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The Process of Publishing a Book

I mentioned yesterday that I have now sent in my manuscript on The Triumph of Christianity to my editor at Simon & Schuster.  It occurs to me that readers might be interested in knowing how the editorial process works.  I know I was almost completely ignorant of the process when I first started publishing books.   My unreflective thought then is that once I would finish writing a book and editing it as best I could, the process would be more or less over, without much left to do.  Wrong.  The process goes on and on and you think it’ll never end! So leading up to this point I have written the book.  That itself was a long process with a large number of stages.  I started by accumulating bibliography on the topic, reading the classics in the field, finding new books and articles that needed to be read, reading those, discovering other books and articles that had to be read, reading those, and so on.   On everything I read I took notes, so I could [...]

2020-04-03T03:02:43-04:00September 30th, 2016|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

Writing Books that Are Interesting and Important

Last week I interrupted the thread I had been pursuing about why my unusual academic background prepared me to write books for general audiences in order to talk about my lecture in Odense, Denmark, at the University of Southern Denmark, on the relationship between the worship of the Roman emperor and the rise of Christian understandings of Christ as “Savior” and “Lord” and “God” (titles given to the emperor as well).  There is more to be said about this latter topic, some of it very interesting – but I think I’ve said enough for now.  I want to finish off the earlier thread. And for a rather momentous (for me!) occasion.  Two days ago, I finished my book manuscript The Triumph of Christianity and sent it off to my editor for her to work her magic with it.  I am very excited about this process, more so (maybe a lot more so?) than normal.   This will be the thirty-first book that I’ve published (some edited, most written).  So I do this kind of thing a [...]

2017-10-23T22:40:45-04:00September 29th, 2016|Book Discussions, Public Forum, Reflections and Ruminations|

My Progress on the Book

I’m at one of my favorite points in the writing process for my next book.  Maybe it’s not right to say I’m at a point in the “writing,” since I haven’t written a word yet and won’t be writing a word for a while.   But writing is so much more than actually hammering out words on a keyboard.  The huge bulk of the work involves doing the research.   And I’m at one of my favorite points just now, the long transition period between one phase of reading and another, preparatory to the writing itself. I’ve described various aspects of my writing process before, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever explained how I sequence my reading for a new project.   For me, it’s a two-stage sequence.  I’ll explain it in reference to the current book on the Christianization of the Empire (I’ve been calling it the Triumph of Christianity, but I’m not sure I’m happy with the title any more.  Doesn’t matter.  A book’s title is like the interior trim on the house you’re building [...]

2020-04-09T13:22:03-04:00May 9th, 2016|Book Discussions, Public Forum|

Life After Death in Rome, and other Questions. Readers’ Mailbag May 6, 2016

In this week’s Readers Mailbag I address three rather divergent questions, one on ancient tombstone inscriptions that indicate that many people in the ancient world did not believe in an afterlife, one on the Temptation narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and one on the process of having a book edited in preparation for publication.  If you have a question you would like me to address, just ask – and I’ll add it to the list!   QUESTION: I’m curious…what sort of “inscriptional evidence” on ancient tombstones would seem to rule out belief in an afterlife? RESPONSE This question was asked in response to something I said, that even though in ancient Greek and Roman mythology there are discussions of the afterlife (e.g., in the Odyssey, book 11; Plato’s Myth of Er in book 10 of the Republic; and so on), there are reasons for thinking that most (or at least many?) people in antiquity believed that life was the end of the story.  And I indicated that this is because of inscriptions [...]

Steps Toward Publishing the (a) Book

I am now nearly done with the draft of my book Jesus Before the Gospels (whatever it will eventually will be called), and want to say sundry things about the actual writing of the book here near the end.   (Before I do:  if any of you has any questions about the topic I’m covering or anything relevant you would like me to post on, let me know:  if I don’t have issues to address involving memory, the historical Jesus, oral tradition, and so on, I’ll move on to other things on the blog.) First, in an earlier post I gave members of the blog an option of reading the book in manuscript form in advance.   In case you missed it, here is the offer, which is still open and will be for another three days only.   I am using this opportunity as a way of raising money for the blog (well, for the Bart Ehrman Foundation, which, as you know, gives all the money raised by the blog to charities dealing with hunger and homelessness). [...]

2020-04-03T13:46:03-04:00May 4th, 2015|Book Discussions|
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