How do you make the transition from promising researcher to established academic author? Many cross this Rubicon without knowing if they paddled, swam or built a boat; others drown as they thrash around in mid-stream. And the mere phrase ‘academic publishing’ covers a multitude of sins; it is enough to give the uninitiated the willies. Writing monographs, research papers, book reviews, conference abstracts or whatever each requires a different approach. You have to decide what it is you are going to write and where to publish it. On the way you will meet the good, the bad and the ugly, succinctly describing most co-authors, peer reviewers and editors (not necessarily in that order). After all, the only way to write like an academic is to write like an academic … but where do you start? You could do much worse than start here. Stephen Donovan has been publishing on such diverse subjects as Caribbean geology, palaeontology, the history of science and academic authorship for over 30 years. He loves research, writing and publishing, and has compiled a book of highly readable essays to help all researchers, both the new and not so new, to write better papers and to get them published.