English 357: Literary Editing and Publishing

Instructor: Bryan Fry
Office: Avery 371
Office Hours: MWF 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Procedure for Handling Submissions Assignment
Assignment: Every journal has a procedure that helps editors keep track of submissions as well as establish positive and professional communication with their writers. Your goal in this assignment is to create a procedure for handling submissions in a timely manner.
Format: There is no format for this assignment, but you should choose a style that works best for your editorial group. You might create a checklist or an outline.
Group Effort: Typically one person keeps track of all submissions; however, the individual handling tasks are often split up among the group. As you create your handling procedure, you should also consider who will complete each task.

Due Date: You should include your submission procedure somewhere in your long report, due on December 12. You can also add materials (acceptance, rejection letters, etc.) to your final presentation, if you wish.  


Steps to include in your procedure:

Limiting the Flow: You can limit the amount of submissions you read by using your submission guidelines to set up a simple editorial policy. You should consider genre, format, and space limitations when setting up your policy.
Keeping Records and Statistics: It is always helpful to keep track of submissions in a spreadsheet as well as record the number of submissions you receive within a given period. This will help prevent the editorial sin of losing a submission. You can also use your records as a marketing tool. If you only publish 2% of the submissions you receive, let your readers know!!
Acknowledgement: You most likely don’t have time for this step, but some journals have a letter that acknowledges the receipt of a manuscript. This helps relieve the author’s mind and it could prevent him or her from “harassing” you. These letters are typically short. Editors acknowledge receipt of manuscript, ensure the writer that they will read and respond the submissions as soon as possible, and ask for patience as submissions are typically read and discussed by several members of the editorial staff.
Assignment and Distribution: You should set a standard policy for each submission. I suggest that you distribute submissions in batches of 3-5 and think about how many readers you want to require per batch. Most journals design a distribution form to accompany submissions. These forms contain simple categories (Yes, No, and Maybe) and include a place for comments (example).
Editorial meetings: You should meet regularly to discuss submissions. At least consider how a submission might make it up the ranks.
Rejection Letter: You should create a rejection letter that is simple yet thoughtful (example).
Transmittal of Acceptance, pending revision: You may wish to create a simple template for submissions you would accept with simple revision (example).
Acceptance Letter: Congratulate the author; ask if work is still available; request that the document be sent in a particular format; request a bio, a statement, and/or an answer to a standard question (example).
Copy Edit with a Style Sheet: At some point you will want to edit your submissions for style and correctness. It is best to have several editors “proof” submissions. Create a style sheet to standardize format and help correct common errors (style sheet: example 1; example 2).
Writer Proofs: Before publication, you should send a copy of the manuscript to the writer asking them to review the final draft.
Follow-up (contributer email): Once your issue is published you should inform the writer. Mention that copies are limited but s/he will receive a copy in the spring of 2010. WSU students can pick up their copies in Avery 371. All other students can pick up their copies from their creative writing professor (example of a contributer "follow-up" email).   
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