New academics in history don’t get much advice on publishing. I have the better part of one shelf packed with guides to academic publishing but most of them are aimed at the social sciences, general non-fiction, or academic writing treated as a single genre.1 Some of these are good, some are very good, but outside of guides for student research, I have yet to find a guide to publication aimed directly at historians, until today. And the best part, it’s free.
The Institute of Historical Research, based out of the University of London, has a book (well, booklet perhaps, it’s 40 pages long) with essays by historians for historians, venturing into the strange world of publication.
I just found it and will need some time to read it so I can’t give an opinion. But as someone whose first-publication horse is already out of the barn, I wish I had known about this earlier. All the same I’m happy to see that this exists.
1 As I have mentioned before, the single best guide to publishing in academic journals is James Hartley, Academic Writing and Publishing: A Practical Handbook (London: Routledge, 2008). Apparently, the IHR booklet is so obscure, Hartley didn’t know about it, otherwise he would have mentioned it when I asked him specifically if he knew about guides for academic history writing. Really nice guy. Other books worth recommending (or repeating) include Anthony Haynes, Writing Successful Academic Books (Cambridge: CUP, 2010), K. A. Kendall-Tackett, How to Write for a General Audience: A Guide for Academics Who Want to Share Their Knowledge With the World and Have Fun Doing It (Washington: APA, 2007). For other aspects of writing for publication, relevant to historians, consider Mark Kramer and Wendy Call, eds. Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer’s Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University (New York: Plume, 2007) and on issues of style I feel comfortable recommending Helen Sword, Stylish Academic Writing (Cambridge, NH.: Harvard, 2012).