Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Getting Published

I recently had two pieces picked up by law reviews. One is a criminal piece. The other is a trade law piece. Here's what I wish I knew before I had taken this journey.

I come from the Gen-Y group who has this burning desire to make their mark. Because being a Hollywood actor or a GQ model wasn't in my line of sight, I had to chose writing as a way to do it. Even as a college student, I remember asking my English professors if it was hard to get published. They looked at me like I was dumb for asking. They had that look that expressed, of course it is sonny-boy. You think you can be like a hot shot like one of us. They were always a bunch of elitists anyways.

Is it that hard to get published?

Yes, and no. It's like riding a bicycle - I think. It's hard at first to get published, but after your first one, you know what you need to do. I think it may be easier now to get published because of the internet. But in some ways, it's also harder.

The internet has allowed you to get your work out to more people, more quickly. But, now publishers have more pieces to pick from. In other words, competition has gone up.

In short, it's not that hard, but it is a lot of hard work.

How do you get published?

Journals and publishers are not people. Corporations are not people. Companies are not people. Neither are universities. But people run all these organizations. You're going to have to convince a person or people that your piece is worthwhile.

Doing that, is liking getting a job. There are multiple barriers and multiple perspectives. Like a cover letter and a resume, you only have a few seconds to catch the attention of the reviewer.

Same thing with publishing. You have to have a good cover letter, good title, and good intro to move past the first review. If you get passed those checkpoints, then you have to have a good conclusion. Reviewers will jump next to the conclusion. Then that reviewer may read the whole piece. If s/he finds it interesting, then it goes to other people. So you see, there are a lot of barriers.

How do you make things interesting?

Marketing is a must, but it comes second. What comes first is your interest and your passion. It's hard enough to devote time, energy, and resources to any piece. Therefore, you might as well pick something you're going to enjoy - or otherwise the consequences of burning out are likely to result. Second, you have to market.

How do you make things marketable?

Having substance is a good start. To determine if it does, send it to some people who are experts in the field. Have them comment on it, you'll soon find out what needs to happen.

Remember, my comment about hard work. This is where it is hard work. With feedback you have to revise and revise. After the revisions, then you work towards making it marketable.

I do this by looking to have a catchy introduction and title. For instance, one of my pieces looks at the nature of sexual abuse against male juveniles in detention centers. The other piece explores how the WTO's Trade Law could punish the Chinese for their Child Labor Violations. My last piece looks at how the butterfly effect operates in the laws of war. Did you know that Middle Eastern terrorism responses could trigger nuclear warfare in East Asia?

You see the point. Be interesting.

How do you get into a top journal?

Sadly, at this point I don't know. But, I'll let you know if a top journal picks up my work.

What's your next piece?

I've already been getting a lot of damnation for my next piece. It's controversial, no doubt. But, I'd like to write on how the enactment of the early Nazi Nuremberg Laws parallel Californian police misconduct practices against undocumented workers. My working title is "THE EMERGENCE OF FASCISM DUE PROCESS IN CALIFORNIAN LAW ENFORCEMENT."

That's all I got for now.


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