Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition

These materials were collected for a presentation to the English Graduate Organization at Old Dominion University on 09/24/15.

Developing Publishable Essays

  • Seminar papers –> Conference presentations –>
  • Substantial article-length essays
    • Engage broader scholarly conversations (taking place in field and specific journal)
    • Take a significant turn in those conversations, making an argument that contributes something new or original
    • Remember when discussing others’ work: they may be the people who serve as your reviewers (perhaps also reflect on your own sense of ethics re: how you want to relate to the ideas of others)

Identifying & Deciding on Journals

  • Notice which journals are assigned in seminars related to your interests
  • Identify the major scholars publishing on your interests and consider which journals they are publishing in and citing
  • Consult published lists of journals in your own field (e.g., “Journals in Rhetoric and Composition” by the Council of WPAs or “Journals in Rhetoric” from Stanford)
  • Strategize re: timing and status of journal, relative to your own scholarly and professional goals
  • Consider the specific types of opportunities you hope the publication will open up for you
  • Read the journal’s specific publication guidelines (such as these by CCC)

Submitting Essays to Refereed Journals

  • Review the publication guidelines again
  • Attend to any issues that could pose a problem for “blind” review
  • Adjust citation style if needed
  • Develop a cover letter to submit with your essay (email me if you’d like to see an example, which I’m happy to share one-to-one if you won’t circulate it anywhere else)
  • Make a plan B, for what you’ll do if essay is not accepted

Responding to “Revise & Resubmit”

  • Respond to editor in a timely manner
  • Plan well in advance for meeting the deadline
  • Read the reviews and editor’s comments, and then try to set them aside for a day or two
  • Reread the above, making a chart to plan your revisions process. Include every comment from each reviewer and the editor, grouping like comments together; translate each suggestion into your own words, making sure you understand it; plan for what you’ll do to address each suggestion; note the specific page numbers where you’ll make each change (same as above, if you’d like to see an example)
  • Use the chart to write a new cover letter in which you detail how you addressed each reviewer and the editor’s feedback (same as above, if you’d like to see an example)
  • ALWAYS revise and resubmit when given the opportunity to do so!

Learning More about Publishing

The Peer Review Process

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success

Publishing Issues on The Professor Is In blog

The Really Obvious (but All-Too-Often-Ignored) Guide to Getting Published

How to get published in an academic journal: top tips from editors

How Grad Students and Junior Professors Can Publish, Not Perish


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