Some Sherlockians out there will, at some point, try their hand at an article destined for one of the many society journals. So how likely are you to be successful?
This depends on many things of which your talent as a writer is but one. In my experience, your chances depend on the following:
- The journal you choose
There are many societies out there and most produce some kind of periodical. In my humble opinion, the two most influential are The Sherlock Holmes Journal and The Baker Street Journal. These are the periodicals of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and The Baker Street Irregulars respectively.
As two of the most read journals these are the ones that many people aim for. However this also means that you face much stiffer competition.
- The topic you choose
The subject of your article directly affects its chances of publication. Many journal editors have a backlog of material for their consideration (which might be enough to last them for years) but you could jump the queue if your article is topical. If, on the other hand, your topic is either well trodden or very niche you may struggle (unless it really appeals to the editor).
- Your talent as a writer
The editors of journals do not have the time to sort out your errors - be they spelling, grammar or factual. Make sure your article is as good as it can be before you submit it. Prepare yourself for the fact that it may get cut about a bit and don’t take it personally if this happens. If your article includes images be sure to supply them separately to the text and provide details as to where they should go in the article. The editor may re-source the images or use different ones. Again, don’t be upset by this. They may know an image to be subject to copyright where you did not, for example.
Try and make sure that you cite everything correctly. Use end notes and make sure you list any books etc that you referenced as accurately as possible. An editor is more likely to look favourably on what you have done if you leave them little work to do. The more effort required on their part the greater the risk you run of not making the cut.
Once your article has been accepted make sure you don’t submit it anywhere else or post it on the Internet without that journal’s agreement. If they have taken it on they have a right to expect exclusivity. If you desire to submit to more than one location at least make sure the journals/editors concerned are happy with that.
So what should you do?
Write the article you want to write but also pay attention to the hot topics going on in the Sherlockian world. Submit your article to the journal of your choice and wait for feedback. Give it a few weeks before you chase. On no account submit to more than one journal. One reason for this has already been stated but another is that you run the risk of being published in more than one place and with this comes the risk of overlap as many Sherlockians read more than one international journal.
If your article impresses you may even find yourself asked to produce something specifically for a journal at a future date.
For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .
The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK, Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.
Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.