Friday, March 27, 2009

Paper Chase

I got up extra-early today to try to catch up on my e-mails. So what am I doing right now? Blogging, of course!

It's been one of those weeks where I've been dashing from meeting to meeting with hardly the time to assimilate the results into my To Do List. So when am I supposed to DO all these things, if I'm spending all my time in meetings?

Okay, enough whining.

I did accomplish one thing this week: polishing up a paper I wrote about a year ago in Law & Literature, and sending it into the ether to see if any journals want to publish it. I am so proud of my topic, and still pinching myself that no one has yet written anything in the legal journals about it. To me the connection between an important criminal law case and a prize-winning contemporary novel was incredibly interesting and fruitful, and the professor seemed to think the resulting paper was that good. Maybe there aren't that many lawyers or law professors out there who read contemporary literature, and then want to write about it!

The submission process is accomplished--theoretically anyway--with a click or two of the mouse at a website specifically for that purpose. Using the website, I can send my article simultaneously to hundreds of journals. But of course before I am ready to do that I must also (obsessively) revise the article's phrasing and footnotes, write an abstract, create a tailored c.v., and compose a stunning cover letter. Whew! It all went out yesterday.

Now all I have to do is wait for the rejections to come pouring in. This is the first time I've sent out anything unsolicited, so I know there will be many. My frequently-published colleagues tell me it's depressing to have a string of "No, thanks" e-mails just at the point when you've worked so hard to create something wonderful.

Any advice from the brave and creative out there?


  1. That is awesome. I've never submitted a literary work anywhere, so I can give no advice. But I think it's great that you did and you deserve kudos for putting yourself out there. Good luck!

  2. I have no experience personally, but my understanding is something along the lines of slog onward endlessly and with whatever confidence you can muster...remembering that some fool turned down Harry Potter too....

  3. Chiming in here at some risk (based on recent events), but nothing beats "A Confederacy of Dunces" for saddest saga of rejection. It goes like this: unknown author can't convince anyone to read his manuscript, much less publish it, commits suicide in despair, elderly mother takes up fight on behalf of son, gets small university press years after his death to crank out under 1,000 copies (with some help from Walker Percy), and book wins fiction Pulitzer Prize for author posthumously. It's the only book that's ever made me laugh out loud and, over the years, is probably the book I've recommended most often, with Hall of Fame jockette Julie Krone counted among the many disciples.

    I've read J.G.'s paper and can flat-out state it's a winner.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, y'all. Knowing the first part of the process always includes lots of rejections makes it a little easier to endure them. :-)


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