Helpful Tips on Publishing Scholarly Monographs

I need to begin this post with a caveat: I have never written a monograph. There are many reasons for this, chief among them my propensity toward distraction and boredom. Simply put, at this season in my life I can’t think of a single historical topic to which I want to devote 200 or more pages. I can, however, think of dozens of topics to which I want to devote 15–50 pages as well as numerous primary sources that I wish to see reprinted in critical editions. For that reason, my own scholarly publications tend to fall into three broad categories: 1) journal articles or contributed essays; 2) critical book reviews; 3) editing primary sources. Perhaps I’ll write a monograph or two at some point, but don’t hold your breath. For the time being, that’s not really my style.

Because I have never written a monograph, I’m obviously not an authority on this topic. However, I work with lots of authorities on this topic. (Maybe I can pass myself off as an authority by osmosis?) I also know that many readers of this blog are seminary students and younger scholars who probably do want to write monographs. So my desire in this post is not to position myself as an authority, but rather to point readers to a helpful resource I have found for those interested in publishing academic monographs.

Religion in American History is a consortium blog of mostly college and university historians who study American religious history. Some of the contributors are evangelicals, while others are not. Many have written on topics that at least intersect with the interests of the readers of Between the Times. Religion in American History is a particularly helpful resource if you want to read substantive reviews of recent monographs (and sometimes important journal articles) in the field of American religious history.

Randall Stephens, who serves as one of the three “blogmeisters” for Religion in American History, has written a helpful post titled “Turning it into a Book.” In that post, Stephens collates suggestions from various publishers, along with his own insights on the topic. While Stephens focuses primarily on publishing for university presses, his suggestions also apply to church historians and other scholars who wish to publish monographs with other types of scholarly presses such as Eerdmans, Baker Academic, IVP Academic, Zondervan, Wipf and Stock, Pickwick, or T&T Clark (to name a few options). I think they also generally apply to scholars (or even pastors) who wish to publish monographs, textbooks, or even semi-scholarly books with more conservative evangelical presses such as Crossway, B&H, Moody, and Kregel.

If I ever do get around to writing a monograph (my lonely and heretofore unpublished dissertation is screaming at me from the shelf as I type), then I’ll consult Stephens’s helpful post on the front-end of that project. No doubt many of this blog’s readers will “beat me to the punch” and publish one or more scholarly monographs. If so, I hope you folks also find Stephens’s post useful, even if you are writing in a different discipline than my own.

(Note: This post was first published at Historia Ecclesiastica on April 26, 2013. It has been revised for a broader audience.)