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 recent PhDs the secrets of careful and thoughtful revision—a skill that will be truly invaluable as they add “author” to their curriculum vitae.
The Thesis Whisperer is a not for profit blog which is maintained by Dr Inger Mewburn in her own time, with her own money.
If you like what we do, you can support the Thesis Whisperer in two ways:
1) Buy a range of books to help you with your thesis through links I provide
My highly recommended page contains links to various books and products I use in my work. Income from this affiliate marketing pays for hosting and materials to keep the blog running.
2) Buy the books I write
“How to be an academic: The Thesis Whisperer reveals all” is a collection of my writing about academia published through NewSouth Press. There’s a rather nice review on the Australian Review of Books and you can also read a review of the book from the Campus review.
I requested that the price be kept as low as possible because I am well aware that many PhD students – and working academics for that matter – are on low incomes. At the moment it’s around $10 AUD on Kindle.
If you’d like a paper copy, you can buy it from a number of places. The paperback edition can be purchased direction from the NewSouth website (they can deliver internationally), or from Amazon in your country or from Booktopia.
If you live in Australia, you can purchase it from the co-op bookstore on your campus or other good retailers, like Paperchain or Readings.
You can also buy the original (really cheap) book of the blog.
The first Thesis Whisperer book “How to tame your PhD” is available from Amazon on ebook for $5.99 US (around 4 pounds sterling and $7.50 Australia); a price point carefully calibrated to match the cost of a cup of coffee and a piece of cake in Australia. This book is explicitly designed around the ‘pain points’ of writing a PhD thesis. It’s a short book, around 25,000 words, but contains what I think is the most pertinent advice for actually producing your thesis or dissertation in the shortest time possible. There is only one post in this book that is re-published in “How to be an academic”. The two books together are a good representation of the back catalogue of the blog.
I believe in the advice in this book – because I followed it myself. I did do my thesis in 3 years while working two days a week for most of it – and won my faculty award at the end. On those two days I wasn’t doing my thesis I taught PhD students. This experience deeply informed my teaching style. I believe that a thesis can be written in 3 years and that it doesn’t have to kill you.
If print is your thing, there’s a paperback version available from Lulu.com for $14.95 (around 10 pounds sterling and $17USD) – a price I hope will fit into most PhD student budgets.
You can download ‘Tame your PhD’ from the US Amazon store here.
If you are in the UK, you can find ‘Tame your PhD’ in the UK Amazon store
I have put “How to Tame your PhD” on Amazon without digital rights management (DRM) so that you can convert it into any format that suits you using a program like Calibre. I would prefer people not to pirate it, but I suppose they can if they want to.
But I hope you wont.
Co-authored and edited books
I assisted in the publication and editing of the “Postgraduate Study in the Australia: Surviving and Succeeding” which is presently only available online.
If you’re interested in my more ‘serious’ academic work, check out the upcoming book I have edited with Deborah Lupton and Pat Thomson. The Digital Academic: Critical Perspectives on Digital Technologies in Higher Education. Published through Routledge. For a taste of the book here is a book chapter I wrote about PhD student blogging with Pat Thomson.
I’m currently writing a book with my excellent colleagues Shaun Lehmann and Katherine Firth of the Research Voodoo blog. The book is called “Writing trouble: why it happens and how to fix it. A practical guide for academics and graduate students”. We have a writing trouble mailing list to keep everyone informed on the progress and offer sneak peeks.