How Boot Camp Jumpstarted My Book


You guessed it, I’m not exactly talking about a hardcore workout boot camp, but I am talking about this “Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp” to get you on your way to writing on your book and hit major milestones in the revising process!

Why enroll in this Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp?

Let me lead with this:

  • Have you ever felt like you do not know where to even start writing your first academic book?
  • Have you read all the books about turning your dissertation into a book and still had questions?
  • That you just want to toss your old dissertation out of the window, but wait, you can’t because you need that tenure book?

Yes, to all of these feelings and more probably, am I right? All of these I felt when I started my appointment as an assistant professor started at NCSU. I was thrilled to have had a tenure-track job at such a reputable institution and yet, I was having such issues trying to even get anything done.


After Boot Camp, I had a clear vision on what the book was going to do and how it was going to do it. I found out how to craft my narrative arch and foreground my voice. I discovered my claims and how each chapter will serve this overall claim. I figured out who my audience was, which model books to try and emulate.


All of this changed, when I found out that Katelyn Knox, PhD was offering a boot camp called “Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp”. I knew of Katelyn first from her outstanding research and her first book Race on Display. While looking her up, I found out that she designed these boot camps for junior faculty. I signed up and I have not looked back since!

What is Unique about Boot Camp

The curriculum took me a bit under ten weeks to complete, I think I could have done it in much less time but the semester always brings with it interesting surprises!

During Boot Camp, you will efficiently think about the big picture about what your book does (or needs to be doing) and how each chapter actually fits in the book. This makes you really wonder and ponder about parts of your dissertation that you really want to fit in the book, but that might not serve the overall claims of your book.


Boot Camp handed me a clear roadmap to what felt like a very dark forest. I have tackled revisions with confidence and have hit milestones since then. This has made me a more confident writer and a more focused thinker.


Now, you might think that there are many books that already take you through the same steps. Yes and no. I have these books. Every single one of them and while I have now read them all, I certainly did not have time during the semester to read them, and write my articles/books for research and teach and grade and do service… you get the point!

Fresh out of graduate school, I felt like there was not big transition, just me, in this dark forest, trying to find my way towards writing and publishing my book and tenure.


What the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp did for me.

Here are a few things the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp has done for me :

  1. I am a visual learner. I tend to learn best having examples in front of me.
    Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp gave me concrete examples of what good books do not only in my field but in all humanities and social sciences field at every step of the way! Sometimes, I could actually just could relate to examples in art history, better than my own home field an it actually was useful.
  2. Some weeks I just could not give it my all or had to take a break from the project to give me a bit of a distance and catch the bigger picture.
    That’s what the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp format actually does well. It gives you the flexibility to accomplish it on your own timeline. That includes super busy times such as midterm and end of the semester rush.
  3. I am a goal-oriented person. I need things to check off my list!
    After completing the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp, I walked out with a guiding book document. What is this, you ask? It is essentially a concrete map of what your book will look like. You will have a clear idea and action steps to take towards your book, I’m talking about a book summary, a chapter by chapter summary, the concrete learning objectives as it relates to each chapter, and the book overall, a narrative arch and so much more.


Jumpstart Your Own Book Now!

Since I finished the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp, I am constantly going back to my guiding book document and reminding myself of what my book’s higher learning objectives. I feel confident and laser-focused on the map I created during the curriculum. I have been able to better foreground my voice and write more confidently about my claims.

I cannot say enough good things about this program, and wish every junior faculty in a book-field would sign-up!

Definitely leave a comment below if you have any questions about this experience and for more head to the Dissertation-to-BookBoot Camp’s page!

On a final note, sometimes, Katelyn is able to offer facilitated versions of the Boot Camp. So, if you’re interested in learning more, check out the other Dissertation-to-book Boot Camp.

*This post contains affiliate links to the Dissertation-to-Book Boot Camp*

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  1. […] Finally, since I am in a book field, I have also spent my first year working through the Dissertation to Book Boot Camp. Best thing I have ever done to jumpstart my book. You can read about it here! […]

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