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Promoting Your Book in a Pandemic: A Roundtable with Writers and Publishers

  • April 23, 2021
  • 12:00 PM (EDT)
  • Virtual

Whether you are publishing a first book or a fifth, you may feel stymied about how to do most effectively do this in the midst of a pandemic. 2020 challenged publishers’ and authors’ abilities to get word out about their new books. Yet, this has long been a particular challenge for academics, especially authors writing about events and topics that offer deep historical context for events that may or may not be in the news cycle. This panel will focus on how authors and presses sell and market books and promote ideas when the noise of current events is threatening to drown out serious non-fiction. This issue is important for ASEH members and others in environmental history and sciences at a time of pressing issues such as climate change, green energy, and the sale of protected wildlife refuge land. It will address such questions as:

  • How should you reach out to publishers when normal channels like conferences aren’t part of the landscape?
  • How might you market your book better in an age of COVID?
  • What is different and what has remained the same in marketing and publicity?
  • What does your publisher do and what can you do to best partner with your publisher?
  • How can you most effectively use social media (even if you hate social media)?
  • What is going on with book review editors/ producers/ bloggers during the pandemic?
  • How can you successfully pitch op-eds when the news cycle is changing so quickly?
  • What tips do you have for virtual book events?
  • What impact has virtual publicity and online marketing had on sales?
  • What kind of changes, if any, do you see coming for publishers in the near future?

The proposed panel is a roundtable discussion intended for professional development for ASEH members at all stages of their careers. It will not have individual papers or separate presentations but instead be a conversation amongst the panelists about practical tips, followed by extensive Q & A from the audience.

Jean E. Thomson Black is Senior Executive Editor for Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Medicine at Yale University Press. Using the lenses of the life, biomedical, and cognitive sciences and environmental issues, she publishes books that address concerns about the history and fate of life on earth and human health and welfare. Under this umbrella, focal points include (but are not limited to) natural history, ecology and evolutionary biology, ornithology, the history of science and medicine, and environmental history, for general readers, scholars, and students.

Susan Ferber is an executive editor for American and World history at Oxford University Press in New York, where she has worked since 1997. Her list ranges from ancient history to contemporary history and includes both academic and trade titles. She has edited many first books, as well as the work of senior scholars. She enjoys working with scholars, helping them to attain tenure and to make their ideas accessible to wider audiences. In addition to speaking regularly about publishing at universities and scholarly conferences, she shared some of her thoughts on editing scholarly work in What Editors Do (University of Chicago Press, 2018). (Additional participants TBA.)

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American Society for Environmental History

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