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Getting from PhD to Published at InterFace 2011
I was really excited to speak at the amazing InterFace 2011 humanities and technology conference on the 29th July at UCL. It was organised by a really diverse and highly-skilled group of PhD students and it was such a pleasure to be involved with.
I spoke on ‘Getting from PhD2Published’ as part of a session on publishing. My Prezi is below and for the rest of the contributors head over to the publishing page on the InterFace website.

Claire Warden – How to Spend the Time between PhD & Publishing
eyetime

Today’s post comes from Dr. Claire Warden and considers how to spend your time while moving from PhD to published. Claire is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln. Her first book, British Avant-Garde Theatre is out with Palgrave next year. You can follow Claire on twitter here.

While commenting on a draft copy of my book, my wonderfully generous proof-reader made me rethink my use of citation with the following soupçon of wit:

“Quite a lot of references to what other scholars are doing. Sometimes these get rather too close to the ‘as Dr Dryasdust has said, “Shakespeare lived before the steam-engine”’.

The point being, citation in a book is substantially different from citation in a thesis. Dr Dryasdust’s comment is factually correct but we do not require the good doctor to tell us! And this gets to the crux of the difference between a thesis and a book: the former is written for examination, the latter is written to be read.

The humorous comment also points to a broader issue: the PhD-to-Book process is one of learning, personal development and transforming the way you write. While I completed my PhD in 2007, my first book will only hit the shelves (or shelf on my less ambitious days) next year. This might seem like a large gap and, as I finish the final draft, it certainly feels as if I have spent half a lifetime on it! But, as the story above shows, there is merit in taking your time over this process. There is a great deal of useful material on this site about the PhD-to-Book process, so what I want to do is focus on what to do while you’re waiting. Obviously honing our writing skills and ignoring Dr Dryasdust’s unnecessary interruptions are vital, but what else can be done? Read more

Agata Mrva-Montoya – From a Thesis to a Book, Publishers Advice from Sydney University Press
book

Today’s guest post comes from Agata Mrva-Montoya. Agata is an archaeologist turned editor, currently at Sydney University Press and interested in books, publishing and social media. Here she gives tips on turning your thesis into a book.

Congratulations! After years of doing research and writing, you finally joined the ranks of freshly minted PhDs. You even have an endorsement from your examiners – ‘this work is brilliant and should be published’. So you send it in to a publisher, then another one or two. And your proposal gets knocked back, time after time. Why?

Publishers rarely consider unrevised PhD theses. A dissertation in social science and the humanities is written with a different intent and structure to a book, and for a different audience. Your thesis may be brilliant ­­– well researched, well referenced and well organized – but what the publisher sees is a manuscript that is too long, with tedious and predictable structure, full of jargon and repetitious announcements of intent, and so many quotes and references that it reads like compilations of facts and regurgitated opinions.

So before you send your dissertation to another publisher, you need to revise it, rewrite it and turn it into something that someone, apart from your long-suffering supervisors and briefly accosted examiners, might actually want to read. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #47
Thinker

Weekly Wisdom #47 Be conscious that a book has a complicated life-cycle which your editor is responsible for. The work doesn’t stop when your book hits the book shops!

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 6 ‘More Revisions for a Monograph’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

As final summary of how to revise your thesis into a publishable book:

  • Do be aware of the stylistic and structural differences between the different genres of academic writing.
  • Do identify those features which are original to your thesis and those which are common to the genre so that you can work to enhance the former and minimize the latter.
  • Do remember that a journal article needs to be focused, concise and is geared towards a highly specialized audience so you don’t need to spell everything out.
  • Do bear in mind that in a monograph theory, data and methods should be synthesized and integrated into the text rather than merely described. Read more

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 5 ‘Some Additional Tips’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

How you decide to restructure your thesis will depend in part on the subject matter and discipline within which you are working but there are some more general points regarding style that are relevant what­ever your topic and disciplinary background.

One of the most common problems is a too heavy reliance on the opinions of others – in other words too many direct quotes from other critics/theoreticians/scholars. While it is perfectly understand­able that you will wish to position your own work in relation to those who have gone before you and show how your own work builds upon theirs, excessive direct quotation can distract from and weaken your own argument and even be quite confusing out of context. It can also become quite tedious if you are constantly referencing the same people and may give the impression that you are less well read than is actually the case (not a desirable outcome!). To avoid this pitfall read through your manuscript looking for opportunities to reduce the amount of direct quotation. Paraphrase or summarize arguments instead of reproducing them verbatim and perhaps cut them out altogether if they are not strictly necessary. Do make sure, however, that you still scrupulously reference any idea that is not your own – the last thing you want is to make yourself vulnerable to accusations of plagiarism. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #45
Thinker

Weekly Wisdom #45 Learn to accept rejection and move on!

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 4 ‘More Revisions for a Monograph’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

Returning to the example thesis from last week, let’s look at content. Here’s the thesis outline:

Chapter 1: Definitions, Empirical Puzzle and choice of case studies

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Timing, size and composition of X

Chapter 4: Social and political factors affecting X in the Netherlands 1975-1990

Chapter 5: Social and political factors affecting X in Austria 1975-1990

Chapter 6: Some additional factors affecting X in the Netherlands and Austria

Chapter 7: The impact of X in the Netherlands and Austria: a com­parative perspective

Chapter 8: Consolidating X in the Netherlands and Austria References Appendix 1 a

Read more

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 3 ‘Revisions for a Monograph’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

Transforming your thesis into a format suitable for publication as an academic monograph may or may not involve much cutting down of length. In fact it may require the inclusion of some additional material or expansion of existing sections (as we shall see below). What is cer­tain, however, is that unless you are exceptionally gifted, lucky, or have been guided by a supervisor who has early-on spotted the publication potential of your work, it will need substantial reworking and restruc­turing if it is to escape its roots and become a convincing monograph.

As discussed before the average monograph does not follow the thesis-methods-results-analysis paradigm unless it has started life as a PhD and it is usually screamingly obvious when this is the case and the author has not revised it. Recently I received a pro­posal with the following table of contents (some details have been changed to avoid the person and project being identified): Read more

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 2 ‘The Style and Genre of your Thesis’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

Using the rough guidelines I offered last week, you can now begin to analyze your own thesis and try to identify those features that are unique to your thesis and those features which are common to the genre. You might even find it is easiest to do this by taking a piece of paper and dividing it into three columns. I will tell you what the third column is for in a minute but for the tine being you could put ‘unique feature’ at the top of one column and ‘feature of the genre’ at the top of the next. Feature of the genre should be easiest to start with and might include:

 

Read more

Sarah Caro – REVISING YOUR PhD: Part 1 ‘Publication Types’
How to Publish Your PhD

Sarah Caro, author of How to Publish Your PhD has kindly offered us this six-part guide on revising a thesis for publication as a book. Over the coming weeks she’ll be explaining how to understand what type of book you can produce as well as discover ways of shaping it up into a more book-like body of material.

A PhD performs a specific function, very different from that of a book or a journal. As a result it is structured differently and the tone and approach are not those you would use in a journal or a book. This six-part series provides some general advice on revising your thesis and high¬lights some common problems and issues that will need to be addressed whether you opt for articles or a book. It includes a practical example of how one might set about restructuring one’s thesis into a book and some basic guidelines on content and style.

Unless you are a student of literature the chances are that in your aca¬demic career to date you have spent little time thinking about genre or style. You will hopefully have made an effort to write clearly and will have learnt how to lay out references and notes but you may have never consciously considered the genre or format of what you are writing. In fact academic writing like any other form of writing geared to a specific audience is a distinctive genre in its own right and comes with a clear set of expectations on the part of both reader and writer. All academic disciplines conform to the basic strictures of the genre of academic writing, though there may well be significant dif¬ferences in style which can obscure these similarities. Read more

Getting Published: What’s Your Approach?
books

Last week, the Guardian Higher Education Network published a blog post I wrote for them about the origins of this very website. I discussed where the idea came from and noted that despite being engaged with all things digital, I set up the site because  I was well aware books (and all manner of peer-reviewed publishing) still carry weight in academia.

Through much of the first year of PhD2Published, we featured sets of tips from well-known academic publishers on how to get published. In line with this, and the spirit of PhD2Published, which all about sharing, I also offered Guardian readers my own set of tips in the blog post. For example I said:

Think about your market.

If you want to end up with a printed book published by a reputable academic press, you will need to make a case for its economic viability. This means market research. Don’t just tell your publisher the book would appeal to course X, Y and Z, tell them why. What exactly does it do that other books in the field don’t? How will it transform teaching in this area? Why will course managers make students read your book over the others on their list? Show the publisher there’s a really good chance your book will sell – preferably in decent numbers. Read more

Weekly Wisdom #41
Thinker

Weekly Wisdom #41 Remember that few publishers will be interested in publishing a thesis and that (possibly major) redrafting should be planned well before you pitch!

Weekly Wisdom #34
Thinker

Weekly Wisdom #34

If you haven’t before start taking an interest in grammar.

Weekly Wisdom #32
Thinker

Weekly Wisdom #32

Dare to ask collegues about the contracts they’ve accepted and what worked or didn’t!