In the past thread I was discussing how, on three occasions, I produced both a scholarly book and a trade book for popular audiences on the same topic. I thought that now it would be interesting for me to say a few words about what I see as the difference between these two kinds of books.
On one level, I think the difference would be obvious to anyone who would compare two of the books I’ve mentioned, for example, my scholarly monograph Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics with my popular book, Forged: Writing in the Name of God – Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are. They are on the same topic. But they are oh so different.
For openers, the titles are dead give aways. Titles are a tricky business. Publishers are the ones who ultimately decide on what a title will be. I should say that for almost all of my scholarly books (in fact, I think for every single one of them) I have been allowed to use the title that I wanted. That’s not always the case. I have a lot of friends who have a title in mind for a book that they have worked on for years and that they consider to be a precious creation of their own, who are told that they cannot use the title they want. It can be deflating.
The thing about scholarly titles is that…
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