Let’s say you’re a graduate student in your second year. You have conducted research as part of a class and written a paper. You begin to wonder what your next steps might be for getting your hard-won work “out there.”
“When it comes to publication, the key is to be ready. You don’t want to rush publication. What you’re trying to do with your research will suffer if it’s not ready and you could get some feedback that could be spiritually crushing.
The way is usually works is: You have a topic, you write about it for a seminar. Perhaps it’s a thesis chapter. If you think it’s strong enough, you should give it as a conference presentation…I would suggest a low-stakes conference. If you get good feedback there, start preparing it for publication. Not everyone goes that cycle, but that’s the best way to do it.
I would encourage MA students not to even begin this process until after they’ve passed their exams and are dedicated to writing. We have courses you have to take for a reason – don’t rush through them, don’t be distracted with conferences and things. There will be time for that. On the other hand, if you can publish something or have something in the works before you get your MA degree, that will put you a step ahead of the other writers once you get to the PhD level.”
Think you might be ready? These steps should get you moving in the right direction:
- Revise, revise, revise. Make sure your work is ready for primetime. Get feedback from as many faculty and fellow graduate students as you can.
- Present at a conference. Professional presentations are a great way to receive valuable criticism for your paper. Participants may have suggestions to strengthen your article. You also might meet editors of various journals who will talk to you about publishing opportunities.
- Decide which journal to send your manuscript to. Read their qualifications and statements of scope carefully. Make sure you are not sending materials to a journal when your topic is irrelevant to the topics they cover.
- Make sure you meet the journal’s requirements. Most journals will give you instructions as to margins, spacing, and footnotes. Make sure to follow these carefully.
- Wait…wait…and wait some more. It can take months to be published in a journal. Your article must be peer-reviewed and copy edited. Make sure you respond to inquiries promptly and make suggested edits with expediency.
Though it may be a long wait, it is a great feeling to share your research with colleagues and fellow researchers in the field. If you feel that you and your work are ready for publication, this might be a great opportunity for you to share and get feedback on your work.
Have you submitted an article to a journal? Let us know your experience with the process and what tips you have for others!