Clare Denton, editor of Bites, the College’s monthly e-newsletter, offers advice on getting your writing published.
It is becoming increasingly common for dental practitioners to raise their professional profile by creating interesting, relevant content and getting it published on one of the many platforms and channels now available. The Primary Dental Journal (PDJ), is the College’s quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles written by a variety of authors. You can read the specific author guidelines for the PDJ here.
There are several types of writing you can generate – reporting on clinical research, opinion pieces or more informal writing about experiences and ideas. If you specifically want information about conducting clinical research and publishing the results, you’ll find a comprehensive and free set of guidance on the CGDent website which will tell you everything you need to know – An Introduction to Research for Primary Dental Care Clinicians.
Here are some general tips about how to be a successful writer and publish your work.
1. Choosing your audience and topic
Your audience and article topic go hand-in-hand. Particular topics, or the angle you choose to focus on, may only interest dental professionals with certain specialisms, and vice versa. It’s crucial that your topic, the angle you take and your audience all align. It helps if you’re interested in the subject matter too.
Read other articles on your chosen subject. Is there already a lot written about this? Can you approach the issue from a new perspective?
2. Identify where you want your work to be published
Different channels and mediums demand different styles and tone of writing. A blog can be informal, whereas an article in a peer-reviewed journal would demand a more formal style. Many publications have specific editorial guidelines to follow. Contact the Editor before you start writing to ensure they would consider publishing your writing.
3. Plan your work
Contact the publication’s Editor or editorial team and ask for clear deadlines and a schedule for the issue. You’ll need to know when you will receive peer review comments or editorial feedback, and when you are expected to have revised your paper. Most journals ask for a quick turnaround (three days usually) which you need to be prepared for.
4. Attention-grabbing headline
Although the title is the first thing your reader will see, it’s a good idea to leave composing it until you’ve finished writing your piece; the stand-out point of your piece will be much clearer. Titles should be eye-catching, humorous or clever, but also a true summary of the content.
5. Give credit where it’s due
Compelling images or video to accompany your article are vital. Check the copyright of any visual material included and if necessary, obtain a permissions licence from the copyright holders and credit them.
6. Include a variety of voices
Incorporate poignant quotations from different stakeholders to bring your work to life. Quotations reinforce and validate the points you are making, add more detail and give a personal perspective from key players. If quoting from existing published work, make sure to cite the sources on your reference list.
I have been the Editor of Bites since 2017, when I first started working with the Faculty of General Dental Practice and now the College of General Dentistry. My career in marketing and communications is centred around creating engaging content in digital and print, and I particularly enjoy the visual and editorial challenges this brings. When I’m not working, I manage a busy family life and indulge in long-distance running (my longest race so far is a half-marathon) and discussing the latest reads with my book club.
This student advice blog was originally published by FGDP(UK) and has been republished by the College of General Dentistry with the author’s permission.