From Dissertation to Book, Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)

When a dissertation crosses my desk, I usually want to grab it by its metaphorical lapels and give it a good shake. “You know something!” I would say if it could hear me. “Now tell it to us in language we can understand!”
Since its publication in 2005, From Dissertation to Book has helped thousands of young academic authors get their books beyond the thesis committee and into the hands of interested publishers and general readers. Now revised and updated to reflect the evolution of scholarly publishing, this edition includes a new chapter arguing that the future of academic writing is in the hands of young scholars who must create work that meets the broader expectations of readers rather than the narrow requirements of academic committees.
At the heart of From Dissertation to Book is the idea that revising the dissertation is fundamentally a process of shifting its focus from the concerns of a narrow audience—a committee or advisors—to those of a broader scholarly audience that wants writing to be both informative and engaging. William Germano offers clear guidance on how to do this, with advice on such topics as rethinking the table of contents, taming runaway footnotes, shaping chapter length, and confronting the limitations of jargon, alongside helpful timetables for light or heavy revision.

Germano draws on his years of experience in both academia and publishing to show writers how to turn a dissertation into a book that an audience will actually enjoy, whether reading on a page or a screen. Germano also acknowledges that not all dissertations can or even should become books and explores other, often overlooked, options, such as turning them into journal articles or chapters in an edited work.
With clear directions, engaging examples, and an eye for the idiosyncrasies of academic writing, From Dissertation to Book reveals to rec

Nanci Arvizu, Writing and Reviews Editor

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3 Comments

  1. Good overview – not enough nitty-gritty This book gives some good overview advice of how to turn a dissertation into a book. However, I was looking for the nitty-gritty practical advice – which I did not find here. There are lots of big ideas about how books are very different projects than dissertations, and high-level ideas about when a book project is worth saving and when it’s worth moving onto something new. All good information – just not the low-level, practical information I was looking for.

  2. it’s a good book for a general overview of the editorial vantage … Repetitive. For someone writing a book on revision, a little more should have been done here. Ultimately, it’s a good book for a general overview of the editorial vantage point on publishing dissertations; but, it doesn’t help that much with the actual revision.

  3. Good, but I think this is catered to academic … Good, but I think this is catered to academic writing (reasonable given the title). I also loved Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner, which is more catered to trade publishing. All in all, I think both texts offer great advice and I am taking tips from both!

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