June 2008 Archives

So, I get this inquiry recently. The author writes:


Dear Prof. Canagarajah,

I would feel honored to contribute two papers to the prestigious TESOL Quarterly regarding how to improve [---] college students' voice control while speaking English in public. One paper talks about ---, while the other talks about --. I believe that most oriental teachers and students, even some native-English speakers, have the same serious problems with speaking English in public. Would you be interested in these topics?  Thank you very much for your time, and I'll be looking forward to your reply.

Thanks and regards,



As you know now from some of my previous blogs, I am concerned about authors sending multiple submissions simultaneously. So I approach the topic gingerly. I write:

Dear Dr. ---,

Thanks for considering TQ for your submission. Your study can fall into speech communication or TESOL. That depends on your ability to relate your research and findings to relevant articles on phonology in TESOL. If you are able to relate your study to the concerns of TESOL practitioners, please submit one article first. Based on the response of the referees, you can consider writing the other article. Please read our guidelines to authors when you prepare your manuscript for TQ.


Suresh Canagarajah



I am puzzled to get a response that goes like this:


Dear Lucy (pseudonym),


Please try to find one article researching on phonology in TQ, then see what you can see(theories, content, references) from there.  At the same time, also find out what Suresh Canagarajah's specialty is.  It would help if something in the paper holds relevance with the editor; i.e., using/challenging his opinions, adopting his theories or a few words, etc.



Dr. ---


While I wonder what to make of the message, I soon get an apology:


Dear Prof. Canagarajah,


Please disregard the letter I accidentally sent you earlier today  --- it was meant to go to my assistant.  I guess too much research work has made me giddy, and please accept my apology.



Sincerely Yours,



I sympathize with the author. I know that all authors adopt such strategies to succeed. Actually, there are two strategies adopted by the author here: To succeed in publishing in a journal a). cite at least a single article that has appeared in that journal before; b). connect the study to the editor’s research and publications (a few words are enough do the trick).


I want to help the author, at least to save her time from doing unnecessary research about  me. So I write:


No problem. What you outline is a strategy most authors use. Though my personal field is academic writing, we do have very good reviewers who are experts in phonology.

best wishes,




Well, look forward to receiving more postings from me on strategies that succeed in publishing! (Or would you care to help others by sharing some of the strategies that have worked for you?)


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