Tips for Prospective Authors
The ideal proposal would contain the following elements, totaling about 2 to 3 pages, plus background attachments as necessary.
- Project Description. A brief (300 words or less) overall description of the project, including its subject, scope, content, and approach. State what is distinctive and compelling about the project
- Intended Market. Who (use job titles if possible), approximately how many, and why they need this work.
- Authorship. A one-paragraph biography describing the credentials of each of the authors/editors for preparing the work, highlighting editing, writing, and other relevant experience. Also include a curriculum vitae/resume.
- Competition. Brief notes on the major print and electronic resources that address your topic or a large part of it. Note the features that distinguish your project and give it a market advantage (for example, size, authority, timeliness, approach, or style).
- Preliminary TOC or Main Topic Outline. An outline of the major topics or a detailed preliminary table of contents.
- Length of Manuscript. Projected length of the work in word count or double-spaced manuscript pages (at 275 words per double-spaced page). Also describe the type and approximate number of figures and/or tables you plan to include.
- Schedule for Completion. Provide a realistic date of project completion. Allow time for all the parts (including illustrations and materials borrowed with permission) to be gathered, edited, revised, and reviewed as appropriate by your editor. Do not shortchange yourself on needed time, nor stretch out projects that are time-sensitive. If possible, also provide a timetable of the major phases in the project.
- Writing Sample. This may include a sample chapter of the proposed work or an article representative of the writing style for the proposed work.
- Software Used. Word processing information should include the software, version, and platform. We encourage the use of MS Word.
- Special Considerations. e.g., illustrations, permissions, etc. that will be required.
ALA Neal-Schuman will also consider completed manuscripts, but please query before sending them. Send proposals and queries to the address below and allow six-to-eight weeks for evaluation.
Proposals discussed with a specific editor should go to that editor. Unsolicited proposals should go to:
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
e-mail: editionsmarketing [at] ala.org