This is a repost from Today is another Special Request Post. This one is from Maria, who asks, do I have a template like my Foolproof Grant Template for turning a dissertation into a book? No, Maria, I do not. But there are some tips that I can offer for easing the process and making it more efficient. If you are in a book field, the fact is, your dissertation must be transformed into a book to be of full value to you. The dissertation alone counts for little in the academic career. The dissertation serves you only insofar as you can quickly transform it into the commodities that bring value on the market—peer reviewed articles preferably published before you defend and start the job search , high profile grants that funded the research, high profile conferences in which you present the research publicly, and finally, the advance contract for the book from a major NOT minor academic press.
These are the tangible accomplishments that you must have to be competitive for a tenure track position at this point in time. Write from day one with a wide market of undergraduates in mind. You want the book to be assigned as a text in undergraduate courses in your field. Write it so those undergraduates can read it. Remember that the methodology section will be entirely removed from the book mss.
And the literature review will be almost entirely removed, with a small section folded into the Introduction or other chapters. Conceptualize and write the entire thing remembering that these sections, while critical to your committee, are short-lived.
In the meantime, put extra effort into a catchy, appealing Introduction and Conclusion. These speak to readers, and to the editors and reviewers who will judge your mss. Academic publishing is in the same epic financial crisis as the rest of the academic world.
Publishers are going out of business right and left, and those that remain are under pressure to publish books that actually sell and make a profit unlike the old days when it was understood that scholarly monographs rarely broke even. Publishers must keep their production costs low, and this means they want shorter books. The dissertation may be treated like the intellectual achievement par excellence in your doctoral program, but in the real world of jobs with benefits, it is a commodity that has value only when it can be traded for gain on the market.
Do a google search of such classes and find out what kinds of books are assigned. Take a look at those books and see what their main selling points seem to be. Then ask yourself how you can adjust and mold your dissertation to be the kind of book that serves that market without losing sight of your actual project and findings, of course!
When you send the mss. Write with style and flair. Products that sell have to be differentiated from the competition—ie, they have to be exciting, new, and different. You have to please your committee to get a Ph. Your committee controls you for a few years, but your book establishes your career trajectory for decades. You have an agenda, and that is publishing an influential, high-profile book with a top press. Follow your own star, defend your positions, compromise when you must, and move on as efficiently as you can.
The best dissertation is a finished dissertation that is already a press-ready mss. I wrote a doctoral dissertation on why some young, single Japanese women in the early s were demonstrating a striking enthusiasm for studying abroad, living abroad, working abroad, and finding white Western men to be their lovers and husbands. However, when I sent the mss.
This is practically unheard of for young academic writers peddling scholarly monographs. My book was provocative. It had some naughty pictures. I ignored the negative comments in my department.
Dear Junior TT, thanks for asking. For now, I do have one piece of nuts and bolts advice for the TT folks, that trumps all other advice, in fact all other advice put together, which is: You cannot do it while maintaining a full teaching schedule. It is, actually, impossible. Even one-term or one-semester internal grants can put you over the top. I myself ended up with 2 full years of leave, which is how I both wrote a book and had two children!
A good department and Head will release junior faculty from teaching to get their publishing done. I work on literature, and based on my experience both as an undergraduate and as a teacher of undergraduates , we rarely, if at all, read secondary criticism in our courses.
I would approach this a couple of ways. So, here, if your market is not undergrad classes, then what is it?
You are far, far, better off if your book intervenes in several fields rather than just one. There is a LOT of detective work that you can do to figure out how to situate your work within markets, and also how to subtly adapt your book mss. Thankfully, I am only entering year four and I have a fellowship year up ahead that I won in a national competition. Otherwise I would be much more terrified. My problem is finding quality mentorship about book writing beyond: Again, although I realize the diss to book process is different for everyone, it could use a little more demystification.
I am a hard worker and I write every day, but I am frustrated to be dealing with similar issues as I did during the diss—the fumbling, the confusion, the dead ends, rough prose—but without a committee whom I can talk to about my progress or whether or not I am on target in terms of quality, my timeline, or to help me with questions like—is my project too ambitious?
I finished my dissertation last April, and I very quickly received requests from two European publishers to turn my dissertation into a book. They also had reservations about the publishing houses.
In fact, when I did not reply quickly enough, one publisher became a bit pushy about sending my manuscript. I politely declined the offers of both publishing houses, only to get yet another offer from a third publisher who had bought one of the other publishers.
After reading your blog, I wonder if I made a mistake? Should I have converted my dissn to a book? The main issues here are to me, that you mentioned that the publishers are European publishers. But if you are based in the U. Especially for your book! Play hard to get! And yes, go the hard route—the route of actually publishing a few articles as peer reviewed pubs, and then writing up a proposal for the book and submitting it to the very top presses in your field, most likely based in the United States.
This is all time-consuming and difficult and carries more risk of rejection at various points. But the rewards are the REAL rewards, the big rewards, the tenure track jobs and the major fellowships and promotions.
A book published by some little-known press does not carry a lot of weight as a tenure-book in the U. The status of the publisher matters. Go for the very, very best that you can.
Can you publish parts of your dissertation as articles and still publish it later as a united book? So in the case of a typical 5 chapter book, two chapters out as articles is the baseline to aim for. Have you heard about publishing more chapters in other language, that is, two in English and one or two more in other language?
Are there any benefits to self-publishing in the absence of a traditional publisher? Competition for publication in Peer-reviewed sites can be a factor.
What about publishing on Scribd and others? What are the benefits and downsides? If nothing else, it gets me found on the web besides in Rate-my-professor. Responses coming in on Twitter and FB: The issue comes down to peer-review. I wrote my dissertation on seven working class girls in a deindustrialized urban neighborhood as they made the transition from 8th grade to high school.
A university press said they are VERY interested in it, so I am busy this summer rewriting it as a book. What do I do with the literature review? What do you mean by folding it into the introduction or sections? You want to remove the lit review for the most part, as that is one of the hallmarks of a dissertation that must be removed from the book.
I wrote my dissertation back in May of My mother passed away quite suddenly during fairly routine heart surgery a few months later. It was devastating; she was my best friend. My father starting dating a neighbor three weeks later and this woman hates my sister and me.
They moved to another town, and now I barely speak to my father. I tell you all this to explain why I was derailed when I should have been publishing chapters from my dissertation. I presented a couple of chapters at conferences, and received a positive response. I exchanged information with a fairly reputable publisher, but by the time she tried to get in touch with me, I was in a black fog. That was three years ago. Can I recover from this? Is it over for me?
I believe you can recover from this if you want to; you just have to start building up the record now that would have happened then, without the trauma. Dear Karen, If you have a four-chapter dissertation that you are turning into a book manuscript, is it still advisable to publish two out of four of the chapters as peer reviewed articles? This is all excellent advice, thanks.
I was wondering if you could also provide some more details on the actual structure of the all-important book prospectus?
Thank your for advising about publishing a dissertation as book. In my case, my dissertation was an exploratory study about the effect of ethics education on undergraduate accounting students in an African country, where ethics is not taught in accounting-related programs in public colleges. Now, I am wondering whether to publish my entire dissertation in academic journals or, just publish parts of it as articles. Nevertheless, I am also wondering if it is a good idea to have my dissertation published as a book.
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