But whether ones doctoral advisors form a well-knit team or a dysfunctional family, they form a support group, one handed to the writer by the university. Once you leave the institution where you were awarded your degree, that support structure can seem, in retrospect, a great asset no longer in reach. Your universitys requirements, down to the language of your dissertation proposal and the number of chapters your committee insists you produce, constitute a set of rules—a grammar, if you like—within which you produce the dissertation. That framework is both a harness and a help, and it determines the shape of an argument, the nature of the prose, the pace of writing, even the place where the writing will be done. Pat, the new. Whose unrevised dissertation has just been rejected by a publisher, isnt doing anything Pat hasnt been led to believe is right.
How to turn your dissertation into a book, office
If scholarly publishers dont want what ive just written, why was i advised to write this, and to write it this way? Im encouraged to publish quickly. My committee praised my work. But publishers dont want. What am I the doing wrong? The answer is easy. Pat wrote a thesis, not a book. A dissertation is written under the watchful eyes of a director and an advisory committee. Sometimes that structure may be a burden, or even an obstacle, for the writer. Having the wrong committee can make writing slower and more difficult than it need.
You must publish this, pat, and soon, one committee member says, and goes on to suggest two or three publishing houses to which Pat might now write. Encouraged by the response, pat sends off the manuscript, fresh from the defense. Then the author waits, but its not a long wait. The manuscript comes back from the publisher. The pages, which appear not to have been disturbed, are accompanied by a note. It isnt book even a personal note, just a form letter. Dear Author, the letter reads, terribly sorry. We dont publish unrevised dissertations.
Let it rise, punch it down, let it rise again, she counsels. When you skip a few steps, you can taste the difference. Dont be afraid to take your time. The final results will be worth. By william Germano, getting margaret Started, Again, a young scholar completes. Thesis and is congratulated by the supervising committee. A first-rate work, it deserves the applause.
In addition to this, i recommend finding a trusted writing partner or group with which to share your work-in-process. Sharing work is the best way to hack away at your dissertation until you hone in on your arguments. It provides you with deadlines and peer review. The bonus of this is that others often see our work more clearly and can provide us with helpful comments, questions, and constructive criticism. In sum, transforming your dissertation into a book will be a long process, but its more than doable. My own personal advice? Dont be afraid to fail and fail again before you come up with something terrific. Dont do more research; start writing. I think Sharmila sen says it best: Writing a first academic book is a lot like baking bread.
Publications - how do i convert my PhD dissertation
In some ways, your prose style now matters more than your thesis: even a writer great argument wont pass editorial muster if its mired in unreadable text. Peter Potter, the editor in chief of Cornell University Press, warns that many first-time authors spend too much time explicating their argument in great detail instead of focusing on how they can distill their argument down into its simplest form. For Potter, an overly long and detailed book proposal is one indication that an author is still struggling to understand the larger significance of their work. In other words, when it comes to writing a solid book proposal, less is often more. Karen Darling, essay a senior editor at the University of Chicago Press, suggests that first-time authors read widely as they work to transform their dissertations into books. But not, she cautions, simply so they can pack more citations into those books. (Side note: A book will always have significantly fewer citations than a dissertation.).
Darling doles out this advice to new writers: read widely across genres, paying attention to what makes for good storytelling, a compelling voice, a persuasive argument. And try your hand at writing across formats—articles, book reviews, blog posts, op-ed pieces, anything that helps you change up your presentation and style. The idea is to focus on the art of writing. If you step back from the content of your work to think about how best to present it, youre on your way. Dominic boyer suggests that junior scholars put the dissertation away for a few years in order to work on writing articles first, since peer reviews can be invaluable in helping you tease out the arguments for your book. Constructive peer review is the best gift a young academic can receive in terms of helping to figure out which of your ideas are the ones that have the capacity to travel, he says.
The reader must be brought into the book, made part of the conversation. In order for this to happen, the author has to break that intense relationship she first had with her subject in the dissertation. This will be painful business. Then, she has to remake that relationship in order to include the reader. So far, so good. But then youve got to write the thing.
And as it turns out, when youre working on a book, you need to think more about writing effectively—and for a more general audience. Which brings me to point. Your writing style matters as much as the content of your book. At this stage, youll need to take a step back from the trees (the nitty-gritty details of your argument and evidence) and start paying attention to the forest (how your book is written and for whom). Play around with style. Try writing in a different voice.
Open source dissertation if: book
A book is the fifth or eighth iteration of something that used to be your dissertation. But it is no longer recognizable as your dissertation. Sharmila sen, executive editor at Harvard University Press, agrees wholeheartedly with boyer. The acts of writing the dissertation and the first book are key points in a young scholars intellectual development, she tells me, but both texts are—and should be—very different. After all, dissertations and books are written for different purposes and different audiences. As Sen notes, the dissertation springs from an intense relationship between a student-author, her biography committee, and her research subject. As such, it is best described, using Sens metaphor, as a spectator sport. A good academic book cannot be a spectator sport, sen explains. The reader is not satisfied when she is kept at a distance, watching the author play a game with other people in a distant field or stadium.
Dominic boyer, a series editor at Cornell University Press (and the editor of my own first book cannot stress this point enough. The biggest mistake he sees from first-time authors is that they tend to send him proposals that read more like dissertation descriptions, not actual book proposals. Boyer explains the core of the problem like this: A book is what happens later, once youve grown past the dissertation. When one argument rises out of the analytics and becomes something movie on which you can build an intellectual agenda. Books are driven by arguments, not by constellations of analytics. But the only way to get to a good argument is to experiment and fail a lot in the dissertation and post-dissertation process. In other words, a dissertation is where you begin to articulate the ideas and arguments that will eventually transform into your book. But it takes a lot of revising, restructuring, and failing in order to find a cohesive argument and structure.
be boiled down to two fundamental points. A dissertation is not a book. Read that sentence again. Read it out loud. Print it out and hang it over your desk. If you are writing a book proposal straight from your dissertation, youre likely not going to get a book contract. Heres why: A dissertation is not a book. Even if you think youve written a booklike dissertation, i promise you havent. A good first book might be based on a dissertation, but it is very, very different from the dissertation itself.
Because youre a good scholar, youve probably already done some initial research on which presses might be interested in your project. And youve probably looked up tips on how to write a winning book proposal. But as you sit down near the beginning of the summer to start in on revisions, you might realize that you dont quite know how to turn that solid dissertation gender into a publishable book. First, recognize that turning your dissertation into a book is one of the hardest things youll ever be asked to do in your career. Its a long, arduous, and often solitary process, requiring hours of work and multiple drafts. But the good news is that youre not the first person to write a book from a dissertation. The process will be much smoother if you focus on the most important factors from the very start. If you take the following advice to heart, not only will you save valuable time (and your sanity but you may even learn to enjoy the challenging process of writing your first book. So lets dive into it, shall we?
How to Write a classic novel: 5 Elements That Will
Working on your first book? Or still fighting through your dissertation? Whether it's advice or with support you need, you can start a thread on our. On Scholarly Writing forum. Dear junior scholar: Congratulations! If youre reading this, maybe youve recently submitted your dissertation, and your advisors think its terrific. Or perhaps youve just landed a postdoc or your first tenure-track job, and one of your next goals is working on your first academic book.