The New Voices Award is currently closed.
Recently, we announced a partnership with Little, Brown Spark, an imprint of Hachette Book Group for a book deal prize.
We are inviting previously unpublished and unagented writers from underrepresented backgrounds to submit a non-fiction book proposal on any topic within any branch of psychology.
The applicant with the most original and compelling proposal will receive the opportunity to enter a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance; an introduction to a literary agent; feedback and guidance from our editorial team; a ticket to attend the Psychotherapy Networker’s 2024 Symposium; and more.
We recently sat down with Talia Krohn, Editorial Director at Little, Brown Spark, to discuss this exciting opportunity.
Psychotherapy Networker: What inspired the Little, Brown Spark team to create the New Voices Award?
Talia Krohn: The idea for the New Voices Award emerged from a conversation about the need to take a more proactive approach to finding and amplifying a more diverse range of voices. We chose psychology as the field to focus on because readers of books on topics that are often deeply personal (e.g., relationship and family struggles, the legacy of trauma, mental health challenges) deserve to hear from experts who can understand and relate to their lived experience. So when the vast majority of popular books on these topics are written by authors who share similar backgrounds, perspectives, and identities, we have to ask ourselves whether we are truly serving a broad and diverse range of readers.
We also recognize that getting a book published often requires more than just a great and execution grounded in the relevant expertise; too often, it also requires access to industry gatekeepers and to the publishing process, putting those who have been historically excluded from the industry at a disadvantage. We are aiming to demystify the publishing process and lower the barriers to entry for authors who have been underrepresented in the past, while also taking steps to meet the demand for voices that represent the wide swath of human experience.
PN: Why partner with Psychotherapy Networker for the NVA?
Krohn: Psychotherapy Networker is home to an engaged community of esteemed professionals. The size and caliber of their audience, combined with their ongoing commitment to advancing diversity in the field, makes them the ideal partner.
PN: When you think of books in the branch of psychology and psychotherapy that your team is looking to publish, what are some similar titles that come to mind that are already on bookshelves?
Krohn: We are interested in topics from any branch of psychology or psychotherapy—nothing is off-limits. Examples of similar titles include (in no particular order):
How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before by Dr. Julie Smith
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson
Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler & Emily Gregory
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Chatter by Ethan Cross
Emotional Agility by Susan David
Permission to Feel by Mark Brackett
Stumbling Towards Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
PN: This opportunity is for underrepresented experts in our field. Who is your ideal author?
Krohn: We are looking for authors from all underrepresented backgrounds, including (but not limited to) identifying as LGBTQIA+, Native, a person of color, gender diverse, having a disability, and an ethnic, cultural, and/or religious minority. We align our definition of diversity with that provided by the organization We Need Diverse Books.
The winning submission need NOT directly address topics of representation or identity, or be aimed exclusively (or even primarily) at underrepresented readers. For example, an author who identifies as queer does not need to write on a topic related to the queer identity or experience, and a BIPOC author does not need to write specifically for a BIPOC audience. The aim is to reach as large an audience as possible.
PN: For the person reading this right now considering this opportunity, what advice do you have for them regarding their proposal?
Krohn: One piece of advice I give all my authors is to always be thinking about the reader: specifically, what problem or challenge is this book helping readers to solve. This may seem obvious, but for an expert accustomed to writing for professional or academic audiences, it’s easy to forget that many readers are drawn to books that not only satisfy their intellectual interest or curiosity, but that also impart information, inspiration, and advice that the reader can apply in their own life. So instead of asking, “What do I want to say?” I advise authors to ask themselves, “What does the reader want or need to know?”
By the same token, an expert who has spent years or decades immersed in a given area of research may struggle to gauge exactly how much readers already know (or don’t know) about a topic. I always advise authors to consider whether they are sufficiently explaining concepts with which readers might not be familiar. At the same time, I also recommend doing some homework on popular books in the marketplace to avoid retreading on ideas that readers may have encountered elsewhere.
Ultimately the goal is to distill information and knowledge—whether it is gleaned from scholarly research, practitioner experience, or some combination of the two—in a way that feels fresh, accessible, and practically applicable to a general readership.
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