In this episode I talk to Dr. Jonathan Doney, Lecturere at the University of Exeter about the process of getting his PhD and postdoc research published as a book.
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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Hello and welcome, R, D And the in betweens, I'm your host, Kelly Preece,
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and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development and everything in between.
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Hello and welcome to this episode of T, F and the In Betweens. I'm delighted this episode to be talking to my colleague, Dr. Jonathan Doney.
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Jonathan and I are gonna be talking about publishing research as a book and
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specifically being unsuccessful in trying to get your thesis published as a book.
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But thinking about how that material and the learning from the process of failure or rejection can inform other opportunities further down the line.
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So, Jonathan, are you happy to introduce yourself? I'm Dr. Jonathan Doney
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I'm a lecturer in education at the School of Education, University of Exeter.
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And my specialism in teaching is history of education and education policy.
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All right. Thank you very much. And so we we're going to talk today a little bit about experiences of kind of book publishing processes,
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because one of the things that particularly humanities and social science students,
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when they come out of that research degree, often thinking about the kind of, you know, can I publish my thesis as a book?
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And that is something that you tried to do. Is that right? That's right.
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Yeah. With without a huge success, I would say.
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But I did learn a lot of lessons from from that process, which I'm willing, willing and happy to share.
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So how did when you decided that you were when you were thinking about publishing your thesis as a book, what kind of.
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How did you go about investigating whether or not that was possible?
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OK, so that might be helpful to give a bit of background and context to my sort of wider academic networks involvement,
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because I at that point, I had been a co-editor of a journal in the history of education with my supervisor.
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We shared it. And so I was kind of used to dealing with editors.
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Understanding the process of peer review and things like that.
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And I got in touch with a couple of people from different publishing houses who were very keen.
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You know, you've just done a PhD. We would love to publish it. They tended to be I think the term used is vanity publisher.
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So these publishers where you pay a large sum of money and they publish your book as a monograph.
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First of all, I didn't have a large sum of money because I've just been a grad student for three years.
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But also, I was warned by by my sort of academic champions that what you really need is a book that is published by a reputable company.
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So go to Palgrave, go to Routledge, go to someone like that and see if they'll publish it.
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So I approached I approached someone I knew at palgrave, and they said, oh, yes, we got a lot of this kind of thing.
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Here are some information about how to basically how to show us that you are preparing a book and not just changing a couple of words in a thesis.
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I think that was really useful because, you know, a thesis is written for examiners and no one else really.
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I mean, maybe those who who love you or who you love might read the acknowledgements.
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But on the whole, a thesis is written with the examiners in mind that they are your audience.
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And so the suggestion really was that you don't just say, let's change a few bits.
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You actually take the content of your thesis and restructure it, maybe rework it.
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So instead of thinking what I'm gonna do is quickly convert a thesis into a book.
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Actually, what you do is think I'm going to write a book for which I already have the bulk of the content,
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but I need to express some of that in different ways. I need to give a different sort of introduction.
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Maybe I need to express some of the findings in more in broad terms for a wider audience.
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So I sort of sat down with this guidance and prepared the proposal, which was basically my PhD for a different audience, My PhD is
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quite different from a lot of PhDs because my main contribution to knowledge is a methodological one.
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So might be PdD basically started off as a historical enquiry that ended up being.
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Here's a new method for undertaking historical enquiry. But I'd frame in the in the material I submitted, first of all, I framed it as the content.
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The history of religious education, that's got a very short list of people who'd want to read it.
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And so far, in preparation for this podcast, I looked back at some of the feedback I got on my initial thing,
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and it was, you know, this is a really interesting method. It's a very interesting proposal.
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But the audience is so limited that we can't suggest that it's printed.
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So the sense I had was I'd miss the target. Because what what book publishers want is something that's gonna sell.
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Because that's how to make their money.
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The history of R.E. in the 1960s in England, however much I want it to be the case, is never going to be in the top 10 in the Times.
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Weelend supplements. So the feedback, as I say, was, you know, it's interesting but not interesting enough.
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It's too niche. It's too specialised. I spoke to another a couple of other editors and they said, you know, broadly speaking,
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the fundamental thing that editors, you know, commissioning editors looking for is will this sell?
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Will it be a textbook? So actually, what I did is looked again at the content.
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And said, I don't think I would buy that book. To be honest. What did that feel like for them to come back and sort of basically say.
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Yeah, it's interesting, but it's not interesting enough, given that you kind of dedicate three years of your life to this work.
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And obviously you do find it interesting and there are many other people to find interesting, obviously.
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Well, I wouldn't say many others, Kelly, but few I think on the one hand,
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I was I obviously I was disappointed because my my career plan was finished at the PhD
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publish a monograph be the expert, get a job, you know, easy pathway to Professorial appointment.
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I think I think I agreed with some of the feedback, which shocked me slightly.
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I mean, I know I know that my area is niche and I know that it's very specialised.
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Now, obviously, I'm saying that with the benefit of hindsight, since then, I've had a book contract and I've submitted a manuscript.
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So that is obviously going to change. Changed my view on the feedback.
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I think what I also learnt what what I also felt with some of the feedback was it's actually very personal.
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And I've since discovered that both for that and an unsuccessful submission for the later book were sent to
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people in my field because my field is narrow who think that my cutting edge approach is inappropriate.
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And so some of the feedback was actually quite personal. I'm not that was difficult to deal with because it was it was the typical reviewer two.
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You know, if I was writing this book, I would have written something else. And the reasons I would have written those is because you're wrong.
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So that that was harder. I think that the rejection per say, if that makes sense.
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That's a really important thing to acknowledge, is kind of, you know, you appreciate that you agree with some of the feedback.
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But also, you know, even though we we talk about kind of peer review as this wonderful objective,
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kind of idealised process, actually it is incredibly subjective. Fast forward a little bit then to the book.
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That you're working on now, say. This is come out of the original book that you proposed out of your thesis that.
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Had that wasn't accepted. That's right, isn't it? Yeah.
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I mean, it's kind of it's a development in two ways. So first of all, I applied and was successful in getting a British Academy postdoc fellowship.
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After my PhD and that project was basically to take the method that I devised in my PhD and use it in a broad sweep of education policy,
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still focussed on religious education, but rather than just one event.
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Looking at a series of events from nineteen forty four to the present day.
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And so that that sort of expanded the horizon.
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But also as part of that, there was an opportunity to be published through the British Academy imprint, which is with Oxford University Press.
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So I applied for that opportunity. And again, the feedback, the feedback from one reviewer was, you know, this is really interesting,
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potentially very important methodology could be useful across a broad spectrum of policy areas.
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And another one was basically this is this is not a good idea.
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This is completely inappropriate. Straight. You know, I'm disappointed that the writer has not referred to the work of Scholar X.
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That Scholar X, being the person who done the review, is the typical kind of you haven't done what I would have done.
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Yes. So the British Academy said no.
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Which was disappointing again, because obviously having an Oxford University publication would have been a good career starter.
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But what I did is I took I took the proposal that I prepared for that to another publisher.
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I don't think I changed any of it and simply said, please don't send it to Scholar X for review.
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And because, you know, I was advised that that is possible.
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And I thought, you know, and I said, you know, if you need more information about why, they were like, no, that's fine.
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You know, we recognised that there were people who are not appropriate. So we sent it to others.
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And it came back with, you know, a couple of suggestions of how I might slightly improve the text along the lines of,
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you know, some of the work I've done is international comparison.
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And then one of the comments was just make the reason for the international comparison a little bit more obvious.
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But otherwise, they accepted it. They wanted to change the title and the title they proposed
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I was not happy with. And I was I was stuck because I thought, well, you know, I'm on the cusp of a monograph.
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Contract. Do I want to argue about the title? Well, I do.
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I care about the title and they accepted the title I suggested.
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So both in the title and in the content of the book,
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the book is now very much a methodological explanation and guide to statement archaeology, which is my thing.
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Yeah. And it uses a series of case studies from RE, two of which came from the page day and two of which are more recent work as part of the postdoc.
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So in that respect, significant elements of the PhD are now included in the monograph,
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a couple of other bits I've published separately as journal articles. And the method,
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the method sort of which begins and ends is that the monograph to be published early
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next year hopefully is just an extension of the material I've prepared for the PhD.
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So it kind of feels like it is the monograph from the thesis with a couple of bits at it.
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But it's restructured in quite a significant way. So that instead of being a book about the history of R.E.,
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it's a book about statement archaeology and the history of RE is the basis of the worked examples, but all the way through it's as you know.
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And think about how you would use this in your study. This is the kind of question that I have asked here.
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What kind of question would you ask? And so on. So it is quite a different beast now from what it was.
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And I think I think because of why it has a better position in the market and will be useful to to people who are interested in RE
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And I think it's that that's seems to be say the things that when I talk to people like that this is published,
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that's this this seems to be the core of it is actually, you know,
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it's you hope it might just be changing a few words here and there, but it's actually,
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in a lot of cases, a complete reframing because like you said, you write a thesis for your examiners.
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It's for a very particular audience in a very particular and go.
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And so it's constructed in a very particular way. And if you were kind of wanting to reach the wider academic audience,
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but also the kind of potentially the wider, you know, a student and or public audience, actually,
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a lot of people are reframing the work based on what is what is more of interest to the field rather than kind of the requirements of examination.
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I think that's absolutely right. And I think I would encourage people when they're thinking about how to develop their thesis
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into a book is is think about as many different possible groupings who might be interested.
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So, I mean, like I say, my book is primarily a methodological handbook with a lot of stuff about religious education policy,
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but actually the audience that would be interested. You've got masters level students undertaking their own research projects, PhD students
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but you've also got historians of education policy makers and policy shapers, people who are interested in social history.
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You know, there's quite a lot of social history and contextualising some of these policy moves,
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initial teacher trainees who are going to go into the humanities.
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So think as broadly as possible about who might read your book and how you can sort of tick as many boxes.
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And one of the big things I say, you know, from experience is if there's an international market.
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So I think I added a paragraph about the US.
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I've got quite a lot of stuff in there already about Scandinavia, because that's where I do my comparison.
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That ticks an international box,
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which which keeps publishers happy because they can then think about marketing this book beyond beyond our own shores,
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whether it's into Europe or the US or any sort of Anglophone type country.
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So think broadly and then kind of write in a way that tickles the ears of those sorts of people.
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It is going from the very specific niche kind of contribution that you make in the thesis.
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And broadening back out again, kind of doing, almost doing, going in the opposite direction to what you've been.
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Well, you've been doing for a number of years. I think so, yeah.
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I mean, I know some of the some of the books, the monographs that I've read that have been theses.
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They maintain the level of detail that PhD thesis requires.
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But they contextualise it differently if that makes sense. Whereas I think probably I would argue for mine, I, I stepped back from some of the detail.
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For example, you know, I had five or six thousand words just on how Foucault does historical enquiry.
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Now most sane people would say that's too much in a thesis, let alone a book.
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I think I've got a page and a half in the book about it.
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I mean, the other thing that you can do, which I did quite often, is where you where you don't want to move away from the detail.
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You can write in general terms in the book and you can reference your PhD because with, you know, the library there available for people to consult.
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Absolutely. And so you don't have to give up that sense of of the detail and the richness and the integrity of what you did.
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Thinking a little bit more about the process, because I think that's something that feels really almost mystical to people.
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So you sent in a proposal. So what kind of format did that take?
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So most publishing houses that I'm aware of will publish their format.
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You know, if you look look on the Web site for all, you know,
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authors submission to and then your chosen publisher, yeah, they will usually have some kind of pro forma.
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And is it you know that there are similarities. So, you know, I proposed title give a 300 word description of what the book is.
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You usually have to give chapter outlines, you know, chapter title, what the chapter will cover, how many words you expect it to be.
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And quite a lot of stuff about intended audience. Yeah.
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And also an analysis of competitor. Competitor titles.
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So by being in the system of submitting author, I've also been asked to review a few publications in my field and proposals.
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And some of them, you know, this is this is the only book on this topic.
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It's essential because it's core reading for these modules and others.
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You get a list of fifteen or twenty competitor titles and nothing about why this is different.
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Yeah, I think those kind of really those kind of marketing positioning in the market kind of questions are quite important.
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And I guess if that's got a lot of similarities to how you position the the scholarship is kind of filling a.
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A gap is as having originality.
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It's just thinking about it in less in terms of original contribution to knowledge as it is to mark, as is thinking about the market.
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It's a sounds like it's doing something very similar. I think it's a similar kind of approach in the mind.
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You know, that's the kind of thing you have to think of. Why what is it that I'm going to do that either hasn't been done before?
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Or I mean, one thing that I've seen quite often is books that have been published 30 years ago.
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There are key texts here, you know, are out of date.
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And this this will update the established scholarship in the field, kind of saying.
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So those kinds of things are important. I was very lucky because because of my sort of contacts,
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I had someone who had recently submitted a successful book proposal to Oxford University Press, and they sent me their proposal.
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And obviously, the topics were completely different. The structure was different. But you kind of get an idea of what kind of things make this.
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It's a bit like doing a funding bid or an application for a funded PhD
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You know, if you look at successful ones, you kind of get an idea of what what works.
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Yeah. So I would encourage, you know, particularly early career academics if they're looking for that.
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Ask your ask your existing networks, even if their fields are slightly different or their topics are slightly different.
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And I'm always willing to share my my proposals both for funding and for publication,
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because I think one of the ways we learn how to do it is by looking at ones that I've worked, say.
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You submit the proposal, they got back and said, yep, no, no.
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Oh, no. If only it was as easy as that. So I submitted.
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I submitted to Routledge and Routledge, published on their website.
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Who they're commissioning editors are for different fields now because of a project I'd worked on with other colleagues.
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There is someone who worked in religious education. So what I did first was sent the proposal to him and said, I realise this may not be your field,
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but, you know, could you have a quick look because there was already some kind of relationship.
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Could you have a quick look and or let me know who I should send it to? Yeah.
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And he said, oh, yes, the person you need is my colleague so-and-so. So I sent it to her.
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I actually see she used the policy editorial lead because that's where the book has been.
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That's another thing to sort of perhaps come back to is where do you position your book?
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Yeah. So she had a quick look at it and said, let's have a quick chat.
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There was an initial just one to one conversation with her, and she said, I think, you know, add some detail to this, maybe change there.
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Be open to the possibility of the title being being adapted.
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Once I'd done that, she then takes it to the editorial board meeting.
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You know, with her support, they came back with a couple of suggestions.
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Sorry. And in between that, I discussed it with her. Then it went to review and I had the reviewers comments back to me.
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Yeah. To change the proposal before it went to the editorial board and the editorial board agreed it subject to a change of title.
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And then once once they agreed and you've agreed with them the changes,
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you get offered a contract and the contract is to produce the manuscript within a given amount of time.
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So how long did that take between, say, between the kind of initial contact and getting the contract?
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So I think the initial contact was January, and I signed the contract in September.
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Wow. Now, that's partly because my commissioning editor was off sick for a while, but I mean, that's not an unusual.
00:22:39,000 --> 00:22:44,000
It's not an unusual timescale, particularly if there is a bit of to ing and fro ing.
00:22:44,000 --> 00:22:53,000
Yeah. And I think it also depends on the publishing house, because I think some some that have big structures,
00:22:53,000 --> 00:23:03,000
you might send it to the person you think and they they without you knowing, send it on to a colleague before it even gets any kind of indication.
00:23:03,000 --> 00:23:11,000
It's a really important thing to be aware of that actually, when it comes to book publishing, things can move incredibly slowly.
00:23:11,000 --> 00:23:13,000
Yeah, I think I think that's right.
00:23:13,000 --> 00:23:23,000
And I think I mean, if it taking the whole thing from when I first approached that publisher, which was what do we know, it was January.
00:23:23,000 --> 00:23:31,000
Twenty, eighteen. And I I have just finished completing the page proofs in the last couple of days.
00:23:31,000 --> 00:23:36,000
Wow. So there'll still be another month or so before it goes to press.
00:23:36,000 --> 00:23:43,000
Yes. But, you know, obviously part of that time I've been writing the book.
00:23:43,000 --> 00:23:50,000
Because one thing I didn't want to do, what some people do is they write the book and then they submit a proposal and then they might
00:23:50,000 --> 00:23:57,000
have to do quite a lot of changing according to what proposal changes the editorial board require.
00:23:57,000 --> 00:24:04,000
Whereas I had the structure of the book in my mind and then I've written it according to the proposal, we've agreed.
00:24:04,000 --> 00:24:08,000
So I guess I've got two questions. And on that say, I mean.
00:24:08,000 --> 00:24:14,000
Even though you have the structure, you you know, you hadn't written the thing as a as a whole before you went to proposal.
00:24:14,000 --> 00:24:23,000
It sounds like from your from your the you from your PhD n and from the that you wrote it on you.
00:24:23,000 --> 00:24:28,000
I'm guessing you had quite a reasonable amount of text already.
00:24:28,000 --> 00:24:32,000
I had the basis of a lot of the time. I mean, for the two chapters that came from the PhD
00:24:32,000 --> 00:24:38,000
It wasn't a copy. Copy and paste job. But it wasn't it wasn't a starting from scratch.
00:24:38,000 --> 00:24:45,000
There were chunks, particularly chunks of primary evidence that I did just copy and paste across.
00:24:45,000 --> 00:24:56,000
But I think what I would say is before I said send the book's proposal in, I knew what I'd found and I knew what the structure of the arguments were.
00:24:56,000 --> 00:25:05,000
Yeah. Because, you know, I think for for this route, the book chapter summaries were about four or five hundred words per chapter.
00:25:05,000 --> 00:25:09,000
Yeah, but you need to know enough about what you're gonna say.
00:25:09,000 --> 00:25:17,000
What's your supporting evidence to be able to test to satisfy them that it's not just a you know, you can't be too general.
00:25:17,000 --> 00:25:23,000
You have to be specific. Yeah. I'll talk about this act. I'll talk about these policymakers in the process.
00:25:23,000 --> 00:25:30,000
When did you actually start writing the book? Did you wait until you got the contract or did you start kind of earlier?
00:25:30,000 --> 00:25:31,000
What I think.
00:25:31,000 --> 00:25:42,000
I'd started writing a book a while ago, probably after I finished my PhD, because because I knew that there were bits I wanted to publish.
00:25:42,000 --> 00:25:48,000
So in terms of sort of text on page, I suppose by the time I submitted the proposal,
00:25:48,000 --> 00:25:54,000
I might have had forty thousand words written out of eighty five thousand total.
00:25:54,000 --> 00:25:58,000
Okay. So yeah, sort of with half of the book written.
00:25:58,000 --> 00:26:02,000
I mean a lot of that was just plain old as it says in this paragraph.
00:26:02,000 --> 00:26:07,000
Describe in this paragraph account for. Yeah.
00:26:07,000 --> 00:26:14,000
And then you kind of fill those gaps in. But I was I'd heard stories of people who'd written a book.
00:26:14,000 --> 00:26:21,000
Written a proposal based on the book they'd written, had the proposal talked around and accepted, and then they basically were starting again anyway.
00:26:21,000 --> 00:26:26,000
Yeah, I thought the sensible thing was just, you know, it's bad enough write in one book.
00:26:26,000 --> 00:26:31,000
I certainly did want away two for the price, you know, two books for one publication.
00:26:31,000 --> 00:26:37,000
If that makes sense, you've got to be you've got to be persuasive enough to the publisher that they think.
00:26:37,000 --> 00:26:41,000
I won't say they think you finish the book, but they think you can write the book.
00:26:41,000 --> 00:26:49,000
And also, I didn't take before with a proposal. I had to send a completed chapter as an exemplar of my writing.
00:26:49,000 --> 00:26:55,000
And that was one of the chapters that I'd already adapted from the PhD And that was that was okay.
00:26:55,000 --> 00:27:01,000
So by the time you getting to the point of writing and you've done the proposal, you submit the example chapter,
00:27:01,000 --> 00:27:08,000
you've had all of these back and forth conversations, like you said, you've got such a clear idea of of where the market's going.
00:27:08,000 --> 00:27:13,000
It's then kind of sitting down and doing the thing.
00:27:13,000 --> 00:27:24,000
So we will momentarily we will gloss over the process of writing as if it it's an, you know, click your fingers magically.
00:27:24,000 --> 00:27:33,000
It happened. So at what point did you send kind of drafts to your editor?
00:27:33,000 --> 00:27:45,000
So I. I didn't. They they issued a contract and initially my contract was for the complete book to be ready in April this year.
00:27:45,000 --> 00:27:56,000
OK. Once we got towards April, I sent a very, very nice email that said, you know, this is this is not going to happen by April.
00:27:56,000 --> 00:27:58,000
Can I have till July?
00:27:58,000 --> 00:28:07,000
And because I also wanted to push back the publication date for for strategic reasons, I didn't want the book published in the current REF cycle.
00:28:07,000 --> 00:28:13,000
I wanted it published in the next REF cycle. So they said, well, yeah, bearing in mind you're not in a hurry to have it.
00:28:13,000 --> 00:28:21,000
Then we're happy to put the date back. So I submitted the whole manuscript in July.
00:28:21,000 --> 00:28:30,000
Yeah. And in the process after that is that, first of all, the editor who has commissioned the work reads the piece.
00:28:30,000 --> 00:28:36,000
Yes. Basically to check that you've supplied what you agreed. Yes, of course.
00:28:36,000 --> 00:28:39,000
So I think it was three or four week turnaround.
00:28:39,000 --> 00:28:47,000
And I have an e-mail from her saying, you know, you've not only supplied what we asked for, but it's extremely well-written and very engaging.
00:28:47,000 --> 00:28:57,000
Yes. Which is a technical book on a documentary analysis technique, I think is I said, can I put your comment on the back in the blurb?
00:28:57,000 --> 00:29:03,000
Then it goes to copyediting that they then send back questions like, you know,
00:29:03,000 --> 00:29:09,000
you've sometimes you've used ize, sometimes you use ise, which should it be throughout?
00:29:09,000 --> 00:29:15,000
They ask questions about missing references or references are incomplete.
00:29:15,000 --> 00:29:24,000
That takes about a month. Yeah. Then it goes to typesetting, and I think that took about another month.
00:29:24,000 --> 00:29:33,000
So the best in a sense, the bits that they do take about a month, six weeks at a time, and then you get an email saying, hey, is your galley proofs.
00:29:33,000 --> 00:29:39,000
Please let us have them back in three days. Oh, wow. Which I responded.
00:29:39,000 --> 00:29:44,000
Thank you very much for the opportunity. I will have them within the next fortnight.
00:29:44,000 --> 00:29:48,000
And so far it's been. Oh yes, of course. That's fine. Don't.
00:29:48,000 --> 00:29:56,000
Don't be afraid to say to your publisher. Hang on a minute. You know, that's not a realistic timescale.
00:29:56,000 --> 00:30:01,000
So the situation at the moment is that I've got I've got the marked up proofs I need to enter the
00:30:01,000 --> 00:30:11,000
corrections onto the system and then I won't see the text again until I get physical copies delivered.
00:30:11,000 --> 00:30:14,000
So there's no sort of submission of drafts along the way.
00:30:14,000 --> 00:30:20,000
Certainly in my experience, I don't know how other publishers work, but my sense is that they're not interested.
00:30:20,000 --> 00:30:24,000
Once they've awarded the contract, what they want is the finished text.
00:30:24,000 --> 00:30:32,000
Yeah. So. At what point or is there a point at which it is going to go out to?
00:30:32,000 --> 00:30:38,000
Review is again, so obviously the proposal went through a peer review process. But does the book, the manuscript as a whole.
00:30:38,000 --> 00:30:44,000
Go out for a full review in any way? Well, with this one, no.
00:30:44,000 --> 00:30:48,000
I've got friends who have published with Palgrave or when they submitted the
00:30:48,000 --> 00:30:55,000
manuscript that was read by a couple of external readers before it was accepted.
00:30:55,000 --> 00:30:57,000
00:30:57,000 --> 00:31:07,000
my take on that is my book is such a close resemblance with the book that I was contracted to write that it didn't need to go out to review,
00:31:07,000 --> 00:31:12,000
or it may simply be that that's just a delay in the process.
00:31:12,000 --> 00:31:19,000
And, you know, usually there's some kind of reward, I suspect. So, you know, it costs it takes time.
00:31:19,000 --> 00:31:26,000
I think that might vary by publisher. It's important to say that there will always be variations in inexactly.
00:31:26,000 --> 00:31:31,000
How publishers deal with entry is different. These different elements say.
00:31:31,000 --> 00:31:36,000
So the next time you see you see it, it's going to be. A physical copy.
00:31:36,000 --> 00:31:40,000
It's gonna be a physical copy with. With covers and a title on it.
00:31:40,000 --> 00:31:48,000
Which is gonna be quite scary, but also exciting. So have you seen things like cover art or anything?
00:31:48,000 --> 00:32:01,000
Yeah, I am. I was hoping I. I've got a friend who's got a picture that was painted by a relative after that relative had read some of Foucaults work.
00:32:01,000 --> 00:32:06,000
And it's an amazing picture. I was hoping that that could be the cover of the book.
00:32:06,000 --> 00:32:18,000
Because it's got that link with Foucault's theory. But I was sent a bland collection of 12 different covers from which I could choose one.
00:32:18,000 --> 00:32:23,000
So I chose in consultation with my artistic director, my daughter.
00:32:23,000 --> 00:32:29,000
I chose one. And they said, yeah, we can't use that one on your book because that's for a different series.
00:32:29,000 --> 00:32:42,000
So in the end, I cover I've got it's not the one I've chosen, but it has the kind of corporate link with books in policy,
00:32:42,000 --> 00:32:46,000
which is useful for me because I kind of wanted to position this more in policy
00:32:46,000 --> 00:32:51,000
than in sort of religious education theology or anything else like that.
00:32:51,000 --> 00:33:02,000
So I'm not hugely unhappy with the outcome. But, you know, it shows you how constrained you are as an author about some of these decisions.
00:33:02,000 --> 00:33:08,000
Yeah. And I think that the thing you said about the identifying it is so visually as corporately as policy.
00:33:08,000 --> 00:33:18,000
It's interesting you mentioned that earlier about and about it being part of the policy series and the kind of positioning of the book.
00:33:18,000 --> 00:33:21,000
Can you say something a little bit about that?
00:33:21,000 --> 00:33:30,000
Yeah, I mean, I think so, as I sort of hinted earlier on, religious education, there's not a huge sector of educational research.
00:33:30,000 --> 00:33:37,000
It's a very niche field. And actually, the work that I do is religious education by accident.
00:33:37,000 --> 00:33:45,000
My my motivation and my intellectual project, if you like, is about understanding how policy development works in real life.
00:33:45,000 --> 00:33:54,000
It just so happens that I've worked on religious education because that's where I've had ways in or pre-existing knowledge.
00:33:54,000 --> 00:34:02,000
Because I know developing my career as an early career researcher, I want to develop an identity as a policy researcher.
00:34:02,000 --> 00:34:03,000
So to me,
00:34:03,000 --> 00:34:16,000
getting the book published in the policy staple was really important because to have it published is as a religious education book would in a sense,
00:34:16,000 --> 00:34:26,000
keep me constrained within that very narrow field where I've already established a reputation by moving to a slightly broader intellectual silo.
00:34:26,000 --> 00:34:29,000
I suppose there is scope for more development.
00:34:29,000 --> 00:34:35,000
And it's I mean, it's already led to some interesting discussions about other education policy projects.
00:34:35,000 --> 00:34:42,000
So it's been successful. But I think I think the piece of advice that I was given, I would pass on when thinking about publication,
00:34:42,000 --> 00:34:47,000
if think about what you want your academic identity to focus around.
00:34:47,000 --> 00:34:52,000
Yeah. Because lots of us do PhDs to a sort of a combination of what we're interested in,
00:34:52,000 --> 00:34:59,000
but also what we can get funding for, what our supervisors interests are, where where there is a gap.
00:34:59,000 --> 00:35:07,000
I mean, I think of Einstein as the example because his PhD was nothing to do with theories of relativity.
00:35:07,000 --> 00:35:12,000
But that's what he's known for. Yeah. He's not not known for his PhD work, is known for his work afterwards.
00:35:12,000 --> 00:35:15,000
And I think it's an opportunity.
00:35:15,000 --> 00:35:23,000
Getting a book published is to create an early career researcher is a huge thing and it's a thing that gives you opportunities.
00:35:23,000 --> 00:35:31,000
So think about the opportunities. Where do I want to be positioned and how do I then get this book of this monograph?
00:35:31,000 --> 00:35:35,000
How do I then use that as a stepping stone to where I want to be, if that makes sense?
00:35:35,000 --> 00:35:38,000
00:35:38,000 --> 00:35:44,000
And within that, I wondered if you could just say a bit more about so you said about delaying it because you didn't want it published.
00:35:44,000 --> 00:35:49,000
You wanted it published in the next REF cycle. So what was the.
00:35:49,000 --> 00:35:59,000
What was the rationale for that? OK. So because of the way the REF works, we're all encouraged or demanded to submit,
00:35:59,000 --> 00:36:04,000
you know, X number of papers at whatever, you know, five For star articles.
00:36:04,000 --> 00:36:12,000
I know that's ridiculous. But, you know, the pressure is to produce a certain number of For star articles or three star articles within the REF cycle.
00:36:12,000 --> 00:36:18,000
I'd already I've already achieved that through publications that I've done in the last few years.
00:36:18,000 --> 00:36:28,000
So if I had got the book published in the current REFcycle, I would have just ended up with, you know, 10 articles from which to choose.
00:36:28,000 --> 00:36:33,000
And then when the clock resets for the new REF cycle, I would have had nothing.
00:36:33,000 --> 00:36:42,000
So it was suggested strongly to me, hold the book back. And then that gives you a starting point for the next REF's cycle.
00:36:42,000 --> 00:36:52,000
You know, you've already got a good solid. Submission sitting on your desk waiting rather than starting from scratch.
00:36:52,000 --> 00:36:56,000
So it's simply that that kind of strategic planning.
00:36:56,000 --> 00:37:01,000
Yeah, and I think with what you said about kind of how you position yourself.
00:37:01,000 --> 00:37:04,000
And how you want to position your academic career?
00:37:04,000 --> 00:37:15,000
These are incredibly important considerations and particularly with things that like the REF cycle and kind of forward forward planning, I guess.
00:37:15,000 --> 00:37:19,000
So what have you learnt from the process of doing the book?
00:37:19,000 --> 00:37:28,000
I would say I've learnt a lot. You know, I've learnt some some fairly fundamental practical skills, like if you're going to write a book.
00:37:28,000 --> 00:37:32,000
You have to change the way that you live. To make it possible.
00:37:32,000 --> 00:37:45,000
Go. For the the year between getting the contract and submitting the manuscript, I spent the first two hours of every working day working on the book.
00:37:45,000 --> 00:37:48,000
OK. Yes. Because it doesn't write
00:37:48,000 --> 00:37:58,000
You know how much I wanted it to write itself So there's the practical level, I think, on the on the sort of career development level,
00:37:58,000 --> 00:38:04,000
you know, the importance of a book I'd completely underestimated. Well, I when it was first suggested, it was like, yeah, you know, well,
00:38:04,000 --> 00:38:09,000
I've done a couple of articles, a book, you know, a book will just be another thing like that.
00:38:09,000 --> 00:38:14,000
But it's not the way that it's viewed, particularly in terms of job applications and progression.
00:38:14,000 --> 00:38:20,000
A book is a big thing. And and the all the publication house is a big thing.
00:38:20,000 --> 00:38:25,000
Yes. So, you know, people were asking me, I interview.
00:38:25,000 --> 00:38:29,000
Oh, yeah. You've got your work on a book. Who's publishing it? That was the question before.
00:38:29,000 --> 00:38:32,000
What's it about? Yeah. Which I think is interesting.
00:38:32,000 --> 00:38:40,000
So I've learnt I've learnt that I think I've learnt more about how to negotiate the process of putting together a submission.
00:38:40,000 --> 00:38:49,000
Getting comments on it, sending it to the right person. You know, that sort of process your side of things.
00:38:49,000 --> 00:38:58,000
But I think what I've learnt also is that many of my colleagues are hugely academically generous and also very interested in what I'm doing.
00:38:58,000 --> 00:39:03,000
I tend to think that my work was so niche that no one else really had any interest.
00:39:03,000 --> 00:39:12,000
But my colleagues have been hugely supportive, very encouraging. I mean, it's a bit like when you start a new job, you know, how's the job going?
00:39:12,000 --> 00:39:16,000
How are you getting on? Anything you need? Maybe like when you do.
00:39:16,000 --> 00:39:20,000
Each day when people say instead of saying, have you finished yet?
00:39:20,000 --> 00:39:25,000
They say, can I give you some money or buy you a meal? It's a bit like that, you know.
00:39:25,000 --> 00:39:29,000
How's the book coming on? Yeah, I see it quite encouraging.
00:39:29,000 --> 00:39:35,000
So. We also have learnt quite a lot about myself because I didn't I didn't believe that I could do PhD
00:39:35,000 --> 00:39:43,000
I come from a very chequered educational background. But I left school with with few qualifications.
00:39:43,000 --> 00:39:46,000
And each time I, you know, I got my degree, I got my masters, I got my PhD
00:39:46,000 --> 00:39:55,000
Each time I thought, well, I didn't believe I could do it. And in a sense, getting the book finished showed me that I could.
00:39:55,000 --> 00:40:03,000
Other people around me believed I could, but I didn't always. I think the biggest lesson for me is actually you can.
00:40:03,000 --> 00:40:10,000
Yeah. And I think the final lesson is don't rush into writing a book.
00:40:10,000 --> 00:40:13,000
Because it is a lot of work. It's worth it is hugely rewarding.
00:40:13,000 --> 00:40:18,000
And, you know, I'm so looking forward to hearing from people who are using the method that I've devised.
00:40:18,000 --> 00:40:25,000
But there are easier ways to spend your life and work you.
00:40:25,000 --> 00:40:36,000
So in the process of writing, writing the book, where you finishing the postdoc and starting the job you're in now, we say we I working full time.
00:40:36,000 --> 00:40:41,000
For about. Six months. No more than six months.
00:40:41,000 --> 00:40:46,000
I started my current role as a lecturer in September last year.
00:40:46,000 --> 00:40:56,000
OK, but September 2019 and I submitted the manuscript in July 2020 and I didn't get the contracts till September.
00:40:56,000 --> 00:41:02,000
So most of the time that I was working on the specific book, I've been working full time.
00:41:02,000 --> 00:41:07,000
Say, I was think that that kind of doing two hours on it every day, like in the morning,
00:41:07,000 --> 00:41:11,000
was that the way that you managed to kind of the balancing of the work?
00:41:11,000 --> 00:41:17,000
Yeah. Yeah. Because prior to that, I you know, I spent three years with my postdoc.
00:41:17,000 --> 00:41:24,000
I spent, you know, working on the book all the time. But, you know, a lot of that was research.
00:41:24,000 --> 00:41:35,000
You know, archive research, data analysis, redeveloping the method, you know, networking meetings, etc.
00:41:35,000 --> 00:41:41,000
And I did quite a lot of other projects alongside that kind of teaching other places.
00:41:41,000 --> 00:41:47,000
So. I did try to have a a day, a week on the book.
00:41:47,000 --> 00:41:55,000
When I first started this role, but it's it wasn't manageable, partly because I can't write flat out for seven or eight hours ago.
00:41:55,000 --> 00:42:04,000
Yeah, partly because however much you set aside a day and lock yourself away and turn your e-mail off, people still find you and they still demand,
00:42:04,000 --> 00:42:10,000
whereas somehow it's more acceptable when people knock on your door eight o'clock in the morning and say, have you got time for a meeting?
00:42:10,000 --> 00:42:15,000
You can say I'm free at lunchtime or I'm free later.
00:42:15,000 --> 00:42:23,000
And that's okay. So, yeah, at this point, I mean, it's sort of one of those things that you achieve it by chipping away a bit at a time.
00:42:23,000 --> 00:42:26,000
And for me, a couple of hours a day was the way to do it.
00:42:26,000 --> 00:42:34,000
I know that for some people they write best, you know, in big, long chunks, maybe at the weekend or they take a day away from the office.
00:42:34,000 --> 00:42:36,000
But I think you have to do what works for you.
00:42:36,000 --> 00:42:44,000
I would also say over the course of the whole project, what works for me has changed at different times.
00:42:44,000 --> 00:42:48,000
I should be be responsive to be be okay with that.
00:42:48,000 --> 00:42:58,000
Thank you so much to Jonathan for a really fascinating discussion about the publishing process, about failure, about rejection,
00:42:58,000 --> 00:43:10,000
but also about finding and articulating your identity as an early career researcher and and placing yourself within your field, moving forward.
00:43:10,000 --> 00:43:15,000
And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe and join me.
00:43:15,000 --> 00:43:42,408
Next time we'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
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Dealing with failure
Tales of major corrections
Tales of minor corrections
Researcher Takeover - Talking about Thematic Analysis
All about burn out
Being a Mature PGR
Being an internal (viva) examiner with Professor Michelle Bolduc
Preparing for your (HASS) Viva
Preparing for your (STEMM) Viva
Mentoring and Coaching with Dr. Kay Guccione
Taking a break take 2 - with Dr. Edward Mills
Doing non-traditional research with Lizzie Hobson
Changing supervisors with Maria Dede
Adapting research projects due to COVID-19 with Léna Prouchet
Working with an industry partner with Léna Prouchet
The Supervisory Relationship (from both sides!) with Edward Mills and Tom Hinton
Preparing for your upgrade
The impact of Covid19 on research projects with Ellie Hassan
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