Monday, February 26, 2007

From Diss to Book

Both Dr. Crazy and Jason Jones give their stories of converting their dissertations to books, here and here.


Blogger rachel said...

Michael, would you call these narratives representative?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Michael Elliott said...

It's hard to say, because I have not really heard this many first-book narratives in such detail. I could write a whole long blog post on why that might be, by the way.

For now, since I'm supposed to be somewhere in a few minutes, I'd say that the most unrepresentative things are the way that Jason and Crazy worked with a single press. Jason really targeted a press in a way that worked for him, obviously. One thing that was smart about what he did is that he did this early enough that if it had gone south, then he would have time to go to other presses. Dr. C's experience of having the press solicit a collection is also not representative. I have received letters like this, but they are usually not from presses that I want to publish with.

One thing that's different about book publishing is that the process of review and submission is less regularized than journal publication. With a journal article, if you send an article into a journal on an appropriate topic, it will generally get the same reading regardless of who you are. Book publishing is more idiosyncratic. Book editors have more leeway to make decisions about projects and fields that interest them -- and can simply reject a project because they already have "enough" on that topic, or because they like someone more who is publishing on that topic, or because they just aren't interested. So it helps to cultivate them a little more. At least, that's my experience. (On the other hand, a book editor can help you if he or she becomes interested in your project for any reason at all.)

There's really more to this than can be covered in a comment box. If you want to hear more on my own book narratives, you know where to find me.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Thanks so much for posting this. What great advice!

10:37 PM  

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