aims to build the ACW community by sharing the experiences of academic writers.
The first question you should ask yourself, your peers, colleagues, and mentors who know your work well is "how do I and can I advance my career?" What type of scholar do you see yourself becoming? Imagine you are reflecting on your career ten years from now. In what type of publications, in what kind of journals, do you see yourself creating an academic presence? In addition to your personal “brand,” how do you want to promote your department and your school?
With a dissertation, you are proving yourself to your committee. You are establishing that you have explored all the relevant literature in your area, that you have considered all appropriate methodologies, and that you fully understand your field. While this material was important for your dissertation, much of the material is now irrelevant in a journal article.
Comb through your dissertation, and decide how many possible articles you can pull from it. Establish a priority list for your publications, in terms of how you want to position yourself in the field. Consider all the possible fields of study relevant to your work. Create a list of up to five fields of research that have common characteristics with your proposed articles. Then, using on-line resources, as well as reference librarians and other professionals, look for two or three journals in each of the five related fields.
Refine your list of possible journals according to your career goals. Do you need to publish in a very competitive journal with a peer-reviewed, double-blind process, with a high submission/acceptance ratio? Or would a less competitive journal serve your needs? Is the theoretical or conceptual framework of the journal aligned with your proposed article? Does the journal have a long or short turnaround time for publications? How does this relate to your career needs?
Create a bullet point list of the facts, findings, methods, and details of the manuscript. Each bullet point should be concise and include only the information necessary for readers of that journal. Remember that the average review readers of your proposed journal will be well versed in many of the areas you covered in your dissertation and will not need the extraneous details that were necessary in your dissertation.
From your bullet points, develop an outline and first draft of your manuscript. Locate and become familiar with the author guidelines of your proposed journal. Draft a letter of submission and of any needed permissions. Make sure you have complete citations. Prior to your submission, request that a few peers give you their input on the manuscript.
Recognize that submissions to journals are rarely accepted on the first attempt. Most authors are expected to make revisions. As you examine the reviewers’ comments, if any are contradictory, consider contacting the editor for feedback. Recognize and honor deadlines. If your submission is rejected, submit it as soon as possible to one of the other journals on your list. Do not submit the same submission to different journals at the same time.
Be persistent and patient!
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