To balance things out, the forty successful writers we interviewed for the book frequently describe how being a music writer can be a serious hustle. It requires talent, humility and persistence and, as Casey Jarman says in the book, “patience, empathy, a sense of humor, a mean streak and an addictive personality.” Still, it’s one of the most gratifying careers for those who stick with it even if they often need to supplement their work as writers with other means of supporting themselves.
Announcing the next UNDER 22 open call for proposals for the 33 1/3 Series…
As of today, April 21, 2015, we are now accepting book proposals on one single album of music for the 33 1/3 series from anyone under the age of 22. Proposals that meet the guidelines below will be accepted now through May 1, 2016. Proposals will be evaluated by the 33 1/3 series editor and one submission will be selected to be published by Bloomsbury as a book in the 33 1/3 series.
You may submit a proposal at any time before May 1, 2016 but please note that no feedback will be given before June 1st, 2016 when the winning proposal is announced. One book contract with Bloomsbury will be issued to the author of the most successful pitch. Contract terms will be similar to existing 33 1/3 terms with a small advance issued upon contract, a 10% royalty rate on net receipts and a negotiable due date.
Age requirement: This open call is aimed at undergraduate students. Entrants MUST be 22 years of age or younger and ideally enrolled in an undergraduate writing program though this is not a requirement. You must be 22 years old at the time of submission on May 1 2016, i.e. if your 23rd birthday is BEFORE then you are ineligible.*
You must follow the proposal requirements exactly as they appear below. All aspects of your proposal will be carefully considered, however the table of contents and introduction are where you get to show off your writing skills and explain your brilliant idea.
Please refer to the comments section of our 2014 open call for frequently asked questions.
If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit ALL of the following to firstname.lastname@example.org before 9:00am EST on May 1, 2016. No exceptions. The word/page counts below are not exact and should point you in the right direction. The subject line of your submission email should have the album you have chosen to write about and your name. Please submit all materials as one single document as either .doc, .docx or .pdf. No .rtf files will be accepted.
Please submit ALL of the following as a single email attachment to email@example.com in this order:
1. A statement of intent: tell us which album you have chosen to write about and why (500 words).
2. A biography of yourself (200-1000 words).
3. A draft annotated table of contents for the book. This should include chapter titles and a brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter. If you don’t plan on using chapters, please explain why.
4. A draft introduction/opening chapter for the book (2,000 words).
5. Your analysis of the audience for the book. What is the scene like? How many fans are there? Is there an active online community? Reunion shows? Are there other books written about the artist? (500 words).
6. Explain which pieces of music writing you enjoyed or hated reading in How To Write About Music and why (or other music writing) (500 words).
7. Name 3 people who will want to buy your book and why.
Please leave questions in the comments below and we will try and answer them! (No email queries please). The comments section of our 2014 open call is helpful!
*You’ll need to prove it if your proposal is selected.