Saturday, April 14, 2012

Publishing, Awards, Conferences: The Undergraduate Perspective

I'd like to think that at my current stage in life I'm doing pretty well on the publishing and scholarship front. I haven't published any scholarship yet, but I have presented my translation of an Old English elegy at an undergraduate conference hosted by my university.

I have gotten some creative work published, however. In 2007 I wrote a short essay for a scholarship contest. I didn't win the scholarship, but I did get the essay published. I'm always leery about including that one, though, because I've never been certain how legitimate the company really is.

In 2010 I published three poems in my school's literary journal and one poem in a regional anthology. I also got another essay published (for real published, no potential vanity publishing shenanigans this time) in a journal of undergraduate nonfiction as part of a contest. In a couple of weeks I will be receiving a few copies of this year's edition of my school's literary journal, in which two more of my poems will be appearing.

I'm not doing terribly on the published pieces front, though one of my friends puts my efforts to shame in terms of quality and success in publishing with his poetry. That's why I bounce my ideas off him.

I've also gotten experience on the other side of publishing now. This semester is my second year as Co-Editor for poetry in my school's literary journal. Yes, I'm editor of poetry and I'm getting two poems published. I also completely abstained from voting on the inclusion of my poems and the voting process was blind to authors. I have ethics, which is more than I can say for one of the members of the poetry committee this year.

I also got a job as fiction editor for an online fiction magazine. It's been a real learning experience. I now know how true it is that editors do not have the time to bother with a story they find no interest in after the first paragraph. Indeed, I've gotten to the point where I've stopped feeling bad about it.

As I transition into graduate school, I will have increasing pressure to publish scholarly articles. Hopefully my experiences on both ends of the publishing world will help me navigate that process more easily. Likewise, my minimal conference experience should also be helpful.

Before I finish, I did mention awards in the title of this post and should probably say something about them, too. Receiving an award can feel almost as good as getting published. I don't know how I managed to get selected last semester as my department's Outstanding Graduating Student, but I do know it felt great when I found out.

I don't know if I'll be looking at any awards at the end of this semester. I think I stand a good chance of getting the Outstanding Graduating Student award from the Spanish sub-department this semester, but I'm not counting on it. I'm going to work over an essay I wrote a few years ago and put it out for publication, but again I won't count on success. If either of those do turn out well for me, though, I'll be entering my PhD program on a high note. And that's what I would like to do.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the publishing... My first "scholarly" publication was at a graduate student journal, 8 years ago. I was surprised last year when I got an email from somebody asking if I had a copy of the article, because ze wanted to read it for hir dissertation. After that publication, I sent a paper that had gotten high praises from a professor to a top tier journal. It came back a month later, just saying "no, thanks". I then submitted to an online journal that is a pretty good way to get yourself started. It was accepted. I've published a handful of articles ever since, but this year was the first time that a paper got accepted in the first journal I submitted it to, asking only for minor revisions. Publishing is a wild ride. If it's academic publishing, always get a professor to read and criticize it first before submitting it.