Eastlit Journal

Pieces submitted to Eastlit journal go through quite a process. It is actually a lot of work for us and the volunteer editorial board. For a while I have been thinking of writing a piece on what the process is. And finally here it is. I may turn this into an FAQ later. Any feedback on how clear or not the process description is will be appreciated. If making an FAQ, I will change the format to questions, answers and bullet points. We are not intending on changing the actual process as it is one thing that keeps us a little different from other online journals or print ones.

Eastlit Journal. How it is Published. How your work reaches publication. Eastlit July 2013 picture for the front page is "Rising" by Sinlaratn Soontornviset.Eastlit Journal – How it Works, Submission.

Every morning an administrator, usually me, checks the submissions and editors e-mail accounts. New submissions come through the submissions route, while amended ones or bio’s usually come through the editor’s e-mail. Let’s take a look at what happens when a submission comes in.

Each morning there may be several submissions. The first thing that happens is they are checked against our submission criteria.

If they meet the criteria, they will be assigned to a folder for consideration. There are separate journal folders for each month of the year. They usually go into consideration for the next month. However, before doing this, we do have to check whether an author has been previously published. If they have, we must make sure they are not being considered for consecutive issues of Eastlit. The final check will be to see whether a bio was included or not. Then the administrator will e-mail the author to confirm receiving the piece and letting them know which issue they are being considered for. If necessary we will also request a bio at this point.

If they do not meet our criteria, there are several things that may happen:

  1. Overt erotica will be deleted. The author will receive no response. We make it clear in our journal guidelines, that we do not accept erotica.
  2. Submissions from outside the regions with no obvious connection to the region will receive a response. The administrator will request a short justification from the author as to what the connection to East and/or South East Asia is. If this request is met and we accept the justification, we will then assign the piece for consideration and notify the author. Each case is individually considered.

Eastlit Journal. How it Works. Eastlit's June cover picture is by Vasan Sitthiket.Eastlit Journal – How it Works, Editorial Board and the Decision to Publish or Not.

On the 21st of each month the pieces for consideration for the month after next are assigned to several editorial board members. They then have until the 21st of the month, before the issue will be published, to vote on each piece they receive. For example, for the December issue board members will receive the pieces on 21st October and have until the 21st November to read and vote. The December issue will then be put together and published for December 1.

Board members have wide latitude on how to judge things. We want to have as much variety as possible in the Eastlit journal. Not every piece goes to every member of the journal’s board. We divide the pieces for consideration up and make groups of board members. Each group receives some pieces, but not all, to decide on. The make up of groups is varied by issue. Each group member has one vote. They can vote yes, no or not sure. The vote is completely secret. The administrators add up the scores to see if the piece is rejected or will be published. If there is no clear result then a long term Eastlit journal member, usually not me, will get a casting vote.

Eastlit Journal – How it Works, Notifying Authors.

When all the votes and decisions are in, there are only 9 or ten days until publication. Things get a little crazy. This is when I get very busy as I am the one who puts the journal together. After we are sure what will be published and what will not, all authors are sent an e-mail. They are either told they will be published or they have been rejected. If to be published, and they haven’t sent a bio in, then we will request one again. If rejected, we will usually encourage them to keep writing and to feel free to submit more work. There are also another couple of cases:

  • Non-native writers whose work needs editing. We may offer free editorial help with publication in a future issue.
  • Writers who have more than one piece of prose or more than 5 poems that we want to publish. We will publish some now and some in a future issue. The authors will be informed of this.

Eastlit Journal – How it Works, Making an Issue of Eastlit.

Then it is time to put the issue together. This means making a cover page, contents page, contributors page, a page for each piece or poetry collection, an editorial page (if we do one), and a page for any special series such as Steve Rosse’s How not to Write series.

The page for each piece is fairly straightforward is it has been submitted with no weird html formatting, has no pictures with it and has no spacing/indentation requirements. Some poetry has this. Inserting pictures is easy enough, getting rid of odd html formatting is easy but hard on the eyes. The hardest thing to do is actually insert html to create formatting for poems. It takes time. However, to date we have managed to always get this done when needed. Or at least nobody has complained! We also do individual SEO work on every piece of writing page to try and make sure your work is as visible as possible in searches. This takes a little time. We also do individual SEO work on every picture in a piece too.

The editorial, special series and contributors pages are fairly easy to make. They also have individual SEO work done on them.

The contents page is easy enough to make, but as it contains many links, we have to check them all!

The last made is usually the cover page. The picture is the one thing, I always choose. If we have pictures sent in by either writing or photographic contributors, it will always be selected from these. If not, it will usually be one of mine. Then there is the Photoshop work to actually create the cover. This takes a while as it needs care. I have learnt to double check spellings as changing them on the cover is a pain after the actual release of the Eastlit monthly journal. When the cover is designed the actual creation of the page is easy. Very careful SEO work is done on this page including SEO work on the picture to get it into picture searches too.

Eastlit Journal – How it Works, Publishing the Journal.

Then when the issue is ready, the home page needs to be updated, and an issue removed from the page tabs into the archive. We always keep the current issue plus the previous two months issues in the navigation bar. Then we can publish the issue.

It doesn’t all end there as when the issue is published we market it through social networks, e-mail list and via things such as Line. We hope our authors, editors and supporters push Eastlit this way too. And then I wait to see if anyone has spotted a typo, misspelt name or broken link. I usually hear of this within 48 hours of publication. Changes are made as soon as possible.

OK I will leave it there. There are many other cases, but this gives an idea of the basics of publishing an issue of Eastlit journal. And remember this is repeated every month!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.