Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Choosing a Peer-Reviewed Journal in Which to Publish

As an assistant professor I need to publish in order to qualify for tenure.  Recently I resurrected a graduate student paper I had written for a History of Reading class I once took at the University of Iowa's School of Library and Information Science (SLIS).  Essentially, the paper uses Louis H. Sullivan's Autobiography of an Idea as a primary source, citing references to his personal readings that contributed to his aesthetic and artistic philosophy. 

After revising this paper a bit, I had intended to submit this article to a certain regional, peer-reviewed journal.  My supervisor advised me to publish in a national journal instead.  "What's the worst that can happen?  They say 'no.'"  This makes sense, so now I am starting to think of national journals in which I can submit my manuscript. 

First, I thought to ask my former professor (the one who taught the History of Reading class).  She has responded, saying that she remembers my paper even from the first time I had written it.  Due to her busy schedule she may not be able to look at if for two to three weeks, but this would still be great to get some feedback from her.

Second, I thought to look at Writer's Market, thinking that it would give some suggestions on where I might be able to publish.  Unfortunately, this is not the right tool.  If a writer want to make money writing, then this is the correct tool, because it focuses how much specific magazines pay for accepted submissions.  A writer can also identify the various markets available for publishing: Animal, Aviation, Business, Health and Fitness, Humor, Juvenile, Photography, Sports, and many more.  The book includes sections on promoting your work, managing your work, and finding work with short essays on "Feature Article Writing," "Contract Negotiation," and "The Art of Promoting," just to name a few.

As a blogger, the essay titled "Blogging Basics: Get the Most Out of Your Blog" naturally caught my eye (I believe he is the main editor for Writer's Market as well).  Robert Lee Brewer gives some great tips.  It was gratifying to see that I had actually followed one recommendation without even knowing it: "Use your name in your URL."  (Searching his name in a search engine will bring up his two main blogs.  He writes the blog titled My Name is Not Bob, while it does not have his real name in the blog title, it is the URL.)  He says: "This will make it easier for search engines to find you when your audience eventually starts seeking you out by name."  While I have not put my name in the title of my blog, I did update the description by adding my name and trying to be a bit more welcoming.  I used to say the readers should remember to keep copyright laws and maintain civility, that I have the right to delete comments.  While I still support these ideas, they did not seem very inviting or welcoming.

Anyway, I digress.  My supervisor recommended using Ulrichs Periodical Directory, aka Ulrichs Web.  In reality I looked up Ulrichs Web before looking at Writer's Market, but it did not seem to be as promising.  The results list were quite lengthy.  True, it tells you the names of many periodicals and if they are peer reviewed or not.  It even gives a basic description of the title, what kinds of articles they publish and for which audience.  I believe I searched with the terms "history" and "reading."  Perhaps I should go back and try a few different searches to see what I get.

A fourth option: open some scholarly databases and search using keywords related to my topic to see in which journals they are found.  Looks like I have some work to do.

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