Turn your thesis into a non-fiction book

This entry was posted in Editing,Proofreading,Thesis Tags: , , , , on May 12th, 2014 by

downloadAfter submitting an amazing thesis that consists of two years of your hard work, many of you would have heard from your supervisors that the work is amazing and that you should think of getting it published. But, getting a thesis published is not an easy task since what your supervisors expect from a thesis is very different to what normal readers would expect from a non-fiction book. Here are some of the tips that would help you convert your thesis into a non-fiction book:

1. Remove all your academic framework:

A thesis has a set structure that all the students are expected to follow, but a non-fiction book reader is not interested in knowing what you are set to do or how you would do it. All they are interested in is knowing the problem and its solution or discussion. So remove all your summaries and conclusions, the abstract, the introductions and all such superfluous writings. Get rid of all the sentences beginning with things like ‘I will discuss in this thesis…’ or ‘I have discovered… ‘.

2. Remove jargons:

A thesis is written for a specialist audience, with a certain level of assumed knowledge, but a non-fiction book is available in an open market, with varied readership. This means that if your book has too many jargons, it will turn off your readership. Rewrite parts of your thesis to make them into simple language with Plain English, avoiding as many jargons as possible. The following things should ring an alarm bell:

  • academic jargon
  • long, complex, convoluted sentences (no more than two ideas in a line, expressed directly)
  • inordinately lengthy paragraphs
  • abstract nouns
  • the passive voice
  • Reference to the author (don’t say “In the present writer’s opinion”; say “I think”).
3. Reorganise:

A thesis goes from general to particular, but a book should go from particular to general. The first paragraph of your first chapter should capture your reader, ensuring they will not put it down. The most interesting, arresting or unusual parts of the story or argument should come first to attract the interest of the general reader, you can go back later to provide the necessary background and interpretation. Decide what the most interesting or important issues or themes are, and concentrate on these, ruthlessly discarding the more peripheral material. 

4. Limit your references:

While it is a good things to have lots and lots of references in a thesis, gives a good impression on your supervisor. On the contrary, if a book has too many footnotes or references, it hinders in the reading experience and acts as nothing but disturbance. So, move all your references to the end of the book, with only a selected list of bibliography, materials that have contributed the most in the research. Keep only those references that will be genuinely helpful to an ordinary reader who wants to know more about the topic.

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