Posted on March 7, 2014
John Wilsey teaches history and philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of One Nation Under God: An Evangelical Critique of Christian America and blogs at johndwilsey.com.
Your book proposal is your work’s first introduction to a potential publisher.
It is imperative that your proposal be clean, eloquent, organized, well-researched, realistic, and compelling.
Think of your proposal as your book’s coming-out party. You are giving wealthy suitors the chance to meet the lovely maiden you have raised from infancy. So you better make sure that she has nice teeth.
The first element of a good book proposal is your topic statement.
In the topic statement, you need to spend a couple of paragraphs broadly summarizing what your book is about.
If this first section is clear, concise, and original, your potential publisher will continue reading.
If not, the abyss of obscurity yawns before you.Leave a Comment
Posted on March 6, 2014
I have pondered this question over the last several months.
Writing my book proposal helped me figure out what stories and information I want to include in my book AMERICA’S FIRST GATEWAY. However, my book proposal did not lay out a clear plan for how I should revise my manuscript.
I finished my book proposal in late September 2013 and since that time I have worked on freelance articles, blog posts, and an academic journal article.
I finished the journal article 2 weeks ago, which means that I finally have to start revising my book, not just talk about it.
Last week I willed myself to start revising.
I opened my book proposal, read through my Chapter 1 description, and dissected it.
I outlined all of the major topics and subtopics for the chapter. Under my subtopics I listed all of the books and article titles that I need to read/skim to write about that subtopic.
This week, I began reading books and articles that will help me find the information I need to revise Chapter 1.
I do not know how long it will take me to revise my book. I do know I want to work smarter than when I wrote my dissertation.
I am trying 3 new techniques to ensure that I write and make progress every day. (Okay, maybe not every day, but most days).2 Comments
Posted on March 5, 2014
Douglas R. Egerton weighs in on the controversy surrounding the new Denmark Vesey statue in Charleston, South Carolina in “Abolitionist or Terrorist?”
Jason Warren wonders whether there might be interest in establishing a “Research Timeshare,” a network of scholars who donate their time in nearby archives to help distant scholars access information.
Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter posted “JSTOR for Genealogy,” a good article on how genealogists can use J-Stor to help them with their research.
Kellie Carter Jackson looks at “The ‘Threatening’ ‘Thug’ Through History,” an op-ed that uses the story of Crispus Attucks to examine present-day views on race.
Anthony J. Clark describes “What’s in Presidential Libraries.”
“World War I Centennial: German Newspapers Beat the War Drums,” begins a new series by Erik Sass that will examine the events that led up to the start of the First World War.
The Gerald R. Ford Foundation seeks applications for its $2,000 grants to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. Applications Due: March 15 and September 15
The History Department at Harvard University desires a Lecturer in Digital History. Applications Due: March 28, 2014.
In “Use Google Docs’ Resume Templates for a Free, Good-Looking Resume,” Alan Henry discusses how you can use Google Docs to create a resume (or C.V.) that you can share and post everywhere. (I use Google Docs to share my C.V. and Writer Resume on this website.)
Lifehack.org offered “24 Practical Tips to Make Your Resume Perfect.”Leave a Comment
Posted on March 3, 2014
Boston Historical Events: A list of history-related events taking place in Boston between Monday, March 3 and Sunday, March 9, 2014.
Christopher Klein will discuss his book: Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America’s First Sports Hero. Klein gives his readers a ringside seat to the colorful tale of one of the United States’ first Irish-American heroes, the birth of American sports media, and the country’s obsession with athletes. John L. Sullivan was a self-made man who personified the power and excesses of the Gilded Age.
Tour the Harrison Grey Otis house through the lens of women’s history in the “Ladies of the House Tour.” The Otis House contains rich stories of remarkable women from a wealthy politician’s wife and mother in the late 18th century, to an entrepreneur and holistic physician in the 1830s. Four sisters used the Otis house as a Victorian boarding house. On this tour you will discover these stories and the relevant social history of women’s lives in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Thursday, March 6, 5:30pm, Free
Mary Baker Eddy Library Fellow David Holland (Harvard Divinity School) will lead “Hester Prynne, Mary Baker Eddy, and Women of Revelation in American History,” a discussion on gender and revelation in American religious history.
Tuesday, March 4, 5:15-7:30pm, Early American History Seminar, Free, RSVP Required
In “Negro Cloth: Mastering the Market for Slave Clothing in Antebellum America,” Seth Rockman (Brown University) ties together the effort of a Northern firm to break into the business of making textiles for slaves, the politics of slave plantation, and the national debate over tariffs. Rockman makes his argument with an interdisciplinary approach that uses material culture studies, the history of capitalism, and comparative slavery to emphasize the design history of plantation textiles and the circuits of social knowledge that linked plantation to factory. In particular, Rockman considers the role that enslaved men and women played as collaborators in the design of specific textiles. David Quigley (Boston College) will offer the comment.
Wednesday, March 5, 12-1pm, Brown Bag Lunch Talk, Free
The last battle of the American Civil War occurred more than a month after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House and the last military surrender of the war followed a month after the last battle. This chain of events means that the official “cessation of hostilities” of the Civil War occurred more than a year after Appomattox. In “The Appomattox Effect: Searching for the End of War in the American Civil War and Beyond,” Michael Vorenberg (Brown University) examines how Americans came to believe that wars have discrete, identifiable endpoints.
Thursday, March 6, 5:30 Reception, 6-7:30pm Author Talk, Free Members/$10 Nonmembers, RSVP Required
Editors Margaret Hogan and C. James Taylor will read and discuss selected excerpts from their new volume A Traveled First Lady: Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams. Adams commented on life at European courts, the difficulty of being an outsider, her husband John Quincy Adams, and the importance of society and etiquette in early Washington D.C. Adams stands as one of the capital’s most accomplished hostesses as hundreds of guests regularly attended her Tuesday evenings of conversation, music, dancing, and refreshment. Join the editors of this volume for a social evening with Louisa. There will be conversations and refreshments–but no dancing!
Empty-nesters Audrey and Frank Peterman set out to “discover America.” The beauty, history, and culture preserved in our National Parks transformed them. In “Many Stories in the Land: The Future of our National Parks,” the Petermans will reflect on their more than two decades of travel and activism in America’s publicly-owned lands. This illustrated lecture will feature a lively discussion of the highlights of their two books, Legacy on the Land and Our True Nature. The Petermans will also discuss the challenges and success stories in engaging people of color as visitors and as advocates for public lands and history.
This program is co-sponsored with the Boston National Historical Park and the Lowell Institute.
Saturday, March 8, 11:30am & 2:30pm, Trail of the Century, Tickets Required, Included with Admission
In “Trial of the Century” you will watch Patriot lawyers John Adams and Josiah Quincy defend the British soldiers accused of murdering Bostonians. Re-enactors will invite audience members to serve as witnesses and jurors for this celebrated case.
Space will be limited, the Old State House will sell tickets for both performances at 9am on Saturday March 8 at the front desk of the museum.
Saturday, March 8, 7pm, Boston Massacre Reenactment, Free
Join the crowd in front of the Old State House to witness the annual Boston Massacre Reenactment near where it occurred in 1770. Before the action unfolds, Patriots, Loyalists, and moderates will discuss the events and attitudes that led to the deadly event on March 5, 1770.
*Photo of Old South Meeting House courtesy of BPL Photostream
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Posted on February 28, 2014
Anyone who writes about history knows that it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest scholarship.
In this post you will learn about the 5 methods I use to stay current on historical scholarship.
Journals will help you stay current on the latest scholarship.
They provide a wealth of information even if you lack the time to read every article (most historians do).
Open a journal, read its table of contents, and read/skim the articles and book reviews that interest you and/or apply to your research. This technique will help you stay informed.
Here is a list of the academic journals I read/skim.
American Historical Review
Early American History
History of New YorkLeave a Comment