Part II: Writing and Submitting Your Manuscript
Ready, Aim, Fire!
Submitting Your Manuscript
There’s nothing like the feeling of getting the manuscript off to the editor. In olden times, when we all relied entirely on snail-mail, sending a manuscript involved careful photocopying, collation, packaging and trips to the post office – it was a real project! Today, when many journals accept email or even Web-based submissions, the action of submission isn’t quite so dramatic.
Still, the steps of the process remain the same – from checking your formatting to the last detail, to crafting your cover letter.
For digital submissions, the "cover letter" may be the body of the submission email, or it may be a separate attachment to the email. (Journals that allow online submission of manuscripts via a Web-based application may or may not accept a cover letter, so check the instruction and the guidelines to be sure.)
A cover letter gives you a chance to introduce the reader to the paper, highlight unique content or findings, and encourage the reader to open the manuscript. It’s a useful communication tool that should not be ignored as part of the total package that helps you get your manuscript published.
Check out a sample cover letter to understand the elements of an effective one.
Make sure the data supports your conclusion and point out any other alternative interpretations. If you don't do this, then a reviewer surely will.
-- Ed Vawter, peer reviewer