About Us

We’re Katelyn and Allison, and we have years of experience helping scholars navigate the messy process of writing books. We met in graduate school and became friends and writing partners. Katelyn is an associate professor of French at the University of Central Arkansas, and Allison is a developmental editor who works with academic clients. Based on her experience of writing and publishing her first book with Liverpool University Press, Katelyn created an online curriculum for first-time book authors—what she wished had existed when she was going through the process—and brought Allison on board to help run it as a summer workshop conducted over Zoom.

In the workshop’s subsequent iterations, we tested the core exercises with hundreds of projects, brought to us by authors from all kinds of situations and with a wide variety of challenges. Based on what we learned, we repeatedly revised the curriculum. The result is The Dissertation-to-Book Workbook.

The Workbook

You’re writing your first academic book. You’ve read all the advice books; you’ve written a dissertation; you may even have attended webinars on how to write your proposal and pitch your book to publishers. You know you need to revise what you have. But when you sit down at your desk, what do you actually do?

The Dissertation-to-Book Workbook is the answer. In a series of practical, actionable steps, we show you how to distill your core argument, discover an organizational schema that works, and recognize what each chapter adds to the story. We even give you a method for drafting and revising new material. By the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of what you need to prioritize, how to thread your core ideas through each chapter, and what work remains to be done. If you’re looking for a way to grasp your book’s big picture and use what you learn to guide your revision process, this workbook is for you.

At the heart of this workbook is an unconventional process of developing your book argument using what we call “book questions” and “chapter answers”: two or three core questions that receive a one-sentence answer for each chapter. This framework, as you’ll see, is a powerful tool for aligning your book’s evidence with its claims.

Workshops for Individual Book Authors

8-Week Book Chapter Shortcut: Weds @ 1 PM ET

In this facilitated 8-week Book Chapter Shortcut, you’ll work alongside a cohort of authors to repurpose your writing into a solid draft of a book chapter. This course is designed for authors who have existing writing (notes, a dissertation chapter, conference papers, seminar papers) and need to revise that writing into a publishable chapter. It is NOT designed for authors who merely have an idea for a chapter but have not yet written material.

Each Wednesday at 1 pm ET during the 8-week facilitated cohort we’ll meet for 90-minute coworking workshops, designed to help you make faster progress than you ever thought possible. In the even-numbered weeks, we’ll host an office hour during which time we’ll answer questions and troubleshoot challenges.

You will need a copy of The Dissertation-to-Book Workbook to participate. We will work through Chapters 14 and 15 of the workbook.

8-Week Book Chapter Shortcut: Weds @ 8:30 PM ET

This facilitated 8-week Book Chapter Shortcut is timed to accommodate scholars in Asia and Australia, as well as US-based scholars who prefer to attend meetings at night. We will meet on Wednesdays at 8:30 pm Eastern. Everything else is the same as the 1 pm cohort.

Other Workshops

We regularly give workshops on various topics related to book project conception, manuscript revision, and book publishing for individual book authors. Enter your email below, and we’ll let you know when future registrations open!

Recent Workshop Replays

Dissertation-to-Book Workshop

  • Learn what really distinguishes a dissertation from a book
  • Clarify whether and how your book’s structure works for its argument
  • Articulate your book’s and chapters’ main claims
  • Prioritize your voice and banish dissertationese

Book Questions, Chapter Answers

  • Articulate and sharpen your book’s argument
  • Thread your argument throughout your chapters
  • Clarify whether and how your book’s structure works for its argument
  • Tweak how you frame your book’s argument to generate a narrative arc

Interested in inviting us to your institution or conference? Check out the institutional workshops we offer.

Free Resources

In this free course, I distill lessons from a broad survey of 188 monograph titles. You’ll learn:

  • Exactly how many words your title should be (on average, your title should fit in an extremely narrow range of only 2 words!)
  • Whether you need to coin a catchphrase for your book’s title (and whether your catchphrase actually works as a title)
  • The specific elements your book title needs to include
  • How to order all of the elements in your book’s title
  • How to make your book title “search-friendly” (this was something that tripped me up bigtime)

In this round table with series and acquisitions editors, you’ll learn:

  • What, exactly, editors are looking for in a project
  • The biggest problems editors see in first book projects
  • How to know whether your book is a good fit for a press
  • Practical dimensions of talking to editors and ensuring the manuscript aligns with disciplinary expectations

Or, check out our blog post categories or all blog posts.

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