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From Dissertation to Book (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing and Publishing) Hardcover – 10 May 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (10 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226288455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226288451
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,847,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

William Germano is vice president and publishing director at Routledge. He has been editor in chief at Columbia University Press, where he also served as humanities editor.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Lugli on 20 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Quick read (it is very short).
The book makes a couple of interesting points about how to edit your book. Yet, paradoxically, for a book that insists on revision, I found the book itself a bit too repetitive, as if the author did not really have the time to revise it properly himself.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got a lot out of this book, particularly with regard to the overall title of my proposed book, chapter sub-headings and detailed revision. I thought it could have done with a bit more on revision, and the writer could have edited down the early chapters - we seemed to take a long while to begin to get to the point.

But I enjoyed his very direct style and his grown-up approach to the reader/writer, and I'm a lot more enthusiastic than I was about my revising!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The Place to Start for New PhDs 20 Aug. 2008
By D. Holt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was on the fence between which Germano book to buy, this one or "Getting it Published." I ended up getting both. Between the two, though, this is the one to start with. Not only did it demystify the process of revising the dissertation into a book, it actually has made me feel much better about my dissertation itself. It seems that most all dissertations have telltale problems and limitations; Germano is a former book editor at a scholarly press and has seen enough of them to describe them frankly and helpfully. He pegs perfectly the fundamental flaw of graduate education: what you are asked to produce for your committee is not what publishers want. I have often compared my dissertation to the books that I read and felt that it pales in comparison; Germano explains why this is though and maps out useful strategies--planning, conceptualizing, re-writing--for taking your work to the next level. After reading this, I am actually really excited to get into the revising process.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Encouraging Yet Realistic Advice 25 July 2006
By Jana Hunzicker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book spoke directly to me, a person finishing her dissertation who saw the potential for publishing but didn't know how to get started. The author works for a publishing company and once wrote a dissertation, so his advice is trustworthy. I also felt that the ideas he shared were practical and doable. Having read this book gave me a clear sense of direction as I began my own book manuscript, and I kept the author's advice clearly in mind as I wrote. One downside: The book is wordy and leans toward a scholarly tone. While it isn't exactly an enjoyable read, it is high interest if the reader is thinking about publishing all or parts of her dissertation, and certainly those of us who have written dissertations can get through scholarly text! I recommend this book. It is one of a kind on the market right now.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Good advice - but too narrow a target audience and a bit dated 24 Oct. 2009
By J. Tucker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While offering some useful advice on revising a dissertation from a writing perspective, I found this book to be a bit limited in its scope. The target audience was a narrow one: young scholars (the author emphasizes the word young at every opportunity, it seems) set on an academic career, wishing to publish through an academic press on the path to tenure. With the growing diversity of dissertation writers, some of whom are mid-career professionals, a broader perspective would seem more appropriate - for example, he completely glosses over the difference between approaches for trade press publication versus academic press, and how revisions might differ between them. Given that he continuously stresses how hard it is to get published, casting a broader net of options like that would seem useful. It might also help reduce some of the repetitiveness of the text, which at time felt a bit preachy and condescending as well. That said, some of the specific advice about writing style was right on point, and very tactically useful in the revision process.

After buying a few similar reference books, I would recommend "Revising your dissertation" edited by Beth Huey before this book. It has overlapping content, but in many ways seems more focused and more respectful - written from a peer-to-peer perspective, rather than from a "wiser than thou" advisor.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
From Dissertation to Dissertation 31 May 2007
By Irwin Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a graduate student just beginning to write my dissertation, this book was very, very helpful. Eric Foner's blurb on the back cover suggests putting it into the hands of PhD candidates at the conclusion of their doctoral defenses. I would suggest doing so at the conclusion of their general exams, when the typical dissertation errors Germano describes can still be avoided. Reading this book before writing a considerable portion of my dissertation has given me a clear set of questions to keep in mind as I move forward. It is an excellent complement to Bolker's WRITING YOUR DISSERTATION IN 15 MINUTES A DAY, which offers encouragement and writing tips unhinged from the (reasonable) obsession with turning a dissertation into a book.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Solid, but be sure you're the target market 1 Jun. 2009
By Geoffrey Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's a slim volume, both in size and in ROI, but that's not to say it isn't a valuable read - Germano's insight into both academia and the publishing industry provides a strong dose of reality for the newly-minted Ph.D (or those of us who have written really hefty Master's theses and are figuring out what to do next). Germano not only talks about how the audience and required voice differ between dissertations and books, but also breaks down the possibilities based on the amount of time the would-be author is willing to spend on revisions to help guide the would-be author away from the trap of endless revisions and delays. One of Germano's best visual images is the 40-year-old ABD student huddled in the library over Just One More Book, indistinguishable from a bum... There but for the grace of God, etc.

Perhaps the biggest strike against this text (and a weak strike at that) is how the last third of the book goes into greater depth about how to focus on audience, voice and so on. This is solid, but also sort of a no-brainer for readers who have studied writing and publishing at all. Those of us who fall into that camp can happily skim through those last pages, but other academics new to the publishing game should find them a compelling read.

In the end, Germano's book should probably be handed out to newly-minted Ph.Ds along with their degrees. Those of us on a slightly different road, however, will still find it valuable but perhaps not quite so much of a pageturner.
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