10 Tips for Getting Your Monograph Published

by | Jun 27, 2024 | General, RHS Work | 0 comments



On Friday 14 June 2024 the Royal Historical Society hosted a training workshop for Post-Graduate and Early Career Historians: Getting Published: A Guide to Monograph Publishing’. 

The event brought together editors and academics to demystify the process of publishing a monograph, with specific attention on how to move from a completed PhD to book proposal to a published monograph. We recently released the event video which contains numerous tips and insights. 

Here we pull out a ‘Top 10’ from the panel and discussion: 10 key things for historians to bear in mind when thinking about publishing their monographs. Thanks again to our panellists and audience on 14 June. 






1. Your PhD thesis is not a monograph (Watch the discussion at 10:16 in the video) 

A PhD thesis is not the same as a book, so be prepared to revise your writing and incorporate new ideas into your monograph. You have more authority now that you’ve earned your PhD, so change the tone of your writing to reflect this: remove hedging words, be confident in your expertise, and be bolder in your arguments. 


2. Choose your title carefully (Discussion at 15:15 and 28:38) 

Online searches have changed the way books are named- gone are alliterative titles and puns that may not translate to a global audience. Instead, think about what will be useful for Google searches, check other titles in your field, and consider what ties together the theme of your work. When in doubt, ask your publisher: they know what sells. 


 3. Consider the structure of your book (Discussion at 16:11) 

Books are visual objects, so make sure to pay attention to not only to the content of your monograph but also its aesthetic appeal. How do the words look on the page? How is your content structured? People are more likely to read shorter paragraphs and sentences rather than long unwieldy ones.  


 4. Be social (Discussion at 21:09) 

Writing can be a lonely task, but it doesn’t need to be. Ask colleagues to join you for writing workshops or speak with peers about new developments in your field.  


 5. The importance of the ‘front porch’ (Discussion at 30:41) 

Think about how important the curb appeal of your house is- the same applies to books! First impressions are vital to whether an audience keeps reading your monograph, so make sure your introductory chapter is like a ‘front porch’: welcoming, meticulous, and engaging.   


 6. The Three W’s (Discussion at 32:05) 

Let your monograph proposal be guided by the three W’s:  Why does your topic matter? What is new about what you’re doing? Which contribution are you going to make?  


 7. Don’t let rejection get you down (Discussion at 38:40) 

The publishing industry is competitive, and your book proposal may not be accepted at first. Don’t feel defeated–this simply means that the editorial board doesn’t think the proposal is ready yet. Sometimes you just need to redirect and resubmit. 


 8. Choose the right publisher (Discussion at 45:28) 

Do your research when choosing who to submit a book proposal to. Think about which books and series you read during your thesis and see who publishes them; ask colleagues about their publishing experiences; and think about which market is best for your topic. When in doubt, email an editor. They are happy to talk with authors. 


 9. Promote your work (Discussion at 57:25) 

Think about how you will promote your monograph and convey that in your book proposal. Will you engage with conferences, podcasts or social media? Who do you think will be interested in your research? Let the publisher know how you plan on selling this book. 


 10. Don’t forget to be creative (Discussion at 1:10:56) 

Writing is a craft- you can always hone and better your skill as an author. Remember to have a bit of fun with your writing and try new things. Writing an academic book is not an excuse for dry prose. 




Our thanks to our four speakers at this Royal Historical Society event:

Professor Jane Winters, Vice-President for Publications at the Society

Professor Miri Rubin, Queen Mary University of London

Professor Elizabeth Hurren, Series Co-Editor for New Historical Perspectives published by University of London Press

Meredith Carroll, History Editor at Manchester University Press



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