Author Archives: Lori Flores

From Dissertation to Book: Writing a Book Proposal

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce Dr. Lori Flores, Assistant Professor of History at SUNY Stony Brook. She has collaborated with us in the past, particularly on a great book review series from last year featuring the work of her graduate students. Now, we have the pleasure of publishing her first post for BHb, which provides some great ideas about adapting one’s work for a book proposal. Most recently, Lori authored Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement, part of the Lamar Series in Western History published by Yale in 2016. -Mike

I am often asked for advice on how to navigate the transition from completing a dissertation to revising the dissertation into a book, and writing academic book proposals for publishers. Here are seven tips that might help demystify the book proposal process (disclaimer: I’m a historian, but hopefully these tips translate across disciplinary boundaries):

  • See your work with new, fresh eyes.

If you’ve just finished your dissertation, congratulations! Now set it aside for a good while. Trying to tackle dissertation-to-book revisions too soon will prevent you from seeing your graduate school-inspired language, and from knowing what needs to be tweaked, cut, or added in terms of content. Many times, you need a more distant perspective on your work in order to articulate to editors how you plan to produce a book, which is an entirely different beast in terms of framing, style, and structure. Feel free to circulate your work to valued colleagues for their input while you’re gaining that distance, and tackle other passion projects or interesting new readings in your field for some inspiration.

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