I’ve heard that having a published book is more highly respected than having a Ph.D. I’m not sure if this came from research, the author’s opinion, or merely emerged as a clever quip. But, it does give me pause.
In completing a PhD there is (usually) a dissertation to produce. A dissertation is the length of a book and is much more tedious to write. And upon its completion, the dissertation is published (albeit in the technical sense). I’ve done this twice.
Writing a book is much easier than a dissertation or thesis; it requires less time and effort. I’ve done this, too. And it’s not hard to publish a book either, assuming you self-publish. (In the past, many notable authors self-published.)
However, it is much harder to go the traditional route and find a publisher who will produce mass quantities of your book in printed form and distribute them around the world. I have yet to do this.
What’s interesting is that in non-fiction, publishers look for writers with the authority to cover their topic; they seek credentials. A Ph.D. in your field is a prime credential.
So even though I consider earning a Ph.D. harder—and therefore more worthy of respect—publishing a non-fiction book often requires a Ph.D. anyway.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.