Getting Professionally Published

Blogging the 2014 AECT International Convention.

Presenter: Donovan Walling

His latest book: Designing Learning for Tablet Classrooms

Understanding the publishing process is the key to getting published WHEN and WHERE you want to be published.

The Idea

  • Publishing is a futures game – you want to know what is going to be of interest and salable 1-2 years down the road. It’s going to take 1-2 years to get published.
  • Think about new topics; current topics; and enduring

Information Gathering

  • Expertise – what experience do you bring to the project? What education do you bring to the project? What credibility do you bring to the project? What do you bring to the table as an author? What can you write about from your personal knowledge base?
  • Interests – how does your vocation contribute to the project? What are you really interested in?
  • Market research – what is the marketplace for your project? Know the journals in your field. Those journals are your specific journals. What specific market best suits your project? Does your project match the market? Most journals have a set focus. Find where you fit in. Don’t try to plow new ground. Read the journals. Read a book or two from the publisher you’re aiming for. What type of writing style and scope does this publisher look for? This may change over time, so look at recent editions. What will the market accept? Tailor your efforts to what looks like that market.

Four Trends in Publishing

  • Accessibility. How to get information out quickly. Abstracts. Keywords. Epublishing. Anthologies.
  • Personalization. Writing used to be more impersonal; but now we want a face and anecdotes.
  • Distillation. Be succinct, focused, concise.
  • Find the niche that fits your project.

Emerging trends

  • Book as presenter/instructor support. If you aren’t prepared to hawk your own book, they don’t want you to publish.
  • Buying E-Content: buying a chapter, an article, a piece, a section. If people can buy a piece of the work, that changes how the work is structured. i.e. chapters may need an abstract and keywords.


If you do your research, you should know whether you will be published or not. Find out what the editor really wants.

  • Article for a general issue of a journal – no, don’t query
  • Article for a themed journal issue – maybe
  • Article for an anthology or encyclopedia – yes
  • Book idea – yes – that’s the only way to get in for a book
    • Book proposal: introduction, follow their template, synopsis of the proposed book, annotated outline, sample chapter – usually not chapter 1

Submission Basics

  • Follow publisher guidelines, read them carefully and double check
  • Most academic journals do not have professional staff; someone is doing it on the side to their regular work.
  • You can always withdraw a piece of the journal accepts it but doesn’t get around to actually publishing it.
  • Be a partner with the editor – suggest reviewers; respond thoughtfully to critiques, revise as they ask, proofread carefully.

Post Publication

  • Afterwards, there may be reviewers for a Book Review, etc.
  • Where possible, link speaking and consulting to the publication; conference sessions, etc.
  • Extend through electronic networking, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Respond to your readers; engage in conversations around the work

Additional digital options: Electronic only; open source; self-publishing; website; blogging; be careful of vanity press concept

Think carefully why you want to be published…

His resources and PowerPoint are online at his site under Resources.

Leave a Reply