The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 15: Promoting Your Book

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14) In August, I wrote my last entry in this series on developing a marketing plan for your book. Having implemented many of those ideas, I wanted to give some insight into what has and hasn't worked for me so far. Once I had a pretty firm idea of …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 13: Indexing the Book

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.) It's appropriate that this entry is the thirteenth in the series. Academics generally hate compiling an index, even though it's one of the most important tools that they (at least historians) use when reading. There are software programs available that can create a book index for you. …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 12: Working with Page Proofs

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.) Working with the page proofs of your book is a daunting task. As your publisher will tell you, the only possible changes are editorial, factual or typesetter errors. So, that sentence that doesn't quite read right? You're stuck with it. The additional research that came to light …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 11: Book Covers

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.) Mary Beard recently explained how her most recent book cover design evolved. My experiences have been a little bit different. I've been fortunate enough to have had great designers at LSU Press. Amanda McDonald Scallon designed the cover of Old Hickory's Nephew (OHN), which I think brilliantly …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 10: The Press and Marketing

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.) One of the things I never expected to do was market my books. In my ignorance, I assumed that a team of press staff would make sure the books were in every bookstore from Barnes & Noble to the museum in my home town. I thought they would …

It’s Official–I Have a New Career Path!

I've held a number of jobs during my life: retail clerk, grocery clerk, potato chip vendor, land survey company flunky extraordinaire, and historical interpreter. I've also taught history at four different universities. In his new book Superior Storm, Tom Hilpert, author and friend, has given me a new potential career path: Dr. Mark Cheathem took …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 9: Post-Manuscript Doldrums

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.) You might be asking why I'm talking about the doldrums that set in following submission of the manuscript now instead of after its publication. From my experience, the real emotional letdown occurs once the manuscript is submitted to the editor for copy-editing. There is nothing yet tangible to …

Two Thoughts about Publishing from Mary Beth Norton

Last week, Historiann (Ann M. Little) posted a three-part interview with esteemed historian Mary Beth Norton. You should read all three parts, especially if you are interested in the development of women's history as a field. Two things jumped out at me from the final interview installment. The first was Norton's advice not to commit oneself …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 8: Working with Your Copy Editor

(Previous entries in this series: Pts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.) Another extremely important relationship that you'll have as you see your book manuscript through to publication is the one with the copy editor. Much of the previous advice I've given about referees and editors applies to copy editors as well, but let me expound on this relationship a …

The Evolution of a Book, Pt. 7: Working with Your Editor(s)

(See also parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of this series) The most important relationship you will have as you look to publish is the one with your press' acquisitions editor. For both of my books with LSU Press, I've worked with Rand Dotson.  Rand is a good editor for several reasons, but two stand out to me. The first …