This entry was posted in Dissertation , Manuscript Publication , PhD Dissertation , on July 01 , 2020.
You’ve heard the following advice before, no doubt, but it is worth repeating! Once the Dissertation is finished you’ll feel compelled to publish it right away .Resist the urge.The initial revision of your manuscript should be attempted only after you have put it aside and not looked at it for several months, and after you have reread it with the eyes of a reader who has never heard you or your committee .I sometimes still receive manuscripts with the dissertation cover page still on top ,and that tells me that the author had just successfully defended the dissertation and sent it off to me without giving a thought to the eventual book’s true audience. Most editors at university presses would not even send the manuscript out for the review at this stage.Even if the topic is compelling and the editor is interested,chances are that the reviewers will point out that a considerable amount of revision is necessary before manuscript is really a book , and the reviews will not be favourable enough for the editor to proceed.Of Course there are exceptions-occasionally a dissertation is written by someone with prior journalistic experience ,or by someone who has written other books or by some who is an extraordinarily mature writer. But usually a dissertation is written by someone who has spent too many years as an apprentice and is anxious to get a job.As authors of earlier chapters have noted , the audience for a dissertation usually consists of four or five people, the student’s doctoral committee .The author has written it to prove that he or she has done the appropriate research ,performed convincing analysis, come up with the original conclusions, and put it all together in a coherent narrative, dutifully addressing the various committee members ‘particular interests.
A book, by contrast, should be written for a wider audience of people interested in your topic.This audience will include scholars and graduates who are working in your specific area of research, or generally in the field addressed in your book, and even-if you are lucky , and the book is well written and on a fairly broad topic or one of the current interest among the media-some educates general readers .The audience will also include the reviewers of your book ,both before and after it is published.These readers do not need an exhaustive literature review. ,hundreds of footnotes to justify everything you say, or lengthy or tedious refutations of work by scholars who have become before you. Your audience will not appreciate your showing well you can use jargon-in most cases they will appreciate your avoidance of specialized language.Often,however, revising your dissertation is not just a matter of removing the literature review, trimming the notes, and toning the jargon. A dissertation must in many cases be reconceptualized and expanded in scope before it can become a successful or even publishable book.
But first, why not consider whether you really want to put all that work into dissertation you’ve already spent years writing and revising and have finally defended ? Are you sick of the topic? If so, your style will suffer .Are you worried that the book will become dated or longer fashionable in two or three years’ time? In either case I would recommend carving up the dissertation to produce one or two or three excellent scholarly articles, and then putting aside and coming up with a new book topic, one that may grow naturally out of the research you did for the dissertation but that is free of constraints of writing for your committee .The book you produce will no doubt be a more mature and more readable work than the revised dissertation would have been.