Academic historians fret about not reaching the public. It's not enough to say (even if true), "I'm doing such important & interesting work." It's about writing.

First, accept that work that doesn't signal that it's for academics only can still be cutting-edge scholarship.
There are conventions for journal articles & monographs that serve a professional purpose, & signal that they are for fellow scholars. That's fine! But historians should embrace serious work that doesn't follow these conventions. It's not dumbing down to depart from them.
Second, academic historians who want a wide audience need to read fiction & compelling nonfiction journalism, & ask why it's appealing. It's not about color, an anecdote, an important fact. It's about giving the reader a reason to go on to the next page—the next paragraph.
My go-to short handbook on writing narrative is David Lodge's collection of columns, "The Art of Fiction." He defines the propulsion mechanism as raising questions in the mind of the reader & delaying the answers. That goes directly against academic conventions. But it's key.
There's a lot more to it than that, but that's the basic point. It works for argument as well as narrative. Sometimes you know the ending—how do we get there? Sometimes you don't know what will happen or be revealed. Make the reader want to find out.

Thus endeth the lesson.

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More from @TJStiles_Author

3 Jan
Just Trump's opening remarks are lunacy. His first reason for asserting fraud is rally size. He claims 50,000 voters were told they couldn't vote because they already did & 100,000s of ballots were forged. No court has seen *any* evidence for any of this.…
At about 7:29, he says, "We won every state and every single statehouse.... We won Congress..."

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Historian @KevinLevin mentioned a new biography of Lee coming this fall. I have no knowledge or opinion of it. But some historians asked, "Do we really need a new biography of Lee?" The answer is easy: always—if done right. The reasons are complicated. 1/7…
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Jesse James's life illuminates their meaning.
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1) "Law & order" represents the *aggression* of white supremacy. Before the Civil War, the growing challenge to the slaveholders' dominance bred aggressive demands.
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As a public service, here’s a summary of President Trump’s message to the American people so far:
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