Submission guidelines for Student books

If you have a proposal for a student book on some area of the creative arts, please send it to commissioning@laurenceking.com. If your proposal looks attractive, we will consider it in more detail and might come back to you to ask you make changes to it.

The following guidelines are meant to help you in preparing your proposal.

The proposal should provide an overview of what will be contained in your book. The proposal will not only be read by the editor here, but also may be sent out to expert reviewers. It is important, therefore, to provide enough detail to give readers a strong sense of what the book will be about. Please keep in mind that the proposal should be written at a level that would be appropriate for the book’s intended audience. Please also make sure that the book you’re proposing fits well within our areas of publishing.

 

What you should include in your proposal

The first step is to put together a proposal explaining the approach you will be taking to the subject and providing a detailed outline of the organization and coverage of the book. In addition, you will need to discuss any existing titles on the subject – their strengths and weaknesses – and to indicate how your book will differ and why there is a place for it in the market. The initial proposal should consist of:

  1. Overview of approach, market and competition

This is a key part of the proposal and as far as possible should follow the format below:

This is a key part of the proposal and as far as possible should follow the format below.

 

  1. Chapter outline

This outline is very important and should provide an overview of the entire book. It must enable readers/reviewers to assess quickly the proposed coverage.

This outline should provide a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the contents of the book. Chapter heads should be followed by subheads that explain the content at a greater level of detail. Paragraphs should be used as needed to clarify the outline. The more detail you can provide, the more useful the feedback will be on the proposal.

It is also helpful to include a description of the types of illustrations that will be required – for example, photos, plans, sketches, technical diagrams etc – and how they will need to be obtained or created by yourself and/or the publisher.

For any special features within chapters, such as boxed inserts or excerpts from primary sources, you should include examples or list topics, if possible. Any additional features such as glossary, bibliography or appendices should be listed at the end of the outline.

 

  1. Curriculum vitae

Please supply a recent résumé of relevant qualifications and publications and an explanation of your suitability to write the book.

 

Some considerations when putting your proposal together

Presentation

It is very important that the proposal is well thought out and clearly presented. If possible please supply the proposal as an e-mail attachment in Word, using only widely used fonts (Times, Arial, etc).

When the editor reads through your proposal, he or she may want to make some corrections or minor changes before sending it out for review.

Market

You should make it clear which market the book is intended for and what prerequisites, if any, the readers are required to have. The ‘market’ should be reflected in the approach and the content outline.

Any information you may have on relevant college/university courses, e.g. specific courses covering the subject area or trends in student enrolment for such courses, would be a useful addition.

Approach

You should try to convey in your proposal how your approach differs to or improves upon other books and/or how it reflects current trends in the way the subject is taught, practised and understood. You should also discuss why you feel that your book is needed and why you are writing it.

Organization

You should think carefully about how the book is to be structured. Where relevant, a chronological organization is always easiest and often more readily accepted in the market. If you wish to interweave themes then this can make for an interesting and challenging approach. A thematic organization may create problems with chronology and you will need to give careful thought to how it can best be handled.

Supplementary material

You should think about what supplements for instructors and students using the book could be hosted on the Publisher’s website.

 

What happens next?

Your proposal will be looked at in-house and may be sent to various expert reviewers. In the light of reviewers’ comments you may be asked to revise the proposal. You may also be asked to provide one or more sample chapters (separate guidelines will be supplied on this). We may send the proposal and chapter(s) for wider review and may request further revisions before accepting or refusing the book for publication. Please keep in mind that the review and revision of both proposal and sample chapter(s) (and later on the manuscript if the book is contracted) is an ongoing process of development and it is hoped that you will respond constructively to in-house, publisher and reviewer comments. You should not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about preparing the proposal or sample material or if you would like to discuss any aspects of the project or the publishing process.

Most publishers have an internal process that they go through before final approval to offer a contract comes through. We hold meetings of a commissioning board on a monthly basis at which any decisions about new projects are made.

 

A few caveats about writing a book

The commitment. Writing a book is a major commitment on the parts of both publisher and author. If it is successful in its first edition, it may be revised every three to five years.

Co-authors. If you are writing with a co-author, you should have a full and frank discussion of how you are going to work together. For example, are each of you writing different chapters and then commenting on the other’s work? Is one of you writing a first draft and the other revising it? Who makes the final decision when there is a disagreement? Do you agree on the writing schedule (i.e., does one of you always run late while the other is usually on time)? How do your writing styles mesh? While collaboration can enhance the writing process and the dialogue between authors can be stimulating, it can also be a source of friction. The publisher can often be helpful in arbitrating when there are problems or discussing ways of working.

Writing Schedule. You should be as realistic as possible about how long it will take you to write a book. Once you have committed to delivering a manuscript, the publisher will usually work out a more detailed schedule for delivering chapters. If you find that you cannot meet the agreed upon schedule, please let the publisher know as early as possible. While postponement might be the only option, there are other solutions that can be worked out in discussion with the publisher.

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