Debut Author Chat

Have You Just Published Your First History?

mess-of-books-c2I can’t possibly review all the good histories written by Australian authors as they are published. There are many history books which don’t get the audience they deserve simply because people don’t know about their existence. Readers miss out and so do authors.

I want to address this by inviting Australian or New Zealander writers who have recently published their first history book to write a guest post on this blog about their book. It can be about a theme in your book, the writing and research process or the experience of getting published. I will not review the book which is the subject of the guest post.

I am interested in a post from Australian or New Zealander history writers whose book meets the following criteria:

  1. It is a history or biography. The book must be grounded in solid historical evidence and contain no imaginary dialogue, characters or events. If there is a little speculation about what might have happened this must be signalled clearly to the readers. Memoirs will be considered if you come from a linguistically or culturally diverse background.
  2. The historical evidence on which the book is based is shared with the reader. This is a tricky issue in a world where some publishers think that readers don’t like being able to refer to the evidence on which a history is based. Read my blog post, ‘Footnotes: “Sneakily Important”’ to understand my views on historical evidence. If you don’t think your history includes adequate referencing despite your wishes, tell us about it in your guest post.
  3. Your history is about the modern period, say from the Enlightenment (the late 17th century) onwards. This period fits in with the posts and the themes of this blog.
  4. Your history is available for sale in Australia at a reasonable cost. There are some excellent histories that are priced by the publisher to deter readers and libraries from acquiring them. Your history needs to be available for sale in Australia at under $60 including delivery. If your book is only available as an e-book for this price your book qualifies under this criterion.
  5. It is the first history book you have written. I want to reserve this space for emerging writers. I don’t mind if you have published fiction previously or a very different genre like a technical book.
  6. Your history is fair, balanced and does not thrash the reader with a particular ideological point of view. I am not interested in histories who make selective use of evidence to further a particular political position or campaign. I don’t like histories which denigrate other people and attack the views of other historians in a manner outside the bounds of respectful but lively debate about an issue.

Note what is not covered by the criteria. I don’t mind where in the world your history is about. I also don’t mind what language your book is written in. History is about the human condition in its myriad cultural contexts wherever in the world people live.

I particularly encourage women and people from culturally diverse backgrounds to send me a pitch for this opportunity. I will endeavour to balance the number of women and men writers given the opportunity to write a guest post.

This is a new venture for me and I have no idea how it will go. Please understand that I may change these criteria as this series evolves without warning. My personal preferences, which at the moment I have difficulty articulating, may become more obvious to me as this series progresses.

Your Proposal

I don’t want you to waste your valuable time by expecting you to write 1000 words to find that I am not even interested in your topic. Fill in the form at the bottom of this post and I will discuss it further with you via email.

Your Guest Post

If I accept your proposal for a guest post, you will need to do the following:

  1. Communicate well with the readers of Stumbling Through the Past. Your post will be clearly and engagingly written for people who enjoy reading about history. These people will be family historians, professional historians and a diverse bunch of people who just enjoy reading about history.  Use your guest post as an opportunity to start a conversation about history with readers from a variety of backgrounds and be mindful of how they want history communicated: “I want to have access to history in a way that I can digest without walking away feeling like I’ve just had a dictionary jammed down my throat or that I’m dumb,” said Stumbling Through the Past reader, Andrew Gills. Write a post that he will enjoy reading!
  2. Write 1,000 words or less.
  3. The topic of your post will be related to your book in some way, for example:
    1. About a core theme of your book;
    2. The reason why you were passionate enough about the topic to embark on your book-writing project;
    3. Your experience of the publishing process; or
    4. Any other idea you have for a post about your book.
  4. Include at least one link to your website (or author social media page) and one to your publisher’s page about your book.
  5. Share details of any upcoming author talks or book signings via a link to your website or author social media page.
  6. Send me a head and shoulders photo of you to be published with the post. If you have any other photos relevant to your guest post, send them to me. I cannot guarantee publication of these photos, but if I feel that they are relevant and fit in with the visual presentation of your post I will include them, or some of them.
  7. Watch your guest post for about a week and respond promptly to any comments that appear. Readers will feel encouraged to comment if they see that their comments will receive a response from the author.

My role will be to:

  1. Edit your post: however, I will send back all edits for your approval. I am a writer too and hate brutal editing. I understand how important your words are to you and will not publish changes without your consent.
  2. Write a brief introduction and/or further comments at the end of your post.
  3. Moderate comments to your post if necessary. Readers and commenters on Stumbling Through the Past are great people. The only intervention I have had to make with comments on this blog is to edit down comments which were way too long. While I encourage vigorous debate, I will moderate any overly distasteful, hurtful or aggressive comments.

At any stage of the process you can say to me that you don’t want to go ahead with the guest post. There will be no hard feelings. I understand that you may run out of time, change your mind about posting here or all sorts of things. We are all in this together. You are not paid for this, neither am I. We can be understanding of each other while working together to help get your book noticed.

Send Me Your Pitch!

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