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Revising Your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors

Written with expertise and good cheer, this lively guide offers hard-to-find practical advice on successfully turning a dissertation into a book or into journal articles that will appeal to publishers and readers. It will help prospective authors to master writing and revision skills, better understand the publishing process, and increase their chances of getting their work into print.


Introduction: Is the Publishable Dissertation an Oxymoron?
Beth Luey

Part I. Rethinking and Revising

1. You’re the Author Now
William P. Sisler, Director, Harvard University Press
2. What Is Your Book About?
Beth Luey
3. Turning Your Dissertation Rightside Out
Scott Norton, Developmental Editor, University of California Press
4. Bringing Your Own Voice to the Table
Scott Norton
5. Time to Trim: Notes, Bibliographies, Tables, and Graphs
Jenya Weinreb, Managing Editor, Yale University Press

Part II. Disciplinary Variations

6. Caught in the Middle: The Humanities
Jennifer Crewe, Editorial Director, Columbia University Press
7. Putting Passion into Social Science
Peter J. Dougherty, Group Publisher for the Social Sciences, and Charles T. Myers, Editor for Political Science, Law, and Classics, Princeton University Press
8. From Particles to Articles: The Inside Scoop on Scientific Publishing
Trevor Lipscombe, Editor in Chief, Johns Hopkins University Press
9. Illustrated Ideas: Publishing in the Arts
Judy Metro, Editor in Chief, National Gallery of Art
10. A Sense of Place: Regional Books
Ann Regan, Editor in Chief, Minnesota Historical Society Press
11. Making a Difference: Professional Publishing
Johanna Vondeling, former Acquisitions Editor, Jossey-Bass Publishers

Conclusion: The Ticking Clock
Beth Luey

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a book?
How long is a chapter?
How many notes should a book or chapter have?
Can I get the publisher to put my notes at the foot of the page?
Is it all right to publish material from my dissertation in journals if I plan to include it in my book?
How long does it take to get a book published?
Should I ask scholars in my field to review the manuscript before submitting it?
Should I copyright my dissertation?
How many illustrations can I include?
When should I start looking for a publisher?

Useful Reading

From the reviews:

"Anyone planning to revise a dissertation will find no better guide than this."

--Sanford G. Thatcher, Director, Penn State University Press

"At last! An authoritative, up-to-date, succinct, intelligent, and witty guide to making the transition from dissertation to book."
--Charles Grench, Assistant Director and Senior Editor, University of North Carolina Press