Presentation of M.E. Rachal Award at the Virginia Historical Society (2005) w/Paul Levengood and Nelson Lankford
The other day I received an email from a reader looking for advice on writing and publishing in the field of Civil War history. I thought it might be a good idea to respond on the blog so as to allow the rest of you to add your own perspective. First the email:
I’m emailing to seek advice on writing and publishing. I’ve always been what I guess one would call a Civil War “buff” and am now trying to take my understanding of the period to a higher, more serious level. I think the sesquicentennial is an opportune time to do so. Last month I joined the Society of Civil War Historians. In the past 1 1/2 years I’ve published a book chapter on library instruction, spoken at a few on-campus events here at my college, and presented at a few conferences as well. Later this year I have four articles being published in a woman’s history encyclopedia published by Facts-on-File.
I’m emailing because I have what I feel are some strong ideas for both academic journal articles and the general interest ACW magazines. My focus is more on the immediate postbellum period than the war itself. My position is somewhat unique because though I don’t hold the PhD, I have faculty status. (I have two masters degrees.) In a way the pressure is off because this past semester I was given tenure. (I’m thinking about starting my own blog this coming fall when my tenure becomes official with the new academic year.) Anyways, I’m emailing to see if you might be able to give me some advice on breaking in. A few questions I have are:
Again, please feel free to add your own thoughts based on your own experiences. I don’t have any hard and fast answers. That said, I do see my own story reflected in this email. I do not have a PhD in history, but I did manage to work my way to a point where I can maneuver between a number of different communities. Continue reading →