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Editor Interview: VII: Journal of the Marion E. Wade Center

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Fresh Inkling scholarship

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Journals we enjoy and share an affinity with include:
Journal of Inklings Studies
Tolkien Studies
An Unexpected Journal
Publishers we admire and enjoy working with include Walking Tree Press, Wipf and Stock, InterVarsity Press, Kent State UP, Square Halo Press, Winged Lion Press, and so many others!

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: Our favorite writers will always be the seven authors archived at the Marion E. Wade Center: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams. We also love the writers and scholars who are pursuing new and insightful research about these authors, and it's their scholarship that we publish.

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: Founded in 1980, VII was the first academic journal to publish scholarship about all seven of the 19th- and 20th-century British authors archived at the Marion E. Wade Center in Wheaton, Illinois. Because the journal is published by the Wade Center, which is a research library and archive, it also has unparalleled access to primary texts, often publishing previously unpublished work by the seven authors or allowing writers to craft their articles using original works. And, although the journal is housed at an academic institution, it seeks to be accessible to the academic and general reader, alike, eschewing jargon for clarity and prioritizing scholarship that unveils rather than obfuscates.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Read the journal! VII provides a selection of open-access articles on its website; or, purchasing a volume will not only support the journal but also give you an excellent idea of the kind of work we publish. If VII seems like the right fit for your work, check the following before submitting:
- Is your research high-quality? It will be peer-reviewed by at least two expert scholars on the author(s) your research concerns.
- Is your argument clear, consistent, and well-supported?
- Is your submission a contribution to current scholarship on the author? Some people will say, "what more is there to say about X author/their work?" We believe there is a lot more to say! Does your article say that something new and valuable?

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Cover letters are not necessary. The submission will proceed through a double-blind, peer-review process, so your name will not matter to our readers; your qualifications and background will be evidenced by the quality of your work.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: We read every submission in its totality.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: The editors read a submission first in order to note any red flags (pages are missing, the submission doesn't concern any of the seven authors, etc.) and determine which readers to send it to for evaluation. It is then peer-reviewed by at least two readers and returned with their comments, suggestions, and recommendations for or against publication. The editors discuss the readers' responses and make a final decision. At times, if a piece presents scholarship with great merit but requires additional work, we request a revise-and-resubmit from the author or accept the piece contingent upon revisions. When this is the case, we enjoy working with authors, within reason, to help them refine their argument and/or presentation of it. We are especially open to this part of the process when an author is a relatively young scholar whose work we see value in developing.
Comments from readers and editors are always passed onto the author, whether the final decision is to accept, conditionally accept, or decline the article. We hope that passing along the observations of expert scholars and editors helps the author refine the piece, whether for publication in VII or elsewhere.

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Technological (presumably digital) advances are important for editors to embrace because they are the means by which much of the printed word reaches a wider audience. VII accepts electronic submissions, sells VII through our website, and provides open-access web content. Not only do we want to promote excellent scholarship as far as we can, but we believe how our authors saw and wrote about the world is valuable and, in most cases, life-giving. We want to share their contributions with as many people as possible, and digital technology helps us accomplish that.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: This depends entirely on the submission, but we enjoy working with authors to help them make an article as clear and compelling as possible. This often, but not always, requires some substantive editing. Then, we also provide line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. The author is aware of these edits along the way and is always given a final, formatted version of the article to proofread before the volume goes to the printer.