Mining the Slush

As authors, slush piles comes with the territory. We all have written things that are just okay. They may be well written and edited, but do not fulfill our expectations. So, we leave them. One day, we will know what they need. One day, we will let them see the light.

The problem with this thinking is that epiphanies are something we can’t count on. When we are stuck in a piece we meant to publish we often stay stuck. Rather than waiting for inspiration, we may save our pieces by relentlessly going through with the plan for publication. As most journals or publishers have specifics in calls for submission, we may find what our story needs along the way. Additionally, call for submissions may differ slightly journal to journal, allowing us to modify pieces for other publishing opportunities. To demonstrate this, I will walk you through my publication plan for an article I had hidden in the drawer.

This publication plan describes how I will prepare my edited manuscript, The Apocalypse Mythos in the Transformers: A Narrative Analysis, for publication in a scholarly journal. Having identified three journals of film studies that especially align with the material in my manuscript, this publication plan will detail each journal’s requirements and how I will revise my manuscript accordingly. Categorized by journal, this short-range action plan provides an overview of the publication, its submission criteria, and the relevant actions I will take in order to revise my manuscript.

Film Matters
•Scope: Film Matters, published by Intellect, is a peer-reviewed journal featuring undergraduate submissions that are geared toward an undergraduate audience. Research papers are a major focus of this journal. This magazine would be of special interest to those students considering further studies in film.
•Requirements: Film Matters accepts manuscripts between 2000 to 4000 words. Papers on film theory or criticism are accepted.
•Alignments: I prioritized this journal as it is currently having a “call for submissions” for any research papers centering on film that presents a clear argument. I find this status encouraging, alongside the fact that the journal publishes undergraduate coursework. The deadline for submission is February, 2014.
•Revision Plan
• In order to present a strong and coherent argument, I decided to narrow the focus of my paper. Rather than describe the roots of the franchise as a line of toys, I started only with the films. I also edited out the information about the franchise as a transcultural product. I focused on the characters and setting of the film, which could be accompanied by screenshots. Film Matters preferences such essays that could easily have visual components.
• I provided more background on the Transformers franchise, namely the films, in order to better orientate my readers to the topic of my paper. I believe an overview was necessary to establish a strong basis of my paper and create a foundation for the later assertions I would make in the paper.
• I edited my paper in order to heighten the clarity of my argument. I made my statements more direct and made sure my evidence was presented efficiently and supported my claims.
• I enhanced the readability of my paper by paying special attention to the manuscript’s organization. I re-organized the sections of my paper and provided stronger transitional sentences.

Journal of Popular Culture
•Scope: The Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal that accepts manuscripts focusing on subjects that pertain to popular culture rather than high culture, which is arguably more exclusive.
•Requirements: The Journal of Popular Culture accepts manuscripts between fifteen and twenty-five pages.
•Alignments: I feel as if this publication would be willing to accept my manuscript as it focuses on an internationally popular blockbuster film series and is thus an example of popular culture. Because the Transformers franchise began as a popular toy line, the characters may be seen as cultural artifacts.
•Revision Plan
• Increase page length by five pages to meet the minimum fifteen page requirement. To reach this end, I will provide more background on the franchise as a toy line, TV show, and films in order to demonstrate how it can be considered a cultural artifact.
• In order to further establish the relevancy of the Transformers franchise as an element of contemporary, popular culture, I will focus on the new installment to this film series, due in summer 2014. I will enhance the focus by increasing the information in this section with updated information regarding the film and its popular actors.

Film and History
•Scope: The Film and History Journal is an academic journal focusing on the relationship between film and history. Established since 1970, it is a journal that boasts its affordability, claiming that even small libraries can afford it.
•Requirements: The Film and History Journal accepts manuscripts with word counts of 4000 to 7000. Primarily, this journal is interested in the interconnectedness between history and film. Examples include papers regarding film renderings of history or culture or film as a product of these elements.
•Alignments: I feel as if this publication would be willing to accept my manuscript as it focuses on an internationally popular blockbuster film series and is thus an example of popular culture. Because the Transformers franchise began as a popular toy line, the characters may be seen as cultural artifacts.
•Revision Plan
• Increase word count by 1000 in order to meet the minimum 4000 word requirement.
• In order to further establish the historical relevancy of the Transformers franchise, I will need to expand on its beginnings as a product of robot culture in Japan.
• After I establish the franchise’s origins, I will provide a richer explanation of the franchise’s role in American history. As a widely popular franchise, I will write an extensive background of American’s history with the characters and story.

By composing my publishing plan, I now have a clear outline that will serve me as I prepare my manuscript for submission. Arranged in order of preference, I will first try to have my manuscript published in Film Matters. If rejected, I will revise my manuscript of hopes of having it published within The Journal of Popular Culture or Film and History. Approaching every journal with executable actions for revision, I expect to submit a strong candidate for publication. I expect this publication plan to serve as a step-by-step action plan as I work toward my goal of publication.

There we are, folks! A publishing plan is a great tool to use when trying to keep on schedule.