How To Communicate Successfully with Journal Editors
Although every scholar may enjoy the idea that the article he or she submits to a top-tier journal will immediately dazzle the acquisitions editor and inspire positive comments from the most qualified peer reviewers, such a scenario is very rarely the reality. A well-written, carefully structured and properly formatted paper will often find a good home in an appropriate journal, but beautifully written and thoughtful correspondence with the acquisitions editor can also play a vital part in your article being accepted for publication.

Effective communication with an acquisitions editor begins with a carefully designed covering letter that you include with your submission. This covering letter should explain why the research presented in your article is particularly appropriate for the journal to which you have chosen to submit it. It is important to be familiar with the range, specialisation and mission statement of the journal, as well as the articles it has already published, and to take these into consideration while drafting your letter. A good covering letter should also emphasise what is especially significant, innovative and groundbreaking about the research reported in the paper you are submitting, and it is essential to assess your work both honestly and objectively so that you neither overvalue nor undervalue its contribution to knowledge.

You may receive a response from the journal’s editor indicating that certain changes must be made to your article before it can be published or even seriously considered for publication. If so, you will need to reply with specific details about how you intend to address the problems and make the necessary revisions. Remember to be enthusiastic and positive, even about changes that may not seem as productive to you as they do to the editor, and to explain exactly what you can and cannot do to improve your paper without compromising your scholarship. You want to publish your paper in that journal, after all, and the editor has gone to the effort of providing specific suggestions, so it is best to take each one seriously and explain that you will do everything you possibly can to accommodate the journal’s requirements.

Once you have made the necessary revisions and are resubmitting your work, be sure to explain with great care everything that you have changed to solve the problems identified. If you have not been able to do all that the editor requested, you will need to specify what you did not change and why, always justifying your decisions on the basis of retaining the integrity of your research and the value of your scholarship, and never suggesting that you simply do not want to make those changes.

Finally, all communications with an acquisitions editor should be as well written as the paper you submit for consideration. As samples of your writing, your letters and messages, even when they are short, should use clear and correct English and avoid errors of grammar, spelling and punctuation. Excellent writing will enable you to express your ideas and practices more effectively and it will also make you appear confident, capable and knowledgeable, all of which can only increase your chances of achieving positive results.