Literacy in Composition Studies (LiCS) is a refereed open access online journal that “sponsors scholarly activity at the nexus of Literacy and Composition Studies” (LiCS mission statement). Edited in collaborative fashion by six editors from different institutions across the United States, the journal was founded to explore the contextual and fluid notions of literac(ies) as they impact the field and practices of composition studies. In essence, we founded the journal to make a place for a focus on literacy we did not see adequately represented in our fields, and to challenge authors to make connections between literacy work and composition/writing studies more broadly. We chose an open access platform to ensure that the scholarship we publish circulates as widely as possible, unfettered by paywalls and extending across both disciplinary and geographical borders. Further, we designed particular features of the journal’s publishing process and certain features of the journal, such as our symposium, to encourage values and beliefs that we hold dear: engagement, dialogue, mentorship, access, and exchange.
We begin with this overview of our journal not only to contextualize the advice we’d like to offer below, but to illustrate that the way editors frame journals provides important clues into how they will read authors’ submissions. For example, in the framing paragraph above (much of it simplified from our mission statement), potential authors can glean that LiCS is importantly interested in both literacy AND composition. Since we stress that we seek work “at the nexus” of these two fields, whether or not an author has engaged both fields shapes every decision we make in terms of publishing work. Although writers and researchers at every stage of their career are oft-advised to “read the journal to which you hope to submit,” this advice can too often seem broad, vague, or even overwhelming (despite being a good rule of thumb). In this short essay, we offer advice from our vantage point of editors, advice that we hope enables authors to effectively investigate journals which may be good fits for their work, target those journals to ensure a productive reception of that work, implement writing and revision processes based on an awareness of academic publishing principles, and finally, persevere through the process to ultimately see their work in print.