Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rejection as a Challenge

If you submit articles for publication, they will be rejected. Notice I said that  they (your articles) will be rejected, not you. You are not your articles, even though when you receive a rejection email or letter you may have a hard time believing this.

One of the most valuable skills, or perhaps personal attributes, you can cultivate is to see rejections as challenges.  This will help you persevere.

When I receive a rejection letter (not a revise/resubmit), I give myself two weeks to get it back out the door. I try to absorb the suggestions for a few days, and then make changes prior to resubmitting. If I am too busy to make changes, I send the article out again with no changes. I know this goes against popular convention, but I believe that the review process is so idiosyncratic that suggestions I receive from one editor (or reviewers of that journal) may be diametrically opposed to feedback I will receive from another journal. The two week rules compels you to assess feedback, make quick changes,  and take another shot at it. Otherwise, the article may remain un-submitted for months at a time, the same amount of time it takes to get another review. The next journal just might love it. I had an article rejected four times, and an the fifth time, it was accepted with no revisions- that nearly never happens (at least not to me, I always have to make some changes)

Of course, if you decide after careful consideration of the original feedback that your article is flawed, you will need to do one of two things.

1) Fix it
2) Find someone else to do it.

This is the advantage of working with co-authors, and adding other authors at this stage of the process.

Whatever you decide, do not sit on articles for very long.

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