Publishing your thesis as a commercial book (academic text or for general readership) is a complex process. A thesis is written for a different audience to a book and considerable modification is required to successfully translate one to the other. The language, structure and some content will usually need to be altered.
The following advice on this process is adapted from the online learning module Postgraduate Essentials: Completion and Beyond, produced by the University of Melbourne.
If a publisher is to accept a book proposal for publication then it will have to be a very different text from the thesis you submitted for examination. It is best to think of this proposed book as a new project growing out of the research, experience and findings of your thesis. The key to getting this new book accepted by an Australian publisher is to shift the audience focus from that of two specialised examiners to an intelligent, generalist audience. This will require the following three steps:
Some of the scholarly aspects are not needed when writing for a wider audience. This includes: a formal literature review; an in-depth description of a task before you actually do it; the need to introduce or justify particular methodologies that you are going to use; a summary of your findings before you can draw wider conclusions; an exhaustive bibliography and so on. A general audience will appreciate a writing style that gets straight to the point; that is easily to navigate and that curbs excessive explanatory notes.
It is important to grab the reader's attention from the start by going straight to the important issues. Reorganise your material so that theoretical discussion or interpretation follows on from, rather than precedes, the initial presentation of your case. Background material, including literature reviews, debates on competing theories or issues in methodology should also be trimmed down, and should not be taken as an initial point of departure.'
Long or convoluted sentences will need to make way for something more "snappy". Also, excessive use of academic jargon will have to be reduced or removed and lengthy paragraphs will need to be trimmed. Depending on the editor or the publishing house, you might also be asked to write in the first person or dispense with passive voice.
"Reproduced with permission from Postgraduate Essentials: Completion and Beyond © The University of Melbourne 2009"
The following publications, among the many available via the UWS Library provide insights into publishing your thesis as a book.
Germano, W. P. (2005). From dissertation to book, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Graswell, G. (2005). Writing for academic success: A postgraduate guide, London: Sage Publications
Phelps, R. Fisher, K. & Ellis, A. (2007). Organizing and managing your research: A practical guide for postgraduates, London: Sage Publications
For assistance contact the Research Services Librarian.