How to Get Published: Featuring Advice From U of T Alumnus, Anvesh Jain

By Chloe Kim, 2021–2022 IRSOC Blogger

Anvesh graduated from U of T in 2021 and is currently studying law at the University of Ottawa. He was an active member of the IR community at U of T and had over 30 papers published in various academic journals during his time at U of T. He is also an incredible poet and has had his poems published in Canadian and international literary magazines. His first book is expected to come out in 2022. You can find out more about him and his work on his website: anveshjain.com.

Describe your personal experience with getting work published. (ie. inspiration for your creative and academic writing; who you contacted to publish your work; mistakes you learned from; what you’re most proud of)

AJ: V.S Naipaul once said that you write “[…] to leave a fair record behind, to alter what you think is incomplete and make it good.” We write because we have something to say and satisfy some necessity in saying it; to contribute in our own way to the sum total of expression that exists in the world. What unique knowledge of yours can you contribute?

Sending out creative work tends to be a question of volume and consistency. For academic writing, I target my submissions to specific journals and publications. It helps to build contacts and relationships (through email, university departments, LinkedIn, etc.) to know where and when to submit your work. Be polite, always. Keep track of upcoming deadlines for various journals, and try to send something out every week or two once you’ve developed a good rhythm and a solid body of writing.

Don’t worry about sitting on a piece, for years even. Eventually, the right publication will come along, or there may be opportunities to adapt your piece under the right circumstances. Getting published is a long, long game, but you can learn to play it well.

Did any resources at U of T help you with getting creative or academic writing published?

AJ: Professors and peers are a good place to start. Check out department mailings with opportunities from time to time. At the end of the day, getting published in undergrad will largely be a reflection of your own time and efforts. Nobody else can put in that work except for you!

What are some journals that you could recommend for IR students to send their work?

AJ: Campus publications will be more familiar and more receptive to providing personalized feedback. They’re a good first stepping stone to future opportunities. If you’re a U of T IR student, start with Synergy, The Attaché, and other department-specific journals — then perhaps branch out from there. For example, the NATO Association of Canada is a great intermediate platform if you’re ready for that next challenge.

What is the best piece of advice you have for undergraduate students wanting to get published?

AJ: You can’t get published if you don’t send anything out in the first place. My advice is to send your work out, full stop. If you have time to polish it, send it. If you don’t have time to polish it, send it anyway.

In my experience, publishing has been a process of sending my work out into the ether and accumulating more rejections than acceptances in return. I could probably build monuments with the mounds of rejection emails and letters I’ve collected over the years. Perhaps I will someday.

So I’d say, celebrate the rejections almost as much as the acceptances. Doing so will make you a better writer and a stronger student. Good luck — you’ll be great, I’m sure of it!

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