Authors’ Book Pitch: New Releases, Straight from the Source

Call for Submissions

HSS is getting ready for the 2020 Virtual Forum from October 8-11, 2020. Our program will be published shortly.

The HSS 2020 Authors’ Book Pitch is a central feature of our Virtual Forum. At a time when in-person interaction and exchange is limited, the Authors’ Book Pitch provides a platform to share new and exciting scholarship. Everyone who has registered for the Virtual Forum and published a monograph or edited a collective volume in the history of science, technology and medicine in 2019 or 2020 is warmly welcome to participate!

How It Works

If you plan to attend our meeting and have published a monograph or edited a collective volume in the field of history of science, history, and medicine (broadly construed) in 2019 or 2020, we invite you to  

  • self-record a short, three-minute video about the book (see instructions below). 
  • upload your video on a cloud storage service of your choice (Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or your institutional cloud storage service.) 
  • copy the shareable link to the video file that your cloud storage service will give you.
  • provide the link and other information via the HSS video upload form no later than October 1, 2020

Our HSS video upload form will also ask you to provide: 

  • a transcript in doc, docx, or txt format, or a link to such a transcript. If you provide the transcript itself, this will be made available for a limited time during and after the conference, and may be available for download. If you prefer to offer a transcript available only during your presentation, please send the link on the upload form, and also provide the link for your audience during your presentation. Offering a transcript will assist audience members who require more time to process the information or would like to return to certain points and thus enhance genuine and engaged scholarship. 
  • a short blurb (twitter-length) that will serve as the title/teaser for your pitch in our Authors’ Pitch playlist. 
  • a link to your publisher’s book web page (and, if applicable, discount information)

 Your video will be displayed on the HSS Virtual Forum Platform during and for a limited time after the conference. All video will  be deleted after we close the event platform. All authors must register for the meeting. Please note that HSS will not provide video editing. Videos must be upload ready. Videos longer than three minutes will not be displayed.  

Instructions for Production 

Structure and Content 

The format of your short book presentation is deliberately simple. In order to help structure your presentation, please answer those of our five questions that you can speak to with ease. You don’t have to keep to the exact wording – take our questions as an offer to keep it basic, crisp, and easy to follow. Your HSS audience will browse through many of our Authors’ Pitches. Make yours memorable! Be clear, light-hearted, and engaging. 

  1. What’s the title of your book, and the tale behind it?
  2. Whom of your actors, objects, or sources surprised you the most?
  3. What are your book’s main arguments and how do they stand out/fit in?
  4. Which chapter would you recommend us to read first? 
  5. Why should your book be on desks and bedside tables far and wide? 


In order to make for an engaging recording, please consider our instructions for recording at home/on your own:

  • Start the video with a slide of your book cover or show a copy of your book. The cover/material object of your book is important for people to remember what you say. 
  • Choose a spot with a lot of (day)light. The source of light must not be behind you. At the same time, please do not sit in bright sunlight as this will overexpose your face.
  • Be mindful of your background—it should be quiet and in light colors. A bookshelf in the background is also suitable.
  • Ensure you are seated at an angle from the camera so that glasses do not reflect light, which can obscure the viewer from seeing your eyes. At the same time, try and stay in the middle of the screen.
  • Your environment should be as quiet as possible: no humming refrigerators, washing machines, traffic noise, pets making sounds, etc. Close all doors and windows.
  • To reduce reverberation, choose a location with plenty of furniture and few smooth surfaces. Fabrics swallow reverb, so carpets, curtains, and couches are beneficial.
  • If you record on your computer, be aware that the typing on the keyboard and clicking of the mouse will also be heard and thus recorded—if possible, try to avoid it.
  • If you record on your computer and you have an external audio recording device (such as an external microphone or headphones), use that to record your presentation, as it usually has better audio quality. 
  • You can also record your presentation by using a digital single-lens reflex camera or your cell phone. These devices usually have better in-built cameras than computers.  
  • Finally, always test your setup before the actual recording.

We look forward to learning about your latest work!   

Soraya de Chadarevian, Christine von Oertzen 
HSS 2020 program co-chairs, and the Virtual Forum Committee

For any questions, please use our contact form