Royal Historical Society discusses History trade publishing at Yale University Press London

11 October 2023

On Tuesday 10 October, the Society was delighted to host a panel discussion on ‘Writing and Publishing Trade History’, jointly with Yale University Press London. The event marked Yale 50, which celebrates 50 years of Yale University Press publishing in London, and took place in the Yale UP offices.

The panel brought together authors, publishers and literary agents to discuss History trade publishing from a range of perspectives. Our thanks to Yale University Press London as co-hosts and to our panellists: historians Rebecca Clifford (Durham) and Robert Gildea (Oxford); publishers Heather McCallum (Yale UP) and Simon Winder (Penguin Books); and James Pullen of the Wylie Agency. The panel was chaired by Emma Griffin, President of the Royal Historical Society.

Topics for discussion included the distinctive qualities of a trade History book; why authors might choose to publish a trade book, and at which stage of their academic career; what publishers such as Yale and Penguin look for in a proposal; the role of a literary agent; how the process of structuring and writing a trade book differs from that of an academic monograph; the value of trade publishing; and futures for History trade publishing with reference to diversity, subject areas and readerships.

Thank you also to our audience for their questions on topics including how to choose a publisher and identify an agent; the potential financial returns of writing a trade book; the impact of celebrity authors writing history; and when in the research and writing process to contact a publisher.

A podcast of ‘Writing and Publishing Trade History’ will be made available shortly for those unable to attend in person.

Details of forthcoming Society panels and lectures are available on the Events page of the RHS website. These include: