I'm not saying I am going to....

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by CoinBlazer, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    but how do, for the Numismatic authors, do you guys write your books. How much research is involved, what strategies do you use, what format is your book in?

    This is another part of my Numismatic Literature focus...understanding the process
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  3. jcm

    jcm Active Member

    Well, first you start out by being a really rich guy. Then you pick an obscure topic that nobody else had even dreamt of, like "Proctology in Numismatics."

    Then you do the following:
    - find the six coins ever made that have tenuous links to proctology
    -throw in a bunch of pictures of stuff that has nothing to do with the subject matter, like sunsets and the Eiffel Tower
    - submit it to a certain numismatic organization headquartered in Manhattan who will publish it and sell copies for the low member price of $249 (a classic work which will stand the test of time! free shipping to the lower 48!).

    But in all seriousness, you find something that interests you. Then proceed like any academic paper. Thesis statement, survey of past research, then explain how your thesis fits or differs from that research. Then make a conclusion based on your argument and the evidence presented. It should be well researched with support from existing numismatic literature that has been proven sound. Pretty basic, hardest part is usually tracking down source material. Newman Numismatic Portal should help with that immensely since you don't have to go to a physical document or try to cajole a librarian to ferret it out for you and copy it and mail it out.
  4. CoinBlazer

    CoinBlazer Numismatic Enthusiast

    I just learned of the NNP and it is awesome
  5. jcm

    jcm Active Member

    The e-sylum has regular updates on the progress of the NNP, and I'm really amazed at the progress they've been making as far as scanning and indexing material. At first I thought it was just hype, but it is turning out to be a really excellent resource. Now the ANS is linking their online library catalog to NNP holdings so you can look up a reference in DONUM and link from there.
  6. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    There are a number of factors. The most important is to write a book that you wish you could read. Others will probably feel the same. You should have new information to offer, though sometimes authors get by just presenting known information in a more contemporary, easier to understand, fashion.

    I don't agree that you have to be rich, but you can't do it with the expectation of making money. If profit is your motive, find a field with a larger buying population.

    Assuming that the book would be of interest to a group with similar collecting interests to yours, talk with your fellow collectors to determine their interest in your project.

    Then decide how you want to present your book. If in print only, what format? What kind of paper? Are you going to use color? It greatly increases the cost of production, but it's what everyone expects, now. If digitally, what format and how will users acquire it? If you are going to charge for a digital download, how will it be protected from unauthorized copying?

    Decide on the size of your print run. The more books you have printed, the lower the cost per book, but be realistic about what you might sell. You probably won't sell 1,000 copies of a book on Higley coppers, but that might be too small a print run for a book on Morgan dollars (if you have enough to say about Morgan dollars that hasn't already been said).

    I could go on, but I can say a little from experience.

    When we published the Grading Guide for Early American Copper Coins, we got opinions of several experts on how many to print. Their opinions were all over the place from fewer than 500 to more than 2000 copies. We settled on 1500 and crossed our fingers. We sold them all in less than 3 years, though some - fewer than 100 - remain in dealers' hands. There has been some pressure to do a second edition, but we're not going to do that while dealers still have inventory.

    We also priced the book low @ $55 or $50 to EAC and C4 members. None of the authors took any pay or royalties. Early American Coppers, which published it, paid for the publishing and got all of the income from it. The club ended up making low five figures from the project, and that money is in a fund to support the educational outreach activities of the club, which is a 501(c)3.

    As you can see, there's a LOT to consider.
  7. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    It very largely depends on what you want to write about!

    Basically, if you want to write a book about a subject, you need to figure out three things:

    1. What is the focus of my book? That is, what's the point?
    2. What have I got to say about the subject that nobody has said before?
    3. Do I know enough about this subject to speak authoritatively on it? Can I answer all the questions, and describe it such that someone new to the topic will understand it?

    If you cannot answer those three questions satisfactorily, you probably shouldn't even consider writing a book. With exhaustive research and study, you can learn enough to cover the 3rd point if you don't know it already. I have an idea for a new book that I want to write, but I'm sorta stuck in this third question. Research, study, diving into archives, doing original research so that you have something new to say.... its tough.

    Once you've sufficiently answered the first 3 questions, you have to consider the 4th, equally important:

    4. Can you write clearly enough, and explain well enough, that this book will be useful?

    This 4th point takes a *lot* of effort. You may know a lot about a subject, but if you can't clearly and effectively teach that material, you probably shouldn't write a book.

    In my personal experience, from the time that I decided that I wanted to write a book until I published it took about 5 years. In that time, many, many authors give up writing and never actually finish their books. If you are going to attempt a task like this, you have to realize that it is an extremely long term commitment that will take considerable time and effort.

    All that being said - writing a book is also one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever accomplished. I put hundreds of hours into it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
    Theodosius likes this.
  8. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    That is *FANTASTIC* advice.

    The single driving focus when I wrote my book was "Man, I wish I could have read this book when I was learning."
    Buffy waller likes this.
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