Getting started

There is no straightforward recipe for getting your work published, as editors’ expectations can be vastly different between and within subject areas.

It’s useful to begin with either something you know a lot about, something you want to know more about, or want to generate some discussion or debate about.

A good way to decide on the journal you want to approach is to read a few different journals to familiarise yourself with the kinds of things they publish.

It sounds simple, but you can get a feel for the types of articles they publish, and if a journal generally publishes articles two pages long then they won’t want to read something that is ten pages long. Therefore, don’t send one that will be too long to start with.

Tip: Familiarise yourself with the journal content and ask for advice from those who have already published.

Once you have decided to write for publication, you need to decide what you want to write about. It’s useful to begin with either something you know a lot about or something you want to know more about or want to generate some discussion or debate about. It’s likely that if you want to know more about something, so will your peers and colleagues and others who influence the profession. If you are a student you may have written a good piece of academic work and as a result you have had some excellent feedback. This may be the beginning of your manuscript.

What's next

Next, you will need to pick a journal for your work to be published. Some good places for those beginning their writing careers to start are journals that publish comments, opinions or letters. A good way to decide on the journal you want to approach is to read a few to familiarise yourself with the kinds of things they publish. It sounds simple, but you can get a feel for the types of articles they publish and if a journal generally publishes articles two pages long then they won’t want to read something that is 10 pages long, don’t send one that will be 15 pages long in print.

Guidance

It is useful to get support and advice from those who have published before. Meet with them and ask them for guidance. It is also worthwhile reading what they have written and consider asking them to co publish with you. It’s a compliment to be asked to co publish with others and often exciting to work alongside someone else. Next, when you think you have chosen the journal you would like to publish in, you might consider putting together a query email to the editor. This lets editors know what you want to write about and how you might want to approach writing about a certain subject. If the editor accepts your idea, it isn’t always guaranteed that your final manuscript will be accepted for publication, but it does increase the chances of success as editors often suggest ideas and offer advice to get you started.