The first step to publication in an academic journal is deciding which journal is the best fit for your article. A bit of research about prospective publishers will save you a lot of work in the long term and will actually improve the chances of your article being accepted for publication. If you send your article to a journal editor who you know is looking for material just like it, the chances are that it will be accepted a lot quicker than if you had sent it to randomly selected journals in your field. But how do you know what journal editors are looking for?
The most obvious way is to write directly to them. Editors’ names and email addresses can usually be found on the journal’s website.
When writing to an editor, you should bear in mind that many editors are volunteers, often juggling an academic workload with the demands of running a journal. It is therefore advisable to be polite and succinct in your approach. Be aware that editors can receive many emails like yours in a single day, so try to stand out from the crowd. Here are some pointers for doing so:
- One of the best ways to stand out is to ensure that your email has been edited and that it is written in clear, concise and formal English.
- Begin by directly mentioning the editor’s name—‘Dear Dr Smith’—and introduce yourself: ‘I am a postgraduate student in business studies at RMIT’.
- Let the editor know that you are a reader of their journal and that you are aware that they have published a number of important articles on your topic, for example, on ‘nursing practices in palliative care’, in the past. The more specific you can be here, the better.
- Briefly introduce your article, providing its title and a single sentence synopsis of its importance to the field.
- Enquire as to whether this is something that the editor might be interested in considering for publication.
- Thank the editor for his or her time and sign off, simply and formally, using, for example, ‘kind regards’ or simply ‘regards’.
- Avoid the use of flowery language, such as ‘esteemed journal’ or ‘exulted editor’. Keep your words as simple and clear as you can.
- Paste a short (250 word) abstract of your article below the body of your email, alerting the editor to the fact that you have done so in a brief aside, for example: ‘I am writing to ask whether you might consider my article “The Effects of Parenting on Early Childhood Learning” (see abstract pasted below) for publication in your journal.’ An editor is more likely to read an abstract that is part of an email than an attachment they have to open.
- Remember, Elite Editing is always here to edit a draft of your email should you require.
Writing to the editor is a win–win approach. If they agree to consider your article, you have already familiarised them with it—and you—just by writing to them, so your work will stand out from the rest of the pile under consideration. However, even if the editor indicates that he or she is not interested in your work, you have saved yourself the trouble of formatting the document and references to the house style. Whatever the outcome, writing to editors about publication in their journal is a best first step towards publication. Get writing today!
Emily Finlay, PhD, AE (IPeD)