The process for academic publishing can appear frustrating and overwhelming, even for the most practiced scholar. It is tempting to get too caught up in the intricacies of research, publishers, and the peer community; however, focusing too much on the larger issues and forgetting the fundamentals can lead to a stressful and unproductive journey through the process. The following basic tips can help when entering the rewarding world of publishing.
There is a place and a time for writing. Have a firm idea of where your workspace is and when you will be working there. It is important to pick a place and a time that will be reliably free of distraction. Keep it consistent from day to day.
Do not try to conquer the world all at once. You may be eager to start impacting minds, but it is often more fruitful to work in smaller, more productive sessions. Trying to get it all down at one time can over-tax your time and energy.
Keep it close until it’s done. It is tempting to share your work with others to make certain that you are on the right track. The input of others, at this stage, could blur your original intent and negative feedback can convince you that your concept is overdone and not worth pursuing. Remember, this is your work and what you create will always be original.
Open up and share. When your draft is complete, bring in as many trusted peers as you can round up. Not all of their advice will be helpful, but be receptive to it. Ask them to be as descriptive in their feedback as they can, and notice trends between critiques.
Rewrite until you get it right. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Get feedback the entire way.
Know your publishers before they get to know you. Research the journals or publishing houses that you intend to send your manuscript to. Recognize what subjects they tend to print and verify that they are the right ones for your work. If you are unsure, e-mail the editor. Don’t waste time and resources sending to publishers who have no interest in your particular piece.
Don’t give up. Scholars, especially those new to publishing, will face a lot rejection. It is important to see each one as another stepping-stone towards an eventual success. Keep writing and rewriting. Keep submitting.
Good luck to academic authors! Let us know of your publishing experiences in the comments below.