Guest blog by Josh Pennington, freelance (book) editor, active on Peerwith.
When I completed my PhD in Linguistics in 2011, I can’t tell you how many emails I received from so called “publishers”, asking me to consider submitting my dissertation for guaranteed publication. When I asked my advisor whether they were trustworthy, he told me “Run!” These kinds of self-publishing services have grown over the years, preying on the hopes and dreams of young scholars, looking to make a break in their respective fields. In the end, the only people benefitting are the companies, who generate traffic to their websites and rake in money through advertising and other associated schemes. The biggest loser is the scholar, whose work isn’t peer reviewed before publication, signalling a red alert to hiring committees that the person in question may not be a serious academic.
What’s that saying: “If it’s too good to be true it probably is!”
In my case, since my dissertation topic was probably too arcane to submit for publication in book form at a major publisher anyway, I chose to divide my dissertation into 3-4 independent articles and submit them for publication in that form. I ended up getting two of these published in major peer reviewed journals, where a full book publication would count as only one (and a stain rather than a point of pride on my record).
The game has changed drastically since then, and here is why: with the advent of self-publishing options, which has taken off over the past 5 years really, scholars have no shortage of publishing offers on the table. However, the biggest deterrent to choosing any of these platforms is obvious: the lack of peer review. While these companies may have exceptional editors working to improve the overall academic appearance of the text, they *DO NOT* improve the argumentation. What you get is either a “yes” or “no” based on whether what you are submitting is complete bologna, to be frank, or reasonably academic-looking. What the later means is that it has been approved by a university committee. Many of us know the actual “rigor” with which our busy committee members scrutinize our theses and dissertations. Moreover, there are many external factors that may nudge a committee towards approval (we have to suck up our pride here), such as expiring grants, non-renewable funding, or a plain “moving on to the next candidate” vibe that committees can give off. Don’t feel bad though, very few dissertations have ever gone straight to publication without significant review of the content. You might score some points for publishing with a big name, but remember: hiring committees won’t be fooled.
This is why Peerwith Book Publishing Service is going to roll heads in 2020 and beyond. With 100’s of active PhD experts in a wide variety of academic fields, Peerwith has the academic clout to offer proper peer review of your manuscript. On top of that, Peerwith’s academic editors average a 4.85/5 rating (as rated by the clients themselves) or better. Once the manuscript has passed Peerwith’s internal peer review, and has been edited, the manuscript then goes to partners such as Aldus Press, who handle the aesthetic preparation and distribution.
I’ve had the pleasure of helping many scholars turn their dissertations into highly regarded books. Moreover, this past April, I published my own volume with Slavica Publishers, so I am intimately acquainted with today’s publishing cycle. As I continue to progress as a scholar, I am excited to collaborate with the Peerwith Book Publishing Service to help other scholars realize their intellectual potential on paper!
Interested in turning your dissertation into a book? Discuss this with us, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact any potential reviewer or book editor on Peerwith, like Josh, through his own Peerwith.Expert page: https://peerwith.expert/joshpennington.