What Elements Should Be Included in a History Book?

When contemplating the essentials of publishing history books, it is crucial to remember that these are not intended purely as academic materials, but also as a means to engage, inform and entertain a diverse audience. They should be able to serve as portals to different time periods and events.

Approaching a Popular Audience

– Before drafting a history book, it is important to remember the audience. The book has to be engaging to both historians and non-historians. Concentrate on narrating the story, making it come to life and resonate with the reader’s interest.

– Maintain a clear and concise language, free from academic jargon. This involves ensuring a smooth narrative flow to keep the reader turning the pages.

– Historical figures should be depicted as well-rounded individuals that readers could develop a stake in, rather than just dry historical facts and figures.

hanging note

Striking Balance Between Academic and Trade Approach

– Crafting history books invoke balancing between two different worlds, namely the academic and the trade. While academic publishing could bring respect from peers and career advancement, with trade publishing your aim is to maximize the reader’s experience. Giving priority to the reading pleasure can instill the book with a broader appeal.

– Even though it is essential to be accurate, the ultimate goal should be an organically complete and satisfying book. This includes crafting a narrative that serves the experience of the reader.

Publishing Procedures

– While considering publishing with a commercial press, one must have an agent. They not only stand as the initial layer of quality control but also assist authors in getting the best deals.

– For trade publishers, contracts are usually based on book proposals and sample chapters, not completed manuscripts. Hence, it is important to shape the book proposal that doesn’t dumb down the approach. Instead, it should show an engaging narrative.

– Unlike academic houses, commercial press houses follow a more stringent marketing strategy which the author also needs to partake in actively.

pensive person

Role of Editors

In trade publishing, editors play an important role right from manuscript reading to copyediting and proofreading. This intensive process helps mold the book to keep the reader’s interest intact.

Popular and Academic Presses

There are clear distinctions between popular and academic presses. While the former focuses on contemporary issues and readability, academic presses are essential for more scholarly needs and advancing academic disciplines. They are oriented towards academic-book marketplaces and benefit from the prestige associated with scholarly authors.

question mark

Importance of Historical Fiction

Writing historical fiction provides a balance between realism and escapism. They bring history to life while making us connect on a human level with people of the past. Good historical fiction writers emphasize authenticity in their works without overshadowing the essence with too many historical details.


The importance lies in making history accessible, engaging, and informative to the reader. Regardless of whether they’re popular or academic presses, the intent revolves around narrating the past through engaging narratives and fascinating historical figures. To write an appealing history book, one must strike an optimal balance between solid research and captivating storytelling.

Related articles

Leave a Comment