|"'Accept?' What the hell is this|
I don't tell you this to dissuade you from submitting or to make it seem hopeless. If anything, this should make you feel a little better. When you open up your email and see that bright, shining rejection letter, know that you are in the company of hundreds of other super smart and talented academics from top schools and institutions all over the world.
There are some things I learned during my internship, though, that might be helpful for those trying to close that gap between reject and R&R. And that also just might make you feel a little less crazy. While trying to get published can be daunting, it can also be a great learning experience and a fantastic opportunity to get feedback from your academic peers. So here we go....
|Academic Journal: Headquartered|
where signs like this are not only
necessary, but hotly contested.
When it comes to submitting a paper, don't just throw buzzwords against the wall and see what sticks. One of the head honchos of the journal lamented the volume of submissions we receive that feature a certain set of hip and happening key words, but that lack any useful contribution to the dialogue. We can probably all name five things off the tops of our heads that EVERYONE'S talking about in our respective disciplines right now. It can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon, thinking you're on the fast track to publication if you can get in on that action. You're not. You're quite likely to become another disappointing bit of white noise that leaves everyone with that feeling like when you take a sip of what you think is going to be ice cold lemonade and discover it's actually lukewarm Mountain Dew.
Make sure you know what you're talking about. If you claim to be the first person to ever talk about transnationalism, intersectionality, and the Jumbaco, there'd better not be an entire anthology of Jumbaco studies readily available on Project Muse. And if that anthology does exist, wouldn't it be a fantastic idea to see if you can dialogue with some of the current scholars? The journal is going to send your paper out to readers who are experts on your specific topic. If you can connect with someone who's already established in your field, that person can probably tell you whether you are the next shining star of your discipline, or you're the next Stephenie Meyer. I'm a big advocate of showing any kind of paper or proposal to as many people as are willing to read it. And as one of my profs recently pointed out, most academics have been in exactly your position and consider it paying it forward to be able to help you out. You might not be able to get the top scholar in the discipline to critique your work, but you can probably get your grad advisor to do it. There's really no excuse for yours being the only eyes to have seen your work before it lands in the journal's inbox. And when your profs, friends, conference audience, or whoever else gives you suggestions, you should really take them into consideration.
If you get a revise and resubmit, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, REVISE AND RESUBMIT!! And do it soon! Most of the people who submit don't get that opportunity, and when you do, it's a sign that, not only did some external readers think your paper had merit, but then the powers-that-be at the journal discussed it, too, and determined that they'd really like to publish your work with the proper tweaking. They've got a ton on their plates as it is. They don't ask you to R&R just to screw with you. Giving you an R&R means that they are willing to take time out of their days to read your paper AGAIN after you've heeded their suggestions. That's right. These extremely busy, established scholars have signed on to read your work twice with the distinct hope that it will be publishable. Take a moment to soak that in. That's kind of awesome, right? Yes, you might still be rejected after going through the R&R process, but now you've been rejected with a ton of feedback that could help you get published elsewhere or write something that might be a better fit for the original journal. You know what they're looking for. Use it.
And now a note about getting rejected...
|I see no possible way that this could be harmful|
to my reputation with my peers...
Note: Opinions expressed in this blog are, as always, purely my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the unnamed journal for which I was once an office jockey.