LoggingOn So Ya Wanna Be An Editorial Boarder?  by Nick Carbone

How Does it all Work?

This process works with large doses of patience and humor. Mick Doherty, our editor-in-chief does have a method to his madness. Here's an annotated eavesdrop from a message sent to the editorial board just at the end of the Tier One reviews for the March 11, 1997 issue:

Hello Kairoi ...

Apologia for my virtual absence; after NCTE, Sandye and I got trapped in a little town named Bryan, Ohio by a snowstorm that drove us to a Holiday Inn for refuge. And not a computer in sight! (Or, perhaps that should be "on site!" ...)

[stuff deleted]

Carbone's note: We enter into this missive a few days before Thanksgiving, after just having completed a Tier One review; for those whose work has been accepted, it's about eight weeks or so before the Tier Two deadline. And now, back to Mick's note, where he says,

First, let's revisit the deadline for submissions. Specific editorial assignments will be preliminarily made in the day or two following Thanksgiving break, and formalized *on* December 15.

Carbone's note: December 15 is about month prior to the deadline of January 15, giving Tier Two editorial board member and writer teams about 4-5 weeks to work on the contributions. Between this e-mail and December 16, writers of accepted submissions have time to get their pieces into shape for a Tier Two reading.

I am in the habit of posting a "Dummy TOC" every couple of weeks beginning with the day after submission deadline (12/16 in this case). The original Dummy TOCs for each issue are startlingly different from the final product, of course!

To summarize, here's a sample timeline for an issue.
  1. Mick receives and previews queries, rough drafts, and other submissions in all kinds of degrees of readiness all year long.
  2. We publish twice per year. Once in Spring, to coincide with the CCCC's and once in the Fall to coincide with a pre-determined conference or event.
  3. Shortly after an issue is out, Mick notifies editorial board members with the tentative list of contributions for the next issue. This is usually at least four or five months before the deadline for the next publication.
  4. Two weeks after this notice, editorial boar members will receive a list of URLs to be visited as part of the 'blind', first tier reviews. Mick will create a web page with these URLs and some annotations about the state of the submissions.
  5. Editorial board members visit the sites and e-mail Mick with their impressions and recommendations. Mick collates these responses and makes copies available to all board members via e-mail.
  6. The first tier discussions are usually the most lively and philosophical. These are important because the second tier editorial mentorships are geared toward making sure the piece gets in. The purpose of the first tier is really to search for pieces--and authors--that are both of good quality and likely to be writers we can work with collaboratively.
  7. Mick issues a tentative table of contents that lists both contributions and the editorial board members assigned to the writers.
  8. After four weeks, writers and editorial board members should be reporting in with their URLs. This leaves about two months to publication. The remaining two months are devoted to planning layout, checking URLs and links in the pieces, proof-reading, and other essential details.
  9. We publish, and the whole process starts over again, probably just a little differently than the last time we tried it out ...

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