Friday, September 7, 2007

So am I still waiting

Since the first of the month's come and gone, that must mean it's time to e-mail the journal that's been sitting on my paper for nine months now. I suppose I'm well past the point where I could have any hope it would be on my CV by the time my applications go out.
Dear [Lazy Fucking And/Or Appalling Disorganized Journal],

Remember when I sent you my paper and you replied with an e-mail saying this would take four months? Remember? You might not, because it was way more than four months ago. I'm sort of wondering what the fuck happened to my paper? Can you see it lying around the office somewhere? Is it stuck in a drawer? Maybe you should ask the referees if it slipped down behind all the old copies of the New Yorker they keep beside their toilets for reading during snatched moments of quiet repose. Anyway, I'm going to be trying to get a job in, like, six weeks, so any news about the paper sure would be great.



How's that for a first draft?


Anonymous said...

Here's another:

Dear Czar,

You suck! You know very well that i've been waiting like a fox outside of a hen house to find out if my paper will appear in your journal. Why haven't you responded with some good news! Huh? What? I can't hear you, speak up? The referee said she never received it! What the fuck! You on some bullshit! Excuse me. Okay, okay. Four months? You promise? I'll be waiting asshole. I didn't say anything.

And then you wake up, check your, email, and read:

Dear Ms. Lady,

We receive a large number of quality articles that we cannot publish. We hope that you might read the 22page document that the referee provided, and resubmit, i mean, submit your paper elsewhere. I know you will be fortunate at another less prestigious, third rate journal.

"I'm Rick James.... and tenured"

Anonymous said...

I sympathize, of course. But you should be aware that nine months is *absolutely nothing* compared to how long it can take. It can take more than a year to get a revise and resubmit, and the another year to get another one, and then another to get it rejected. And it matters close to *nothing* how long they say it will take initially. *All* of that is fucked up, of course, I'm just saying that you are only getting started noticing just how fucked up it is.

Anonymous said...

By the way, some journals are much better than other at taking into consideration special cases (like, you are about to come up for tenure, or you are about to go on the market with a PhD from a not-so-good place). Phil. Studies, I think, is pretty good about this.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain.

Pseudonymous Grad Student said...

Anon. #1 -- Hilarious.

Anon. #2 -- I hear you. The journal wiki's given me a brutally clear sense of how long people can wait. The frustrations comes from the journal schedules and job market schedules being very, very out of synch. How do you make yourself look like a more attractive candidate in the last couple of years of grad school if that's not (necessarily) enough time to get a paper or two through the pipeline?

Jon Cogburn said...

One journal kept my article for one year and nine months. When I got up the courage to contact them, they were really rude. Two weeks after that I got unrelentingly hostile comments from the reviewer.

The most important thing to know about journal publishing is that you are going to get idiotic and hostile reviews (read the first paragraph to Book II of Marcus Aurelius' Meditations), and then to use these reviews to your advantage. The way to do this is to think of the rewriting process as idiot-proofing. Before you submit the rejected article to another journal, make sure that the idiots reviewing for that journal can't make the same mistake vis a vis your article that the previous idiots did. I've found that the articles actually do get better. At best it's not just that they have a more scholarly patina due to extra citations and footnotes. At best, they really are clearer and more interesting. So again, always rewrite if only to idiot proof before sending out again.

The second most important piece of advice is that if you are truly idiot proofing your articles, then it's just a numbers game. If you get enough things out there and keep resubmitting rejected things, your will get a revise and resubmit, and then an acceptance. My magic number is six. For some reason, when I have six things out there I always get an acceptance within a couple of months.

All this stuff is emotionally hard, because so much rides on it and because our writings are a part of us. Not being fortunate enough to be what Bush refers to as "a person of faith," (I don't think Unitarians count for those guys) I can't dress myself up in the armor of faith. So instead, I dress myself in the armor of ROCK. Whenever I start to get sick to my stomach because of some reviewer or editor's cruelty, and the sickness begins to lead to paralyzing writer's block, I listen to AC/DC (both Scott and Johnson eras) and ask myself "What Would Angus Do?" Clearly, Angus would just rock out. That's what Angus does. He rocks for our sins. This being said, when it comes to channeling the power of pure ROCK in the service of Lady Philosophy, I'm ecumenical. Some days it's Iggy Pop instead of Angus. I don't think the elder gods of the rock and roll pantheon mind, for as Gene Simmons says to young Tommy in astoundingly bad Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park (surpassed by nothing in new age craptitude), "We all have our amulets Tommy, some of us just haven't found them yet."

Rachel said...

Dear anon 1,

Please marry me. I am a final year (ha!) PhD student with all my own teeth. Well, mostly.

Yours hopefully,


Anonymous said...

don't you guys get it ? there's no such thing as a blind review. They are all biased against me.