Turning a PhD into a book

Here at Channel View Publications we’re very proud of our track record of publishing successful books based on PhD theses. Finding and developing young authors is central to what we do, and both we and our series editors are happy to work with authors who have recently finished their theses to turn their work into a book.

Unlike publishers who will republish PhD theses largely as they are (with no real expectation of them gaining an audience), we do ask our authors to do a significant amount of re-thinking and re-writing before we will publish their PhD research: we don’t believe it is in anyone’s interest to publish books which no-one buys or reads! Equally the work of early-career researchers is not just padding for our list, and so you can rest assured that if you do the work on your manuscript, we will match it by giving your book the time and attention it deserves.

Examples of recent Phd-to-book transitions

Examples of recent Phd-to-book transitions

When we discuss a proposal we always prefer to see that the author has understood the level of rewriting that will probably be needed before publication. So a good first step is to contact the commissioning editor or academic editor of the series you think your manuscript would be most suitable for, and discuss it with them. You might also find it useful to have a look at a few successful PhD-to-book transitions that we have published recently.

There are a few main things you’ll need to think about:

Audience You need to consider the change in your audience, and what they might be looking for in your text: PhD examiners and supervisors are looking for a demonstration that you understand how to do research, that you’ve read everything you need to, and that you can write up a piece of research diligently; book-buyers need to be drawn in and encouraged to make connections between your work on a community/topic that may be of no particular interest to them and their own interests.

Content Your readers should be familiar with the literature (or most of it!) and they’ll assume that you are too, so your literature review can be cut down considerably. Similarly, they’ll assume that you know how to conduct research, so you don’t need a long discussion of methodology, unless methodological concerns are particularly important. Do you need all those tables and appendices? Are they there to demonstrate that you haven’t missed anything, or will your readers find them enlightening?

Style and structure Could you start presenting your data right at the beginning of the book? It’s your new material that your readers are likely to be interested in, so give it to them! Can your work be restructured and ordered thematically rather than introduction-literature review-methodology-data-conclusion? Does your writing style need lightening to draw in the maximum possible audience?

When you’ve just defended your thesis and are more than ready to move on to something new, we understand that the idea of revisiting it can be off-putting, to say the least. But we’ll be there to support you every step of the way to publication and beyond…

You can find our proposal guidelines on our website.


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