What Do We Call It? Coming Up with a Book Title.

I am at a critical juncture in my current writing project, and thought I could provide an update on my progress over a few posts.  Today I talk about titles

As I earlier indicated on the blog, I am tentatively calling the book:  The Triumph of Christianity: How the Followers of Jesus Destroyed the Religions of Rome.   I’m not sure what the final title will be – this is just what I’m working with for now.   The main title (Triumph of ...

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Who Should Write Trade Books?

Most people who contact me about a book they would like to write – or that they have written – are not talking about a work of scholarship (though some are); they are talking about a book that they would like to publish that “reaches the masses.”  They have some ideas about early Christianity, the historical Jesus, the life and writings of Paul, the Gospels, the entire Bible, or some related topic, and they would like to publish a book ...

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How I Moved into Trade Publishing

I have been explaining that I started to write books for a broader audience not because that was some kind of goal in my life – just the opposite! – but because I came to think it would be a good thing to try to communicate scholarship on the New Testament to 19-20 year olds in a college-level textbook.  A couple of readers have commented that when my former classmates from Moody have indicated that I wanted (and still want) ...

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Writing to Become Famous?

I’ve been referring to the reactions that I received from my former classmates at Moody Bible Institute about some of my posts about what my experience was like there.  Some of them, as I indicated, warned me of future judgment.   Others made some a rather belittling comment:  that I have written my books simply because I have wanted to become famous.

My sense is that nothing I say would ever change someone’s mind if that’s what they are already inclined to ...

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Choosing a Topic for A Trade Book

In this thread I’ve been talking about how I go about writing a trade book, and I am now dealing with the question of how an author chooses what to write about.  I was indicating earlier that some of my graduate students have a difficult time knowing what to focus on in their dissertations.  Most of my students come up with amazingly good ideas; but every now and then I have a student who simply can’t decide what to do.  ...

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Scholarly vs. Trade Books

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 ...

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My Scholarly and Trade Books on Forgery

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the books that I anticipate writing in the future.  I like to plan my life in advance.  I like to plan my week in advance.  I like to plan my day in advance.  I like to plan.   For my current ten-year publishing plan, the two immediate goals are not so immediate, as they will take three or four years, I should think.   The next book, I hope, will be the trade book for ...

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Trade Books and Scholarly Books

I indicated in my previous post that I would say a few things about each of the books that I am planning – today at least – to try to write over the next ten years or so.   The very next book will be trade book on Jesus Before the Gospels, a study of what happened to the stories about Jesus as they were altered, and invented, by Christians circulating them word of mouth before the writing of ...

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My Future Books

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been in London for the summer, spending almost all my time reading books.   I should clarify that I’m not *only* reading books while I’m here!  Among other things, once a week I’ve been taking my daily walk (I normally walk an hour a day around Wimbledon, where our flat is) to the large park nearby, and sit on a bench, listening to music with my earphones, watching people play football (a.k.a. soccer) or ...

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Anecdotes in Trade Books

The *point* of this post comes near the end.

The first trade book that I wrote (that is, a book for a general reading audience, as opposed to a scholarly book for scholars) was Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, which appeared in 1999.   I wrote several after that (including one that I like among my best: Lost Christianities), but it wasn’t until Misquoting Jesus in 2005 that I feel like I “hit ...

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