Update: I just agreed to do my first book signing in Chicago at the Abraham Lincoln Bookshop. Of course, the date has yet to be determined. This is shaping up to be a pretty good weekend.
I am pleased to report that Remembering War As Murder: The Battle of the Crater took a giant leap forward yesterday toward publication. As many of you know back in August I submitted a revised manuscript to the publisher after responding to extensive comments by three anonymous reviewers. All of them provided a healthy dose of criticism and suggestions for improving the overall manuscript. Following the resubmission I was told that the manuscript would be sent to one of the original reviewers as well as a new outside reader. A few weeks ago I heard from the first reviewer, who gave it the green light and yesterday I received a copy of the second report. The reviewer was incredibly enthusiastic and concluded that the book, “stands to make a real and lasting contribution to the field of Civil War Memory studies.” That’s music to my ears. Both reviewers pointed out a few minor things to address, which I will take care of over the next few weeks. I’ve been working with a university press, which is why the process is perhaps a bit more involved than usual. Let me just say that it’s been worth it. The peer review process once again served me well and no doubt saved me from a few errors and helped to point out ways to make my argument even stronger. The final step will be to present the manuscript to the publisher’s board of editors in May. In addition to making these final changes I am also putting together a list of possible photographs as well as a few ideas for the cover. I would love to have the famous John Elder image of the Crater on one side and Don Troiani’s recent print of Mahone’s Charge. The two images beautifully capture the central theme of the book, which is the evolution of how Americans remembered the racial aspect of the battle.
This will be my first book and like every author I hope it sells well. The reviewer quoted above also suggested that the book will likely be used in college classrooms and be attractive to Civil War enthusiasts as well. That’s a positive sign, but how many academic titles have been marketed as having the potential to bridge these two communities? I assume that most people who publish with university presses don’t expect their book to break into mainstream readership. In my case, however, it will be very interesting to see the extent to which my Online presence will push sales. Yesterday I offered a brief update on the status of the manuscript on my Facebook page and within a few hours I had over 40 people express their enthusiasm. A number of people emailed me to let them know when the book is available for pre-order. I am going to go out on a limb here to suggest that this may be the first academic history title to come out of a strong social media presence. As many of you know much of this project was discussed at one point or another on this blog and many of you offered assistance through your thoughtful comments and offers to share your own research materials. What I am suggesting is that many of you have become invested in this project for one reason or another and I have every reason to expect that this will translate into additional sales.
It’s too early to tell, but I may have stumbled upon not only a legitimate method of vetting my ideas with a large audience, but in turning that interest eventually into a book sale. Stay tuned.