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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps

Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.

Step 2: Research Your Topic

Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.

Step 3: Formulate Your Argument

Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.

Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement

Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.

Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement

The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.

Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


turning thesis into book

turning thesis into book

  • Manuscript Preparation

Converting your PhD Thesis into a Book in Five Steps

  • 5 minute read

Table of Contents

The time and effort you’ve put into your PhD work is extremely valuable, not just for you, but for other researchers. But maybe you’re wondering if your PhD work is of interest to a broader, general audience; perhaps as an academic book, or even a general interest publication. But taking your thesis or dissertation from a journal article to a full-length book is not as easy as sending it as-is to a potential publisher.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the essential steps, and tips for getting your PhD work published as a book.

From Thesis to Book – Things to Consider

Since most PhD work is published as journal articles, there are different things to consider when you weigh your options on future publication of your research. Depending on the scope and breadth of your topic, you may want to just use parts of your dissertation or thesis in a book, or collaborate with other researchers to contribute to a collection of research on a topic. Another option discussed is to turn a thesis into a journal article , as a first step to writing a full-fledged book on the topic.

But if your aim is to publish your PhD research as a full-length book, then there are some things you need to consider. These are the same things a potential book publisher will be looking at as well, as their aim is to connect the work of their authors with their readership. It’s this relationship, between the writer and the reader, that publishing companies value when considering if a book will connect with its audience.

First and foremost, will the book be of interest to a broad section of the publisher’s readers? Secondly, a publisher will consider if the quality of the work is high, especially if their audience consists of scholars, experts and researchers in the field of your topic. And, finally, since the nature of a research thesis requires peer review and detailed analysis of its findings, so will a similar process be needed for a book related to the research. Therefore, the publisher will be asking itself if the work will hold up to the demands of a review by experts in the field.

Whereas a dissertation exists to fulfill graduation requirements, and has an extremely limited audience, a book fulfills a different purpose. That is, to bring the work to a broader audience. Likewise, a book is a much more personal undertaking, where your voice as an author is developed, and even featured, as an important aspect of your writing. The very format of a dissertation compared to a book is like comparing apples to oranges.

How Long Does it Take to Turn a PhD Dissertation Into a Book?

As alluded to above, turning your PhD thesis into a book means you have to adjust many aspects of your dissertation. For example, writing for a broader audience than just your dissertation or thesis committee. This essentially means that you’re rewriting your dissertation, so how long that takes comes down to several factors, including how quickly you work, how much time you can dedicate to the work of editing and rewriting, and if you have support.

It might be best to think of your PhD thesis as an outline of a book, whereas each section in the dissertation is expanded to be of interest to a wider audience. With that in mind, realistically, you should count on at least 18 months to two years, minimum, to transform your dissertation into a book. More if the work is complex and significant additional research is needed, and less if you’re working with collaborators who will contribute to the process.

Five Essential Steps

Turning your dissertation into a book means you’ll have to, in some ways, start from scratch. This includes the title, chapter titles and even references. Your book will be much more readable and personal than your dissertation, and essential pieces of information will be highlighted and expanded.

Step 1 – Titles: The title of your book is the first thing your audience will be exposed to. Likewise, chapter titles can tell the potential reader/buyer much more about the content of the book than even a well-written blurb can. Give some thought to book and chapter titles to help formulate your initial outline of how the book can be structured.

Step 2 – Initial review and editing: Go through your thesis to see how sections of what you’ve already written will fit into the outline that you’ve created using your first draft of chapter titles. Here you’ll probably recognize that you already need to change things up, and that’s ok. This initial review will help you solidify things as you go to the next step.

Step 3 – Additional research: After your initial review, you’ll notice where you need more information to flesh out key aspects of your work. This will also come in handy for quotations by other writers that can help make your writing broader in scope.

Step 4 – Active revision and editing: Now you’re really rolling up your sleeves. This step may very well take the vast majority of the time you need to work on changing your thesis into a book. Here also is where you will be stretching your writing muscles, making your voice much more engaging and interesting than is required for a thesis.

Step 5 – Proposal: You’ll have to submit a proposal to your publisher of choice. This is an additional step all publishers require, and at the very least it should include your working title, keywords, information about the author and/or editor, a description of the book’s audience, background information on the research, benefits to the audience and more. See this article for more information on what to include in a book proposal.

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9 Effective Tips for Publishing Thesis As a Book

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While they may look alike, a thesis is not a book! The process of publishing thesis as a book is different right from its conception to completion. Created with an intent to target a specific audience, a thesis differs from a book in multiple aspects. Although your thesis topic would surely be relevant to your field of study, it perhaps, can be of interest to a wider audience. In such a case, your thesis can be turned into a book .

In this article, we will shed some light on the possible ways of publishing your thesis as a book .

Table of Contents

What is the Difference Between a Thesis and a Book?

Researchers spend years working on their thesis. A thesis focuses on the research conducted, and is thus published as journal articles . However, in some cases, it may also be published as a book for a wider readership. While both thesis and book writing require effort, time, and are equally longer versions of documents, they are different in several ways.

  • A thesis always begins with a question or hypothesis. On the other hand, a book begins with a series of reflections to grab the reader’s attention. To a certain extent, it could be said that while the thesis starts with a question, the book starts with an answer.
  • Another major difference between the two is their audience. The content of a thesis, as well as its format and language is aimed at the academic community. However, since the book is written with an intent to reach out to wider audience, the language and format is simpler for easy comprehension by non-academic readers as well.
  • Furthermore, thesis is about documenting or reporting your research activities during doctorate; whereas, a book can be considered as a narrative medium to capture the reader’s attention toward your research and its impact on the society.

How to Turn a Thesis into a Book?

The structure of your thesis will not necessarily be similar to the structure of your book. This is primarily because the readership is different and the approach depends on both the audience as well as the purpose of your book. If the book is intended as a primary reference for a course, take the course syllabus into account to establish the topics to be covered. Perhaps your thesis already covers most of the topics, but you will have to fill in the gaps with existing literature.

Additionally, it may be so that you want your book to be a complementary reference not only for one course, but for several courses with different focuses; in this case, you must consider different interests of your audience.

The layout of most thesis involve cross-references, footnotes, and an extensive final bibliography. While publishing your thesis as a book , eliminate excessive academic jargon and reduce the bibliography to reference books for an ordinary reader.

Key Factors to Consider While Publishing Your Thesis as a Book

  • Purpose of the book and the problems it intends to solve
  • A proposed title
  • The need for your proposed book
  • Existing and potential competition
  • Index of contents
  • Overview of the book
  • Summary of each book chapter
  • Timeline for completing the book
  • Brief description of the audience and the courses it would cover

With all of this in mind, here are 9 steps to successfully turn your thesis into a book .

9 Steps to Successfully Publish Your Thesis as a Book!

Publish Thesis As A Book

1. Establish Your Target Audience

Based on the topic of your thesis, determine the areas that may potentially rise interest in your book’s audience. Once you establish your target audience, figure out the nature of book they would like to read.

2. Determine the Objective of Your Book

Reflect on the scope of your book and the impact it would have on your target audience. Perhaps it can be used as a textbook or supplementary for one or more courses. Visualize what the reach of your book may be; if it is a book with an identified local market, an interest that arose in your educational institution, which can be traced to other similar institutions, or if it can have a national or even international reach.

3. Identify Your Competition

Find out which books are already on the market, what topics they cover, what problems do they solve, etc. Furthermore, ask yourself what would be the advantage of your book over those that already exist.

4. Define the Structure of Your Book

If the book is written as part of a curriculum, use that program to define its structure. If it covers several programs, make a list of topics to focus on individually and sequence them in an order based on educational criteria or interest for the potential reader.

5. Identify Potential Publishers

Search for publishers in your country or on the web and the kind of books they publish to see if there is a growing interest in the book you are planning to develop. Furthermore, you can also look at self-publishing or publishing-on-demand options if you already have a captive audience interested in your work.

6. Plan a Schedule

Based on the structure of your book, schedule your progress and create a work plan. Consider that many topics are already written in your thesis, you will only have to rewrite them and not have to do the research from scratch. Plan your day in such a way that you get enough time to fill in technical or generic gaps if they exist.

7. Follow a Writing Style

The writing style depends on the type of book and your target audience. While academic writing style is preferred in thesis writing, books can be written in simpler ways for easy comprehension. If you have already spoken to an interested publisher, they can help in determining the writing style to follow. If you’re self-publishing, refer to some competitor books to determine the most popular style of writing and follow it.

8. Incorporate Visual Aids

Depending on the subject of your book, there may be various types of visual and graphic aids to accentuate your writing, which may prove lucrative. Give due credit to images, diagrams, graphical representations, etc. to avoid copyright infringement. Furthermore, ensure that the presentation style of visual aids is same throughout the book.

9. Review Your Draft

Your supervisor and the advisory council review and refine you thesis draft. However, a book must be proofread , preferably by someone with a constructive view. You can also use professional editing services or just go ahead with an excellent grammar checking tool to avoid the hassle.

Do you plan on publishing your thesis as a book ? Have you published one before? Share your experience in the comments!

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good article

Hello. Nice to read your paper. However, I fell on your article while browsing the net for the exact opposite reason and I think you can equally give me some insights. I am interested, as I earlier said, on how to transform my book into a thesis instead, and how I can defend it at an academic level. I am writing a research work on financial digital options trading and have done a lot of back testing with technical analysis that I explain, to rake thousands of dollars from the financial markets. I find the technical analysis very peculiar and would like to defend this piece of work as a thesis instead. Is it possible? Please you can reply me through e:mail thanks

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Submit and publish your thesis.

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  • Turning Thesis into a Book
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Turning Your Thesis into a Book

“A dissertation is a report, a book tells a story”

Turning a thesis into a book means more than simply printing and binding your thesis as is. Neither will it be a quick touch up or superficial revision. Your book manuscript will likely mean a substantial rewrite of your thesis. Consider the following aspects that will need to change:

Your audience

The audience for the thesis is mainly your committee whereas for a book it may be fellow researchers, professionals working in the field, policy makers, educators, or the general audience. The majority of your readers will be less familiar with your topic than was your supervisor and will be more interested in the bigger picture than in the methodological details.

A book has a different purpose from a thesis. A thesis is meant to demonstrate your mastery of the subject and research process. A book is an opportunity to discuss the implications of your research to the larger community. The way you define an audience for your book will directly affect its goal and vice versa.

The structure of your thesis

A book’s structure will be different from that of a thesis. You will need to thoroughly re-order your work into chapters. In particular, the Literature Review and Methodology sections would be shortened drastically or incorporated into the introduction. Copious footnotes typical for a thesis could be transformed into stories.

The voice you use for a book is different from the academic voice in your thesis. You will want to edit out the academic jargon, complex sentences, lengthy paragraphs and passive voice. Be ready to show your own voice and clearly say what you think.

When looking to publish a book you would normally follow these steps:

Select a press

Start by selecting a press that would be a good fit for your topic and audience:

  • Look at your own bookshelf - where have authors published on similar topics?
  • Check presses’ lists in your subject area
  • Consider academic vs commercial publishers
  • Get in touch with acquisition editors at the presses you are looking at to check if your idea will be of interest

Prepare your book proposal

  • Think of your proposal as a pitch that communicates the book’s value in terms of content and your value as the subject matter expert
  • Problems or pain points that the book addresses
  • How the book addresses these pain points and what value it provides to the reader
  • A proposed title
  • Market research evidence that there is a need and niche for the book
  • Contents page
  • A proposal can be submitted to more than one press. Once you get a book deal, commit to that press and discontinue negotiations with other presses.

Negotiate and sign the contract

  • The Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts from the Authors Alliance is a great resource for all questions related to book contracts.

Other tips from book publishers

  • Having an article published from your thesis may be a good starting point to get a book deal. However having too many chapters published may be a turn off for a press that looks for original content.
  • Consider the timing of publication for your academic career. It takes a while for a book to be written, published, distributed and read. If you would like to proceed with an academic career upon graduation and have reviews of your published book ready for inclusion in your tenure portfolio, you will want to start looking into publishing as soon as possible.

Additional resources on converting your thesis into a book:

  • Harman, E. (2003). The thesis and the book: A guide for first-time academic authors. Toronto: University of Toronto Press ( Print | Electronic )
  • "Working on a book project? What I wish I knew…" - recording of the April 2021 webinar and presenters' book proposals
  • Writers’ How To Series by the Writers’ Union of Canada
  • See writing guides for creative non-fiction
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Advice from our Editors: Revising the Dissertation into a Monograph

Palgrave Macmillan will consider submissions containing material that has previously formed part of a PhD or other academic thesis including those that have been made publicly available according to the requirements of the institution awarding the qualification. Prospective authors should bear in mind that every PhD thesis will need to undergo rigorous revision in order to be published as a monograph with our press. To help with this revision, our editors have put together the following advice:

How do I go about planning the revisions and when should I start?

  • Be aware that transforming your dissertation into a publishable book is a complex process, which will take time and require some careful planning. Time will be an issue, especially if you need to juggle the work on the book with full-time teaching and/or other research activities. Most authors take at least a year to complete a PhD-based book, but this could also take longer if the book requires fresh data and new research.  
  • You should endeavor to begin working on the book proposal only after having submitted your thesis and successfully completing your PhD program. This will allow you to look at the thesis with a fresh eye and to take into account any helpful feedback from your examiners as you develop your proposal.
  • Consider all the available formats.  Depending on the subject and breadth of the topic, some proposals may develop into a full-length monograph (c.90,000 words), whilst for others a shorter format like Palgrave Pivot  (25,000 to 50,000 words) may be suitable – for example a single-case or single-country study once they have been extracted out of any redundant or unnecessary content.

What’s the difference between the PhD thesis and a monograph?

  • Audience .  While a PhD thesis is meant to be read and scrutinized by your supervisors and examiners, the readership of your book will extend to the broader academic community, scholars and practitioners, who may not be specialized on or even familiar with your research topic.
  • Rationale . The motivation behind writing your book will need to be rethought to reflect the expectations of your new audience and should clearly unfold in the introduction. The objective is not to convince your examiners that you have what it takes to complete a PhD, but to make sure the book is coherent and your conclusions are persuasive. 
  • Structure . Your introductory chapter should also offer readers a concise ‘preview’ of the various chapters. The conclusion should summarize your key findings and identify avenues for further research. Look over the table of contents in books which you would consider as related literature or competitors. How does that differ from the structure of your thesis? You should simplify and optimize your table of contents so as to articulate the material in a logical and accessible fashion.
  • Length . Monographs are normally much shorter than PhD theses. Separate chapters about the review of literature and research methodologies may be vital in a thesis, but will not be necessary in a book, as readers and experts in your field will be familiar already with both. References to the relevant literature can be moved to the endnotes of individual chapters, and what is not pertinent to advancing your own arguments can be cut out. The methodology chapter should be reduced and merged with the introduction if not omitted altogether.

How do I write a proposal for a PhD-based book?

  • Think of it as a brand new project which builds on rather than derives from your PhD research. 
  • Avoid mentioning phrases like ‘this PhD’ or ‘this thesis’ throughout the proposal.
  • Identify your USPs (unique selling points) and build your proposal around them so as to highlight what is really original about your research, its contribution to the field and what makes the book ‘stand out of the crowd.
  • Avoid recommending your supervisors or examiners as potential peer reviewers.
  • Keep footnotes and endnotes to a minimum.
  • Be mindful that you will need to obtain permission to include quotes from interviewees if they were not informed at the time of the interview that these could appear in print. Otherwise, these quotes must be attributed anonymously or removed completely.
  • Reduce third-party materials as much as possible, as obtaining permission for this content is the responsibility of the author and can be a time-consuming process.
  • Select illustrations/tables/diagrams that further the argument of the text, rather than are illustrative.  
  • Informally ask colleagues or mentors to read your chapters before submission. An outside perspective can help refine the work for final publication. If English is not your first language, it might be useful to ask a native speaker to read-through the manuscript as well. 

In addition, a number of our authors who have gone through this process themselves have been kind enough to share their experiences. All of these advice articles can be found on the Early Career Researcher Hub .

A monograph is a very different body of work to a thesis. So, rather than sending out a proposal at once, and simply rewriting a chapter of the thesis to go with it, I ignored the advice and decided to think of the book as a new project. This involved taking key concepts from the thesis, but significantly reworking and developing them. This approach took a long time (three years, post-viva) because the work was undertaken alongside HPL teaching and summer work, which slowed the project down considerably.

However, the proposal I eventually submitted to Palgrave was a book proposal, rather than a modified thesis proposal. As such, the submission process was significantly easier; the project was accepted, a contract issued, and the completed manuscript took just three months to finish and submit. The book appeared in print just eight months later (less than a year after I first submitted the proposal.) I have no doubt that this was because I took that time to develop the project.

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Turning Your Thesis Into A Book

Tips and tricks to rewrite for a different type of reader, from Teresa Pitt, a legendary former Senior Commissioning Editor and Publisher with MUP.

turning thesis into book

MUP occasionally publishes books that have begun their lives as theses and academic research projects.

Some recent examples include Susan Carland's Fighting Hislam, Glenn Morrison's Songlines and Faultlines and Rebe Taylor's Into the Heart of Tasmania .

Fighting Hislam

But rewriting a thesis is not simply a matter of making revisions to existing text. Here are some tips and tricks to help turn your thesis into a book (or perhaps a manuscript you can submit to publishers –  including us ).

An original thesis should be regarded as the basis for an entirely new work, written with a new audience in mind. This new work will address intelligent general readers who seek to be provoked, engaged, intrigued and/or seduced into reading your book. General readers do not expect you to prove to them how thorough your research has been, or how many other texts you have consulted. They simply want to know what you have found out and what you think about it.

The most important tasks in rewriting a thesis are to:

Remove all academic scaffolding

In a thesis, the examiners expect you to explain what you are setting out to do, and how you are going to go about doing it, before you actually do it. Then, after you have done it, you are required to restate or summarise your methods, findings and conclusions.

In a book, these preliminaries and wrap-ups are superfluous. They get in the reader's way, become repetitive and obscure the impact of the real subject matter. They also take up valuable space. The Abstract and Introduction that are both essential in a thesis are not needed in a book. Neither are the usual chapter Introductions and Conclusions.

Ordinary readers want you to get straight to the point. Thus, anything that sounds like "In this chapter I will argue . . ." or "In this chapter I have shown . . ." should be deleted immediately.

Reorganise the material

When writing for the general reader, you should introduce the most arresting, intriguing, or unusual aspects of the work the heart of the matter immediately.

The background information and theoretical discussions should come later. As a rule of thumb, start from the particular, and work to the general, rather than the other way around. In journalism, the rule for any story is always to "grab the reader's attention" in the first paragraph – indeed, in the first sentence. It may seem strange to compare a serious academic work with a newspaper story or article, but in fact the best serious non-fiction writers follow a similar principle.

The most interesting, arresting or unusual parts of the story or argument should come first to attract the interest of the general reader, you can go back later to provide the necessary background and interpretation.

Refocus clearly on the heart of the story

You need to "pick the eyes" out of your thesis. That is, you must decide what the most interesting or important issues or themes are, and concentrate on these, ruthlessly discarding the more peripheral material. Background material for example, surveys of previous literature, historical background, discussions of earlier and current theories, arguments, methodology, etc. if retained at all, should be moved from the beginning to the ends of the book, or incorporated in a much-condensed form into the relevant sections of the main text.

Remember you are writing now for non-specialist readers. You must be aware both of what you want to tell them and of what is going to catch and retain their attention.

Reduce the scholarly apparatus

Most theses have a enormous number of footnotes and an exhaustive bibliography, all designed to impress your examiners with the breadth and depth of your research. Having successfully impressed them, you now need to cut or condense your notes ruthlessly, and to reduce your bibliography to a reasonable size. Keep only what will be genuinely useful to an ordinary reader.

Any discursive or explanatory notes should either be incorporated back into the text or deleted altogether. Notes should be restricted to sources only, and should be turned into endnotes rather than footnotes.

Rewriting and new writing will be necessary. Having sketched out a new structure and focus, you now have to start writing all over again to create a completely new work.

As you rewrite you must move firmly away from the usual impersonal, abstract academic style. This means hunting down and expunging instances of:· academic jargon (find a way of expressing the concept in plain English, especially the first time you introduce it):

  • long, complex, convoluted sentences (no sentence should contain more than two ideas, which should be expressed as directly as possible)
  • inordinately lengthy paragraphs (break your paragraphs up as much as possible and vary them between, say, three and twenty lines)
  • abstract nouns (use concrete nouns wherever you can) the passive voice (don't say "Similar observations were made by Johnson and Smith"; say "Johnson and Smith made similar observations")
  • the third person used for yourself (don't say "In the present writer's opinion"; say "I think").

You must learn to address your writing as directly as possible to an imagined non-specialist reader, using a natural, personal, and unpretentious voice and using plain English. Audience awareness the sense of a real, actual person to whom you are talking/writing is one of the most useful communication skills you can develop.

Try to imagine, as you write, that you are talking about your work to an intelligent, educated friend over the kitchen table or in the pub. Your friend is in another field altogether and knows little or nothing about your particular speciality, but is curious to know more about what you do. You would talk to this friend in quite a different way than you would write for your examiners. It is this friendly, straightforward, conversational style that you need to develop.

A number of academics who have become successful writers for a general audience have gained great benefit from joining a writing class in order to develop their writing skills, to enhance their audience awareness, and to unlearn the unfortunate writing habits instilled during their academic training. Courses in creative writing and non-fiction writing are widely available, and we recommend you give this option serious consideration.

Kevin Brophy's Explorations in Creative Writing would be an excellent place to start.

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Sydney University Press

Eight Tips for Turning Your PhD Thesis into a Book

Vector images representing a black graduation hat on the left, and an open book on the right.

By Agata Mrva-Montoya

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. (And if they approach you and offer to publish it as is, you should carefully check the publisher’s credentials!) A dissertation in the humanities and social sciences is written with a different intent and structure to a book, and for a different audience. Your thesis may indeed be brilliant – well researched, well referenced and well organised – 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 restructure it, revise it and turn it into something that someone, apart from your long-suffering supervisors and briefly accosted examiners, might actually want to read.

Seriously though, your manuscript needs to be capable of reaching a broader audience. Book publishing is a resource-intensive enterprise and the reality is that the book has to be commercially feasible – if not making heaps of money, then at least breaking even. Apart from the sales potential, publishers look for manuscripts that fulfill their mission of disseminating research results and communicating great ideas to readers in a broad range of disciplines, and the general public. Dissertations on obscure topics, with unclear arguments and a bias against readability fail on both accounts.

If the subject matter of your thesis is awfully narrow, there are other ways of making your research available to scholars – you can upload it into your university’s digital repository, make it open access, and publish a handful of journal articles to disseminate your findings and join the discussion in your discipline. And consider writing an entirely new book on a different topic.

If you believe that your PhD thesis has the potential to be a book that would interest readers beyond the circle of your close family and friends, then it’s time to turn it into a publishable manuscript. Here are some ideas you may consider:

  • Decide what type of audience you want to reach with your book. While you could potentially write a scholarly book with mass-market appeal, the reality is that these two markets are rarely compatible. They require different approaches, different styles of writing and attract different publishers. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to write with a broad readership in mind using straightforward English to produce a scholarly, sophisticated and intellectually challenging work, which is accessible to scholars in other disciplines and the interested general public.
  • Identify what are the most interesting or important issues or themes. Think of your audience – what aspects of your research would potential readers find intriguing? It is unlikely to be the literature review or methodology (these are best entirely removed or just briefly mentioned in the book). Do you need to broaden the subject area, look at your topic in a wider context or from a new perspective?
  • Review the structure of the manuscript focusing on the important themes and paying attention to the narrative drive. You need to reorganise the material to make it interesting and accessible, promising readers an intellectual adventure. If you need help, check Developmental editing: a handbook for freelancers, authors, and publishers by Scott Norton (The University of Chicago Press, 2009). Norton offers detailed advice, illustrated by a variety of case studies, on how to identify leading themes and topics, how to restructure the manuscript to reveal its greatest potential and how to come up with a great table of contents and a winning title.
  • As soon as you have the structure in place and a clear vision for the book, start approaching publishers. Investigate the publisher before you send the proposal off. Most academic publishers and university presses specialise in a specific area of scholarship and particular types of books and audiences, and you should try to find a reasonable match. Check the publisher’s submission requirements, fill in the form, make sure your proposal sounds interesting, is error-free, and send it off. You may need to include a couple of sample chapters with your proposal. Ideally, you will find a publisher that will be as excited about your research and your manuscript as you are, and your published book will be intellectually stimulating and highly readable.
  • Rewrite the manuscript in your own voice. Readers want to know what you, the book’s author, think about the issue, so there is no need to hide behind authorities, excessive number of footnotes or blocks of quoted material. Rewrite, engage and express your view. Make sure there are no gaps, mistakes and inconsistencies in the text or the argument. Ideally you would secure a contract before you start rewriting the manuscript, but you can start working on it while you are waiting to hear from publishers.
  • Make sure you follow the publisher’s author guidelines. You may need to follow specific spelling conventions depending on whether the publisher is based in Australia, the UK or the USA. And importantly, format your references consistently, and on brief. Ideally, you should use Endnote or other referencing software to help you wrangle the reference list. It will save you heaps of time.
  • Revise the writing style. Remove unduly complicated constructions, unnecessary jargon and passive voice. You should aim for clarity of expression and writing in plain English without relinquishing intellectual strength or scholarly authority. There are plenty of books that can help from George Orwell’s ‘ Politics and the English language ’ to William Strunk’s The elements of style (Pearson, 1999) to Mark Tredinnick’s The little red writing book (UNSW Press, 2006). Make sure that the structure of the book and of each chapter is coherent, that every paragraph flows logically, that every sentence is where it needs to be, and every word is necessary.
  • Check your facts, grammar, spelling and punctuation before you submit your manuscript. While copy-editors will help you to polish the work, you want to come across as a professional writer. If you need help with grammar or punctuation, Mark Tredinnick’s The little green grammar book (UNSW Press, 2008) is a delight to read (please keep in mind it follows the Australian style). Confirm that all your references are in place. (Your exhaustive bibliography needs to be trimmed to a reasonable size.)

Almost there? Not yet. Submitting the manuscript is a huge step toward getting a book published, but of course this is just the beginning of a long(ish), collaborative process as the manuscript undergoes peer review, copyediting, typesetting and so on. Your responsibilities as an author can differ significantly among publishers, so you need to make sure you understand the expectations particular to your publisher early on to avoid delays and unnecessary stress.  You need to work closely with the publisher, and give the process and your book, your best shot. Good luck!

This is a (heavily) revised version of a post originally published on the PhD2Published blog in 2011. Image by Pixabay.


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Turning Your PhD Thesis Into a Book

turning thesis into book

"A book is what happens later, once you’ve grown past the dissertation,” said Dominic Boyer, a Cornell University Press series editor, “when one argument rises out of the analytics and becomes something on which you can build an intellectual agenda. Books are driven by arguments, not by constellations of analytics. But the only way to get to a good argument is to experiment and fail a lot in the dissertation and post-dissertation process” ( as cited in Hughes, 2018 ).

man working at desk and writing

Before we discuss the steps of transforming your thesis to a book, there are some things to consider beforehand to ascertain whether going down that route is your best option. Since PhD work is often specific in scope, there are different factors to consider before publication. Depending on the scope of your topic, you may want to look into just using a few parts of your dissertation in a book, or you may want to collaborate with other researchers in the field to contribute to a collection of research in that field or topic. If your aim is to publish your PhD work into a full-length book, however, then there are different considerations to have in mind. These are things that a potential publisher would also be looking at, with the main aim to connect the author’s work with their readers. The relationship between writers and authors and the connection they may have are what publishing companies value. The first question would be whether the book would be of interest to a broader audience in the context of the specific publisher. Then, publishers would consider if the work’s quality is high, especially if the publisher’s audience is made up of scholars, researchers, and experts in the field. Finally, since a research thesis requires peer review and detailed analysis of its findings and conclusions, a similar process is to be expected for the book. That is why the publisher will be asking whether the work can hold up to the demands of a review by researchers and experts in the field ( Elsevier, n.d. ).

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To start with, you will need to consider your audience. If you are publishing a book, you must know who you are directing your work to. “You need to jailbreak your research from the library and make it accessible to the largest potential audience,” said Hamideh Iraj (n.d.)., an MA in Information Technology who turned her master’s thesis into a book. “First, ask yourself who this wider audience is and why they would be interested in your research. They might be industry leaders, managers, researchers, students, university professors, or self-learners. To make your research accessible to them, you might need to reconfigure the main theme of your thesis.” After determining who you want your audience to be and reconfigure your thesis into a central theme that fits that audience, you will need to find a publishing house that specifically serves this audience.

Book Outreach graphic

Now that you have found an appropriate publishing house, you’re going to have to write a book proposal. You will need to contextualize by adding international or interdisciplinary context, if the research is of narrow scope, especially in the introductory and concluding chapters (Clague, 2017). A book proposal will, according to writer Tanya Golash-Boza, “briefly [contain] 1) a summary of the book that outlines the main argument, 2) a one-paragraph summary of each chapter, 3) a timeline for completion of the book manuscript, 4) a brief description of the target audience and potential classes for course adoption, and 5) the competing literature. Usually, these are short documents” ( as cited in Hughes, 2018 ).

Also, you will need to keep an eye out for predatory publishing mills, since not all publishers will have your best interests at heart. A good predictor would be if the publisher asked for the information mentioned above. It is more likely that they are legit publishers if they did. It is also noteworthy to mention that anyone who promises to publish your thesis book proposal without any changes is highly suspect. You should seek out legitimate academic publishers and you need to position yourself to have them find you. Although some publishers use institutional repositories, such as college directories, to find potential books, you can take initiative by nudging the process along. This could be done by engaging with people at conferences and mentioning the idea or starting a blog.

turning thesis into book

Things to keep in mind when finalizing a book are the factors that make a good book: 1) A concise and memorable title that uses keywords will help make the book intriguing. 2) Since the number of readers of a book are greater than dissertation readers, the more general your topic is, the more engagement you will get. 3) In a dissertation, you authority as an author must be proven, but as a book writer, it is assumed. Make sure to play that advantage. 4) While dissertations usually contain extensive documentation to prove authority, books document to credit sources and help the reader. 5) Keep in mind that dissertations can run long, but books are often far shorter ( Hagman, n.d. ).

eContent Pro offers both editorial services , such as copy editing & proofreading, and publishing services that include libraries and open access organizations, university presses and commercial publishing houses and academic and research individuals. By using eContent Pro’s services, you can be confident that you are well-equipped to turn the dissertation that you had put so much time and invaluable effort into a successful book that will propel your professional and academic career to great heights.

To learn more about eContent Pro, visit the website here or email [email protected].

turning thesis into book

  • Clague, Terry (2017, August 1). “A thesis is written for examiners, an academic book for scholars in general” – the basics of writing a book from your PhD. LSE Blog. https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/08/01/a-thesis-is-written-for-examiners-an-academic-book-for-scholars-in-general-the-basics-of-writing-a-book-from-your-phd/
  • Elsevier (n.d.). Converting your PhD Thesis into a Book in Five Steps Elsevier. https://scientific-publishing.webshop.elsevier.com/manuscript-preparation/converting-phd-thesis-into-book-five-steps/
  • Hagman, Lorri (n.d.). Turning Your Dissertation into a Book. University of Washington Graduate School. https://grad.uw.edu/for-students-and-post-docs/core-programs/mentoring/mentor-memos/turning-your-dissertation-into-a-book/
  • Hughes, Joanna (2018, Dec. 18). Five Tips for Turning Your PhD Thesis Into a Book. Keystone PhD Studies. https://www.phdstudies.com/article/five-tips-for-turning-your-phd-thesis-into-a-book/
  • Iraj, Hamideh (n.d.). Guest Post: How to Turn Your MA or PHD Thesis into a Popular Book. The Scholarpreneur. http://thescholarpreneur.com/guest-post-how-to-turn-your-ma-or-phd-thesis-into-a-popular-book/



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