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Tips in Revising Your Dissertation for Publication

You have just completed your dissertation, plus it has just been approved by your committee, so what next?

Are you considering having it published into a book? So do you just submit your dissertation to a publisher and wait for a publication contract? Except getting a dissertation published is not that simple.

Before a publisher accepts your dissertation for publishing, it has to be modified. In fact, even the best dissertations are modified to be fit for book publication. A lot of editors can actually spot a dissertation right out of the package because they receive a lot of unrevised ones during a year. You will need to invest a lot of time rethinking and transforming your manuscript to protect it from an outright rejection. The press’ acquisitions manager, the expert readers to whom the publisher sends manuscripts for assessment, and the editorial panel may all assess not only the validity of your argument and depth of your study, but also the publication’s potential appeal to a significant variety of well-informed lay readers outside a limited field of interest.

Here are a few areas of your dissertation that you may consider before submitting it for publication:

Keep in mind the prospective market for your own publication. Obviously, academic books are written for a relatively professional audience of scholars and students. Yet, it is important to remember any “crossover” or inter-disciplinary allure your book may have, and that the market for your book may possibly have wider research pursuits than your PhD board. Bear in mind a broader potential for appeal, and ensure that the overall manuscript is readable.

The name of your book must be concise, clear, and immediate. Fundamentally it will reflect your book’s chief content, subject, and sub-discipline.

The structure of your book should be rational, obvious, and easily red. It should also reflect the development of goals and your research.

Think about chapter length. Chapters should not be too long nor excessively short. Each section should be a manageable length for readers.

Consider revising your table of contents. As this is the first part readers encounter in books, chapter titles should be clear, concise, and include key words or names.

Consider including a quick introduction (rather than a lengthy exposition of the state-of-the-subject), along with a conclusion, in order to form your book into a defined whole.

The bibliography should as much as possible, not be longer than your dissertation. Eliminate any unnecessary references.

The purposes and goals of your current project must be essential to the overall novel. The book ought to be fundamentally focused and a more succinct version of your dissertation. Only include material the shows the progress of your research and keep an eye in your overall storyline. Your primary discussion should be convincing and clear.

Produce and sustain an authorial voice. Your book is your contribution to scholarly discussion (instead of an educational requirement), so your narrative style should represent that. Make clear, fluid, and confident claims and avoid writing in the passive voice. Keep your discussion fluent and your reasoning cogent.

Remove unessential scholarly materials that will identify your manuscript as a PhD thesis, such as sections on literature and strategy review. Summaries of your theoretical strategy and extra material should be built-into the principal text where they may be necessary.

Edit out repetitive or redundant material.

Eliminate unnecessary and long notes – a lesser degree of annotation is expected in books than in a dissertation, therefore make sure that you trim down any runaway notes. Way too many notes may compromise the readability of your book.

Remove lengthy and unnecessary citations – quote sensibly and ensure that all examples keep the book progressing.

Restrict unnecessary jargon or include meanings where needed for a non-specialist market.

Refer and use “this book,” instead of “this dissertation.”

To ensure that your final manuscript works for your target market, we encourage you to share sample chapters with your friends or colleagues to get feedback on presentation, content, and design, before submitting it to a publisher.

You have a bit of work ahead of you to get your dissertation published as a book. But it will all be worth it after seeing your book and your name as an author.

Then you have no choice but to learn how to write, structure, and outline your dissertation, academic book, or journal article according to what will pull on the sweater-strings of professors, graduate students, post-docs everywhere until all that’s left are those leather arm-patch thingies and a pipe that can no longer be smoked in university offices due to current regulations.