Publish? Perish the thought!

There was a rather good advice session on Monday.  It was on getting books and articles published.

The book bit was amusing – we were given a (made-up) example of how NOT to do it and then some solid advice and warnings.

  • Don’t, when approaching a publisher (and do some research and personalising of any cover letter!) call it a PhD. Call it research.
  • Turning a PhD, sorry “research” into a publishable book is doable, but NOT overnight.  You need a year at least, probably two.
  • Not all PhDs can or indeed SHOULD be published.

The journal article bit was also amusing!

The presenter said he’d recently been looking at a great number (>150) CVs. Most people by the end of their PhD had some teaching. A small number had publicatoins in a top line journal, and that made them stand out.
So –

  • have a sense of the journal you’re aiming at
  • Aim for the best/top journal in your field
  • Make sure your submission has not typos, that its footnoting/referencing comply with the style
  • Right a cover letter that is short and personal

Expect things to take a while – 6 months before you get a yay, nay or “maybe”

There are three broad categories

  1. rejection
  2. acceptance with minor corrections (this is RARE)
  3. the editor says “kinda interesting/look at these bits/here are the reviewers’ comments”

The presenter was adamant that if you get c that you should NOT take that as “we’re on the way/we’ve got our foot in the door”  The temptation to therefore drop everything else and resubmit in three weeks is a temptation to be resisted.  The iron is NOT hot, the editor is NOT anxiously awaiting resubmission. Top journals are looking for reasons to turn things down, and it’s a case of not “when to revise and resubmit” but whether you can.

If/when you do resubmit, then mention “I’ve followed reviewer A’s points about… and reviewer B’s… however, I’ve not….”

If the piece is rejected, it is galling, but you have to climb back on the horse, and resubmit to the ‘next best’ journal.  And you know, perhaps look at the reviewers’ comments again. They may, after all, have some valid points…

Meanwhile, a friend who has been through the mill already sent me the following advice a while back –

“Key is start publishing immediately if you can. Base chapters around journal articles. And start getting them sent for peer review at once, its the only way you will ever get a job out of it. Then, when the reviewers comments arrive and start putting you through the ideological sausage machine, your soul will slowly begin to disintegrate.”

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