Hello Miss Snark
I'm currently working on a proposal for a book that is gonna shake the world! I know, you've heard it before...

Anyway, I'm polishing the About the Author section and am unsure how to handle my doctoral dissertation, which is relevant to the book I'm pitching (the book is about what Darwin didn't know about human sexuality and the dissertation is about human sexual behavior in the pleistocene). I've published articles (both academic and popular), chapters in anthologies, and so on, but nothing book-length, except my dissertation. I know that technically, the dissertation is a publication, but it's not really "published," and I don't want to come across as a dweeb, in that this is to be a mass-market book. Should I include in the Author's info to help me make the case that I'm capable of the sustained work, or is it enough to just mention the Ph.D.?

Popular articles on human sexual behaviour in the Pleistocene Age. Holy Neanderthal, Batman.

If you have a Ph.D we assume you wrote some sort of dissertation. You don't need to mention it again particularly since the title probably isn't Fred Flintstone Does Fargo. Also, dissertations aren't published, they're printed. There is a difference.


Anonymous said...

MS, fyi Agent X is going to have a hook contest. Mention is in today's post.

Anonymous said...

You should, however, be aware that there are subjects in which the sight of a PhD after an author's name sets off alarm bells. The fringes of sciences - the "Fortean" subjects (google it if you don't know it; great stuff!) - are loaded with books by PhDs who are writing so far outside their area of expertise that it isn't visible from shore - books about the evidence that extraterrestrial vessels use gravity drive in Earth's atmosphere from people with dissertations in biology, for example. Joe Blow, Ph.D. is not a recommendation to the sophisticated Fortean reader unless the About the Author clearly indicates that the degree is in a relevant subject. Make sure you drop that in casually! Anyone with a Ph.D. in a topic outside the scope of his book would be well-advised to not call attention to it in order to avoid creating a prejudice in the minds of his target audience.

I would totally read a nonfiction book about sexual mores in the Pleistocene. But you'd better have your evidence in a row.

Christopher Ryan said...

Thanks Miss Snark, and Peni. My evidence is in a row and I've debated it with many of the leading thinkers in the field. And my Ph.D. is in psychology, relevant to evolutionary psychology, which includes evolutionary theory and sexuality. Coming soon to a store near you (I hope)...

Anonymous said...

To be snarky - the writer is correct - a dissertation is a "publication" - as in counted on your acaddeminc scorecard of achievmenets - but not necessarily "published" in a commercial sense.

When worlds collide words are the first casualty.

Anonymous said...

Darwin married his first cousin. What else do we need to know?

roach said...

"Auelementary". Dang! Another ruined keyboard.

Anonymous said...

"Fred Flintstone Does Fargo" - LOL!

Craig Steffen said...

Right--dissertations are not automatically considered "published", just printed.

From time to time, however, a dissertation that's a big contribution to its field can be published by an academic press, in which case it really is published. But that's the exception rather than the rule, and a separate process from writing it as part of your degree.

More commonly, if you get an academic job, you re-work your dissertation into a book as part of your publications to get tenure. Then (hopefully) it gets published, but it's really not the same work any more. But again, it's a separate process from writing it to get your PhD.

Anonymous said...

Oh Miss Snark, I love you! Tell me where to send the gin. My eldest stepdaughter thrills in telling us she is a published author. But that's to Miss Snarkiness, I know it is just printed. Shall I have Sir George deliver the bottle?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's a really tough topic to research. I sent 3000 copies of the Austropithecine Orientation and Position Preference Battery to Swartkraans, but none came back, so I had to make do with a phone survey of Neanderthals in Chicago.

Call me Paul said...

"Darwin married his first cousin. What else do we need to know?"

That depends. Was she hawt?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

And that's why birds do it, bees do it
Even educated fleas do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, 'gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

I've heard that lizards and frogs do it
Layin' on a rock
They say that roosters do it
With a doodle and cock

Some Argentines, without means do it
I hear even Boston beans do it

... And apparently even our ancestors in the Pleistocene did it...

But how? Amongst all that ice and such?

Let's fall in loveeeeee!

So, you're going to title this thing Love Diaries of the Cave Dwellers of Tara Tara, or Doing IT from the Great Rift to the Ice Fields of North America?

Just include your c.v. with the book proposal. Neither overstate nor understate your education, accomplishments, or hobbies. Leave out the photos. I mean you can send the photos of the naughty people in the cave paintings; that's okay. (Pst! Hey! You wanna see they cave painting of the guy and the deer? Personally, I think the naughty pictures on Greek pottery are more interesting.) Just don't include your own on the c.v.

Okay, someone is sitting there reading this and wondering, "What the heck is a c.v. anyway?" curriculum vita. Someone else is wondering if there really is a naughty cave painting with a guy and a deer. Yup. Is. And someone else again is wondering just how dirty-minded the ancient Greeks were. ….