Tips For Getting Published?

crazyliblady writes "I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get published in journals for several months now. Both journals I tried to published in told me my writing was not "groundbreaking." I agree that is not the most exciting topic, but it is interesting and important. I read the "instructions for authors" section for the first journal where I sent my article. It did not have very specific about what types of articles they published, so I looked at older issues. It had some articles published along these lines, but nothing I would consider "groundbreaking." I even contacted the editor by email with a description of the article before sending it. The editor indicated she liked the idea and forwarded it to the column editor, who indicated she also liked it and told me to send it in. I did send it in, but was told it was not right. If journal publishers have specific requirements on subject matter, why is that not stated in the "instructions for authors."

I would like to suggest a discussion topic for strategies in getting published in journals."


Not sure this will help your specific problem, which may be more a case of miscommunication with editors, but take a look at this piece I wrote for Ex Libris a few years back - titled "What Works for Me: 10 Tips for Getting Published." You will find Part I at: (Part II appeared the next week.Matching your work to the interests of the journal is critical. So contacting the editor by email is a smart move. I'm not sure where things went wrong. But lots of folks have trouble developing good ideas, and some of my tips address that. I hope this helps you and others that seek to publish.

I was a librarian, and now am a professor at Syracuse, so writing is now a significant portion of my job.

I wrote a piece recently for ITAL about getting published, and it's got a lot of my tips in it. You can find it at .

As I read your comment, I had a few thoughts:

1 - Don't despair. Take the comments provided, change the article, and submit it somewhere else. I had one article that was rejected at 4 different places before it finally found a home. Each time, I improved the article based upon the comments of the review. This takes time - years in this case. The process is slow.

2 - Ground your work in the work of others. Most of science is about taking small steps forward. You look at what others have done and base your presentation in that work of others. I don't know how much literature review you did before starting, but it's important for you to tell the reader:
"Here's what's been done before, and here's how what I've done adds to it." This makes the importance of the research more obvious.

3 - Submit it to the journal that you most frequently cited in the article. Again, you are putting one brick on the wall of knowledge, and you are building that brick on top of bricks already there. Publishers like to publish articles that build on their own work.

One common problem in library writing is that too many authors present a single case study (from their own library) without tying it to what others have written that's similar and without making generalizations about how their work helps us understand a larger phenomenon (i.e., generalization). If we use my analogy of building a wall, this means that you are building a brick, but then just throwing it in the general direction of the field. Instead, you need to build your brick into the wall by presenting how it connects to the past, and where it can lead in the future.