It’s been about a year since we published How To Write About Music and I’m so grateful to the thousands of people who have picked up a copy. 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.

Something else has been nagging us though. The idea that we’ve included a chapter called “How To Write a 33 1/3 Proposal” (Chapter 33 1/3 in the book) might seem somewhat misleading. By printing successful 33 1/3 pitches, the chapter means to demonstrate and inspire by example, but if the potential readership of the book is in large measure made up of younger writers, then shouldn’t these younger writers have a true shot at writing a volume for the 33 1/3 series? So far, most 33 1/3 writers, however well-known or little known, are beyond the beginning of their writing lives.
This nagging thought has suggested a course of action and as editor not only of How To Write About Music but the 33 1/3 series itself I’m extremely excited to remind you of our open call for proposal for the series open ONLY to anyone under the age of 22, and especially (though not exclusively) those enrolled in creative writing programs at the undergraduate level.
Why? Because I want to represent the perspectives of younger writers, especially as I was so blown away by some of the proposals during the 2015 open call coming from undergraduate students. And we have this very useful guide in How To Write About Music which can be put to even better use toward a more likely end. So don’t hesitate  to pick up a copy and learn from the greats as you consider and then write your proposal for your very own contribution to the much-loved 33 1/3 series.
x Ally-Jane


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.

Please make sure to check the series listing and books in the works to ensure that your chosen album hasn’t already been covered in the 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 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.

Proposal Requirements

Please submit ALL of the following as a single email attachment to 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.

6 thoughts on “UNDER 22 OPEN CALL DEADLINE MAY 1”

  1. That is an awesome idea. I’ll let everyone I can know about this, my own son is a bit too young I reckon at 12, but I am willing to bet that you get some great stuff. Writing my 33-1/3 title has been a really cool experience; being my first book I see all the warts now, wish I could change this and that, & I think ‘gee, if I had started writing with actual purpose way back when who knows how much purtier it could’ve been …” So kudos for giving the younger writers a shot, & best of luck to the under-22’s from the ‘oh-shit-I’m-three-and-a-half-times-that’ crew’.

  2. Agree with the high school commenter! Got a little brother who’s interested but not yet an undergrad. Thoughts?

  3. I have a really interesting idea for an album that I’m deeply passionate about; however, I am currently a 17-year-old junior in high school. I do intend to enroll in an undergraduate English/media studies program, but that won’t be for another year and a half. Since this open call is aimed at undergraduate students, do I still stand a chance?

    Also, will only one book be chosen?
    Best wishes and thank you!

  4. Any open calls for us old geezers over the age of twenty-two?

    On Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 12:51 PM, 333sound wrote:

    > 333sound posted: ” It’s been about a year since we published How To Write > About Music and I’m so grateful to the thousands of people who have picked > up a copy. In the book you’ll find examples of music writing, writing > prompts and, perhaps most uniquely and practically im” >

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