Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Still sick... still writing

Yesterday, added a selection of examples and analysis, culled from the dissertation. Article now totals just under 21,000 words. Youch! Revised and edited the preliminaries today, now amounting to 5850 words. Flow is much better. I think it works. Need to go through the examples and analysis (about 1/3 of the examples from the dissertation), fixing the flow, revising the text, adding citations, cutting if I can, cleaning it all up.

If all goes well, I might be ready to send this thing off by the end of the week. Not sure if I should send an informal inquiry out to the editors of one or another journal, or just submit the whole article. What I don't want is to wait two or three months to hear that they don't think it's the appropriate venue, or some such. But I'd like to have the widest readership, and the biggest bang for my C.V.

The submission guidelines for the top journal in my field doesn't actually say I can't submit it to more than one journal, but somehow that seems bad form. Correct me if I'm wrong. What do you do? Would you write an informal inquiry, or submit to two or three journals at once? It's going to be a good article, I'm convinced of that. The problem is finding the right venue.

I cite material from three or four completely separate disciplines, but I'm not sure the mainstream journals in any of them will consider it sufficiently a part of their domian to print it. Maybe I'm just defeating myself, but expecting the worst makes anything else seem good.

Meantime, I'm still hacking up a lung, and sipping down tea like I've got the whole Boston harbor at my disposal. The car is still at the dealership; they're waiting on just one more part. They estimate we'll have it back by Friday at the latest.


Dr. Mon said...

I believe it is considered bad form to submit to multiple journals at once. I've heard of informal inquiries for book proposals, but not for journal articles--I could just be out of the loop. If your top journal has a call for submissions, I would go ahead and send it there.

It is such a game of chance in picking the right journal with the right reviewers. Another idea--if they have the journal's reviewers listed, you may want to skim the list of see if the people you do cite in the field are on the board--that could be a help since your work covers a number of fields. Good luck and feel better soon!

Ahistoricality said...

Inquiries to multiple journals is one thing; actually sending the manuscript is another. Nothing wrong with asking editors "is this something you'd be interested in?" but once you send the manuscript they start the evaluation process and they hate duplicating other people's efforts.

There are a lot more interdisciplinary journals out there, if you look past the top tier ones. If you get ones with good electronic ties (i.e. inclusion in EpSco or JSTOR), it almost doesn't matter....

ArticulateDad said...

Good comments. I still don't know what I'll do. I have this odd complex about sending an informal inquiry. First off, when I sent my dissertation committee the first 50 then first 100 pages of my dissertation, I was shot down. So... I didn't send them anything more until I had a complete draft. Maybe that's why they were so quiet... they were in shock.

Recently, I sent an informal inquiry to a minor journal in my second field (which by the way requests informal inquiries prior to a submission), where I thought a particular article would be quite appropriate. The response was luke warm, basically, we wouldn't know to whom to send your manuscript for review if you submitted it.

So, I'm afraid if I ask, I'll get just such a response. But maybe, just maybe, if I send them this 20,000 word document (or possibly a 15-18,000 word one, if I can manage to pare it down) they might take me seriously enough to pass it along.

I've got an idea... there's one member of the editorial board of this particular journal whom I know a bit. He was a visiting professor at my doctoral institution a few years back (and I had met him previously when I interviewed to be a grad student on his campus). Maybe I'll send him a copy of the manuscript and ask his opinion of whether it's worth submitting to them. He may say nothing, but it might be worth the chance.

I'm really afraid to send just an abstract. I fear it will be rejected as too off the beaten track. The problem with Mon's suggestion is well... the only people I cite from my primary field are 1) my dissertation chair; 2) two colleagues (friends both) who wrote their dissertations in the last five years on different aspects of the same topic; 3) scholars from the country where I conducted my research; and 4) a scholar (also a friend) from an even smaller, more obscure country whose work is fascinating and relevant.