I’m working on two edited volumes related to my upcoming conference. I have a number of potential contributors who are more junior than myself. Hence the question about the relationship of their conference presentation to their dissertation to the edited volume to other publications such as a future monograph and journal articles comes up quite often.
So, here are my general thoughts on the subject at this moment. Feedback and different perspectives welcome in the comments!
Prioritize peer-reviewed journal publication. These are always better than a contribution to an edited volume: don’t get over-committed to the latter at the expense of the former. I learned this lesson the hard way.
Time is of the essence, especially if you are on the job market or will be on the job market or have a ticking tenure clock. How long will it REALLY take for the book to appear? Check the CV of the individuals involved, if they have edited volumes before. How long between conference and final publication? 1-2 years is super awesome; 3-4 year decent; 5-7 sucky but all too common.
You can cite yourself. Are you a voluminous writer? Can you give the conference volume a case study or digression or potential appendix or fuller treatment of minor point of the dissertation? This may actually stream line your future monograph!
Where is conference volume likely to appear? Is that press reputable in your field? Will it be viewed as peer-reviewed and scholarly by hiring committees and referees? Will it be read and seen by those you want to see it?
If you’ve not defended the dissertation, does your discipline consider it a pro or con to have portions already accepted for publication? What do your mentors say?
Something is better than nothing. Don’t clutch your work forever hoping for a perfect moment to share it with the world. This is how dissertations languish unread, uncited, unloved.
Is the conference volume a networking opportunity? Does participation build your circle of advocates and allies in academia? Think about the editors and other contributors, but also the relationship with a university press commissioning editor. Too often the world works on familiarity and favors, thus a wide circle of can give you a leg up.
So a definite maybe. No more. No less.