April 03, 2012

Guest Post: Emerald Author’s Workshop at Warwick – Guide to Getting Published

On 29th March 2012 we invited publisher Emerald to present their ‘Guide to Getting Published’ at the Research Exchange. Many thanks to Sharon Parkinson for her very informative presentation; I wanted to share some of the best tips and advice to come out of the session…

Advice on getting published in journals:

1) Pick the right journal: This might seem obvious, but it was interesting to hear that the majority of rejections made by journal publishers were still due to the article being submitted to an inappropriate journal. You will need to:

  • Consider who you research audience is, what they want to know, and what they are reading.
  • Read at least one issue of a journal before you choose to submit work for it.
  • Make sure you consider usage rates as well as journal rankings (which you are more interested in will depend on your motivations for publishing and what you hope to achieve with your work). Emerald suggested most editors would be happy to provide you with usage/download rates for a journal.

2) Send the editor an abstract: This is a great way to avoid problem 1. If you have done your research, but are still unsure if your paper is right for the journal, send an abstract to the editor asking for their opinion on its suitability. Check the author’s guidelines for the publisher you’re contacting to make sure your abstract fits their specifications. (Emerald’s can be found here: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/authors/guides/write/abstracts.htm)

3) Treat it like a job application: I’m not a fan of analogies, but this one seemed too apt to ignore. Much like you would tailor your CV to each position, Emerald emphasised the importance of tailoring your submission carefully to suit the journal/publisher you are approaching. You can also include a cover letter which, like a job application, should focus very clearly on what your paper has to offer to the journal and its readership, rather than on the benefits for yourself.

4) Get your own peer review: Don’t underestimate the value of getting an objective view; someone who isn’t close to your work will find it much easier to critically appraise it. From a personal perspective, I’ve always thought it useful to have someone outside of your field read your work; they tend to be able to spot jumps in your logic very easily.

5) Don’t give up: Getting a paper rejected is very common and shouldn’t deter you. Get feedback from the editor, work on their points and resubmit elsewhere. Also, requests for revisions can be seen as a very positive step – if a publisher has taken the time to do this, then they have obviously seen potential in your work, so don’t give up at this stage.

Advice on getting books published:

1) Make it travel: Obviously the key difference from publishing in journals is that a book must have considerable commercial appeal. Therefore, it needs to be of interest to and accessible by a wide audience: know your market and make sure your work has reach.

2) Attend a publishers’ conference: Emerald were clear that if you want your book commissioned, conferences are the place to be. You can contact a publisher in advance to book an appointment with a commissioning editor at the conference. Arrive prepared – you should complete a detailed proposal form and be ready to answer the publisher’s queries.

3) Keep track of time: You need to be aware of the time constraints that apply to book publishing. Since the publishers will need to promote the book and publicise its release date, you can’t afford to fall behind. Make sure you discuss targets and timescales carefully with the editor and any other involved authors at an early stage.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Charlotte Mathieson

    The journal advice is very useful and timely info – I’ve just linked to this on our most recent “Ask a Librarian” post on Researcher Life http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/researcherlife/entry/ask_a_librarian_1/

    03 Apr 2012, 12:42

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