They’ll give you a sense of the scholarly publishing landscape you’ll be stepping into in the near future.
When you write your book proposal, you’ll need to list some recent comparable works that your project is in conversation with; this could be your chance to get familiar with some that you might mention.
(Just don’t give away your project’s entire thesis in one article.
You don’t want to have undercut the market for your book when you’re trying to convince publishers that your manuscript is a good investment.) Even if your peer reviews don’t come back positive the first time around, you’ll still receive valuable information about how your work is landing, which you can use when it’s time to reframe it as a book.
Between finishing my dissertation and landing a contract for my book on the political lifestyle practices of anarchist activists, I started conducting interviews for my article on people who abstain from Facebook.
While I didn’t consider them to be overlapping projects at the time, I eventually was able to reflect on the common threads between them to construct a narrative about the research questions that interested me.
Think of it as a lower-stakes trial run for having your full book manuscript reviewed.
However you spend your time after finishing your dissertation, I hope you’ll congratulate yourself on what you’ve already accomplished.
You can also start talking about presses with friends and colleagues who have recently come out with books or have manuscripts under contract.
Ask them whether they had a good experience with their editor and press. Did they feel supported by the acquiring editor, production staff and marketing team? Could they put in a good word for you with their editor? Editors appreciate leads on promising authors and projects! If you’re burned out on research books, read something a little more light and advicey.