Professor Ekserdjian, History of Art at University of Leicester, presented at The Salon recently on the subject of getting research published.
Make whatever you wish to publish match the publication. He cited Apollo, which ran articles 3,000-5,000 words long, excluding footnotes – saying that a 20,000 word article would not be published. He also recommended that one should write in the tone most suited to the intended publication. He added a note that you should write for that which you are most comfortable reading.
The professor said that one should bear in mind that what one writes “is going to be read by a member of the human race”, and so should be digestible. Added he then observations on the appropriate use of footnotes.
Professor Ekserdjian offered, then, an example from the catalogue of a forthcoming Royal Academy exhibition, containing numerous corrections. The example was offered to serve the point that submissions should be as error-free as possible. The key is “to project a certain seriousness and authority” through prose.
Professor Sir Keith Thomas was offered as an example of a writer whose submissions were so good that they needed no correction, no amendment.
Another thing to bear in mind, said the professor, is that publications evolve. He showed examples of publications on art produced at different times.