For those who read my blog posts a few months ago, you might remember this post where I celebrated the completion of my manuscript on Iowa libraries during World War I. Recently, I heard from a publisher I sent a proposal and sample chapter to, and they made some great suggestions for improvements that they wanted to see before the manuscript was sent through peer review. I wanted to share some thoughts here, but more importantly I wanted to solicit some input from folks who have read my research (or listened to me talk about it). I want my manuscript to be as awesome as possible, and I bet there are some great suggestions out there!
The first idea the publisher had was to situate the research in a broader context of WWI regionally and nationally. I do this a bit, but I agree that adding more context would help the material be informative to a wider audience, and would help them relate to it more easily. He suggested I start out by looking at Christopher Capozzola, and I'm going to revisit Wayne Wiegand's bibliography as well (any other suggestions are welcome!)
The second suggestion centered around appendices, and this is where I would love to have some input from the folks who are even vaguely familiar with the research I've done. My work centered around primary documents from the libraries, and it was suggested that an appendix of select documents would help to guide students' understanding and to show a progression of events at the institutions. I definitely have some favorites I want to include, but I want to know what documents readers want to see or know more about!
Lastly, I asked around about other ways to make useful appendices and here are the types of appendices I've been told would be most useful: a timeline, a map/maps, definitions, and suggestions for further reading. I would love to hear of anything else that you think would be helpful for readers!
Thanks in advance--I'm looking forward to seeing where this project takes me!