The Evolution of a Book, Part 6: Editing the Manuscript

(The rest of this series is available at the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.) I'll address the official copy-editing process in a later post. Today's topic is the editing that takes place before submission to your acquisitions editor. There are two types of editing while you're writing. The first is your own, …

Continue reading The Evolution of a Book, Part 6: Editing the Manuscript

The Evolution of a Book, Part 5: Writing the Book

(The rest of this series is available at the following links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) I had big plans when I wrote my book proposal in 2006. I even had a schedule that I posted in my office outlining how I would write one chapter each semester, starting in Fall 2007. If I could …

Continue reading The Evolution of a Book, Part 5: Writing the Book

The Evolution of a Book, Part 3: The Book Outline

(Part 1 and Part 2 of this series) My students will probably think I'm lying, but I actually didn't like or even follow outlines until I was in grad school. I thought they stifled my creativity and the organic development of my writing. In actuality, I set myself up for failure as a writer, something I learned the …

Continue reading The Evolution of a Book, Part 3: The Book Outline

Responding to Criticism of Your Scholarship

I hate to be criticized. As an historian, it's not fun to be told that your interpretation of historical evidence is wrong or lacking. The immediate reaction that I have is a desire to dig through my research files and prove the critic wrong. Honestly, though, once I've taken a few moments (or days), I …

Continue reading Responding to Criticism of Your Scholarship

The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 3

Betsy Lerner's The Forest for the Trees: An Editor's Advice to Writers (New York: Riverhead, 2010) is a more philosophical look at writing and writers than the previous two books I've reviewed. Lerner is an award-winning writer who had been both an editor and an agent. She also blogs with a wicked sense of humor. …

Continue reading The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 3

The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 2

(Part 1 of this series is here.) I've dabbled with the idea of crossing over into trade publishing once the Jackson biography is completed. A number of historians whom I admire have done this, but like with the publishing process itself, I was a bit naive about what is involved in making the jump. If …

Continue reading The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 2

The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 1

Learning to write more effectively seems like it's going to be a lifelong process, as it should be. Three books have really helped me understand not only how to write more clearly for my audience but also what is involved in the publication process, about which I was taught nothing in graduate school. I'll deal with each …

Continue reading The Best Books on Writing and Publishing, Part 1