My Top 16 Recommended Resources for Writing Your First Academic Book

Are you working on revising your dissertation into your first academic book? Or, are you writing a completely new book? Wondering what you should read for help with publishing your first academic book? Confused about where to start with revising your academic book for publication with a university press? Here are my top 16 resources for publishing your first academic book.

Resources for Writing Your First Academic Book: Revisions Stage

  1. William Germano’s From Dissertation to BookThis the reference for revising your dissertation into an academic book. The first four chapters help you decide whether you want to use your dissertation as the basis for publishing your first academic book at all. The rest gives practical and actionable advice on revising your dissertation into book style.
  2. My article “How Long Does Publishing an Academic Book Take? My First Book’s Timeline” which lays bare what other resources don’t: how long publishing an academic book based on a dissertation takes.
  3. Helen Sword’s Stylish Academic Writing. A must-have in an academic writer’s arsenal. Sword illustrates her points about stylish writing by drawing from real, published articles and chapters and explaining “why it works.” And each chapter concludes with a “Things to Try” section, which helps you practice developing your own style.
  4. Eric Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style. Hayot shows you how to train yourself out of graduate school writing habits.
  5. Joli Jensen’s Write No Matter What! Jensen’s book is an indispensable resource for writing your first academic book. She lays out common fears and obstacles all academic authors face and gives you tips to overcome them.
  6. The New Books Network Podcast in your field. This resource is not about academic book publishing per se, but you will hear interviews with authors of recent books in your field. Note common interview questions, and prepare yourself to answer them about your own book. Listen to my interview on the New Books in French Studies channel!

Resources for Preparing Your First Academic Book Proposal

  1. William Germano’s Getting it Published. Whereas From Dissertation to Book focuses more on revisions, Getting it Published gives you insight into the process of publishing your first academic book.
  2. Rabiner and Fortunato’s Thinking Like Your Editor. While intended for all non-fiction writers, not just academics, it nevertheless gives extremely useful information on preparing your book proposal. It stresses how important style and craft are to the book and its proposal. See, for instance, the entire chapter (6) devoted to “Using Narrative Tension.”
  3. My articles “What To Do Before Writing an Academic Book Proposal: 4 Crucial Steps” and “When Should You Submit your Academic Book Proposal?”
  4. Karen Kelsky’s article “How to Write a Book Proposal.” Most of Kelsky’s advice on the topic of writing a book proposal is solid.
  5. Rachel Toor’s series on how to write a good book proposal: “The Reality of Writing a Good Book Proposal” and “How to Write a Good Book Proposal, The Sequel.”
  6. Rachel Toor’s series geared specifically toward junior scholars writing their first books: Ph.Ds. Are Still Writing Poorly, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

General Tools & Resources for Scholars

See what I recommend for curbing digital distractions, establishing and maintaining productivity, and making the most of long car commutes.

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