Manuscript and Art Guidelines

For first-time authors especially, the process of turning a manuscript into a book can be a mysterious one. Here is an overview of what lies ahead after your manuscript has been accepted for publication by our editorial board.

As you revise and prepare your final manuscript for submission, your acquisitions editor will ask you to send a sample chapter including notes to our managing editor, Carol Betsch, for review. Because budgets are constrained, it is important that manuscripts be prepared as carefully as possible before copyediting, and we ask our authors to make an extra effort to fine-comb them before submission. Before undertaking your final revisions, you will have, of course, fully versed yourself in our manuscript preparation guidelines and, as you proceed, will be hewing to them zealously. Either Carol or her colleague Mary Bellino will check the sample and let you know what more, if anything, needs to be done, or done differently, to make a success of it.

After you submit your manuscript, your acquisitions editor will formally transmit it to our Editing Department, where it will begin its metamorphosis into a book.

If your book includes illustrations, you and your acquisitions editor will have discussed quantity and format (interspersed through the text or gathered in a gallery). At least photocopies of art or printouts of scans to come, together with draft captions, should be submitted with the manuscript. Especially with integrated illustration programs, we cannot begin editing your manuscript without these materials in hand.

Carol Betsch will be your project’s primary shepherd during the editing and production process. Mary Bellino will prepare the electronic files for editing, and Carol will assign the project to one of our freelance manuscript editors. Our editors work onscreen using Word’s Track Changes feature. If there are questions or concerns along the way, either Carol or your manuscript editor will contact you. Likewise, if you have questions or concerns, you should feel free to contact us. We will also let you know when to expect your edited manuscript back for review.

Questions concerning illustrations, digital art specifications, transmittal of scans, and the like should be directed to your acquisitions editor or to our production manager, Jack Harrison. For a short list of digital art mistakes to avoid, see digital art guidelines below.

When the editing is completed, either Carol or your manuscript editor will send you the edited files for review via e-mail attachment, together with instructions for reviewing onscreen.  (If you prefer, you may print out the files and work on paper.) We will also send you our Editing Department Author Questionnaire to be filled out and returned with the reviewed manuscript.

Generally we figure about 5–6 weeks for an author review. After you return the reviewed edited files, we will do a cleanup edit, inputting the changes, checking with you on last-minute queries, and preparing the final files for design.

All original art (either photographic prints, transparencies, or digital scans) and permissions, with final captions including credits, must in hand at this point. The manuscript cannot be sent on to our Design & Production Department until art and permissions are secured and final captions edited.

The project now goes to Design & Production. Either Jack Harrison or Sally Nichols, our associate production manager, will handle it during this stage, designing in-house or assigning the project to one our freelance designers. Your acquisitions editor will send you a PDF file of the designed page layouts as a courtesy (although this is the opportunity for you to say if you find a problem with some element of the design). Either we typeset in-house or send the designed files to the compositor. At this stage, we’ll send you a projected proof schedule.

As author you are by contract responsible for proofreading and making an index (or hiring a professional indexer). You will have about 4 weeks to accomplish those tasks. The subsequent rounds of corrected proofs are checked in-house.

Production from design to finished books generally takes about 7–8 months (illustrated books take longer). Books slated for the Fall/Winter season are scheduled for publication from September through February; Spring/Summer titles are published from March through April. Specific publication months are decided as we weave together schedules for the list as a whole, when the seasonal catalog is made. Your acquisitions editor will be in touch with you when the time arrives to create copy for your catalog page.

The jacket/cover is considered a marketing element, and its design happens on a separate track. Please communicate specific concerns or ideas for jacket art to your acquisitions editor.

Once we are under way, you will be hearing from Karen Fisk, our marketing manager, who will send you a Marketing Questionnaire to fill out. Questions about marketing and promotion should be directed to her. For an overview of our marketing procedures and methods, please see our marketing and publicity guide.

First, however, our manuscript preparation guidelines, your new best friend.


General information

All text files must be created in Microsoft Word. If you have been working in another program, such as WordPerfect, Pages, or the word processor bundled with MS Works, or if any of the files originated in one of those programs, please let us know in advance so that we can check them for compatibility.

When you submit your manuscript, please let us know what platform (PC or Mac) and version of Word you are using.

Use the same platform and version for the entire manuscript (or essay, in multicontributor volumes). If you are the volume editor it is your responsibility either to make sure that all your contributors submit their essays in the same version of Word or to take care of having the files converted. Please also make sure that your contributors follow the general instructions for manuscript preparation.

Files can be submitted via e-mail attachment, on a CD, or on a flash drive.

Organizing the files
House Style Sheet
Notes and bibliographies
Guidelines for submitting art
Digital art guidelines
Reproduction quality digital art specifications


By contract, you as author are responsible for securing all permissions to reprint all material owned by others, textual and visual, including your own previously published work to which you do not hold copyright.

We strongly suggest that you read the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, Chapter 4, “Rights, Permissions, and Copyright Administration,” particularly Sections 4.68–4.101, “The Author’s Responsibilities,” which gives information on the principles of copyright, the doctrine of “fair use,” and requesting permissions, including a sample letter.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has posted “Permission FAQs (Author Responsibilities and Copyright Guidelines)” on its website, which includes sample letters as well.

Organizing the files

Create a separate file for each chapter and major element of the book. Do not put the entire manuscript in one enormous file; we cannot work with it.

Name the chapter files by chapter number (e.g., Ch01) not by title. Name the remaining files according to their contents: Front Matter (one file that includes title page, dedication, epigraph, table of contents, list of illustrations, acknowledgments [or preface that includes acknowledgments at the end]); Introduction; Conclusion; Epilogue; Afterword; Appendix; Works Cited; Tables; Captions. Part title pages should each be a separate file.

Chapters should be numbered consecutively using arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.). Introductions and conclusions should not be numbered and should have a descriptive title if possible.

Chapter titles/subtitles and section headers should be typed Headline Style, NOT all caps or with a cap for the first word only. Use a colon to separate subtitles from titles.

Chapter number, title, and epigraph should be typed at the top of the first page of the text, not on a separate page.

Number text pages sequentially throughout the manuscript. If you don’t know how to do this, just number each chapter starting with 1.


DOUBLE SPACE EVERYTHING. That means epigraphs, extracts, notes, works cited, tables, captions, list of abbreviations. Everything.

Margins should be set at 1.25 inch all around. Set left justification (ragged right margin). Let lines break automatically according to the margin setting.

Use hard returns only at the end of a paragraph, section, subhead, and block extract.

When typing a Works Cited list, DO NOT type a paragraph return at the end of each line; each entry should be one paragraph. DO NOT type a tab (or multiple spaces) to create a hanging indent; we will apply the hanging indent when the file is edited.

Indicate new paragraphs with a single tab indent. DO NOT insert extra line space between paragraphs.

Quotations: DO NOT insert extra line space to set off block extracts. Indent all block extracts one-half inch by resetting the left margin at the beginning of the block. DO NOT use tabs and hard returns to indent each line. Shorter quotations (fewer than about 8 typeset lines or 100 words) are generally run in to the text. Type poetry with line breaks as they occur in the original; if special formatting is required, please provide a photocopy of the original poem with the manuscript.

DO NOT insert Word’s section breaks or manual page breaks in the manuscript. Insert the word “<SPACE>” on a separate line where you want to indicate a section break without a subhead. (Use of ornaments for this purpose is the designer’s prerogative.)

We prefer 12-point Times New Roman throughout, including chapter titles, headings, extracts, and notes.

NO STYLES. Repeat: NO STYLES. Please DO NOT apply Word Styles or use different fonts or ALL CAPS for chapter titles, headings, and subheads. Type Them with Headline-Style Cap and Lowercase. DO NOT apply Word styles, such as Body Text or Body Text Indent (or your own custom Word styles), to text paragraphs; use the Normal style and create indents manually as needed.

Different levels of subheads can be indicated with tags: <A> for a first-level heading, <B> for a second-level head, <C> for a third-level head.

Use either italics or underlining for emphasis, titles, foreign words, any text that will eventually be set in italics.

Use bullets only with the understanding that lists may be designed without them. DO NOT use Word’s automatic bullet or autonumbering feature. If you can’t highlight a bullet or number and delete it in the usual way, it has been applied with the auto bullet/numbering feature. This can be turned off with the Autoformat command on the Options (Windows) or Preferences (Mac) menu.

Turn off the autohyphenation feature; the only hyphens that should appear should be in hyphenated compound words.

If you use accents or special characters that are not available in your software, provide a list of them and let us know how you have marked them on the hard copy and indicated them on disk.

Use only one space after periods and colons. Commas and periods go inside closing quotation marks; semicolons and colons go outside.

Use two hyphens--without space before, between, or after--for a dash (or use Word’s — character).


Epigraphs are separate elements, not tied to the text. DO NOT cite epigraphs with a text note. Brief source citations are given at the end of the quotation. Full bibliographic information is not required.

If you include chapter epigraphs, for design consistency please supply them for all chapters, not just for some. We discourage the use of section epigraphs; they can create difficulties in page makeup. Chapter epigraphs should be kept short; long or multiple epigraphs also create problems with page makeup.

House Style Sheet

As you make your revisions, we ask that you consult our house style sheet and prepare your final manuscript as carefully as possible to conform with these preferences. When you have, please send a sample chapter to your sponsoring editor, so we can check it over and make sure things are on the right track. We appreciate our authors' extra efforts at this stage!

Notes and bibliographies

For reasons of economy, we generally prefer that full bibliographic information be given in the notes rather than include a bibliography in the book. (There are exceptions, of course. Please consult with your sponsoring editor if you believe a bibliography is a critical element for your work.) An alternative system is to use a reference list (Works Cited) and parenthetical references in the text. See Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition, for complete information on documentation systems. The Chicago Manual of Style Online Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide is available here. We prefer Chicago to MLA style, although true MLA style is acceptable. To view or download our house style guide, please click here.

Generally we set notes as endnotes at the end of the book (with running heads that give the span of pages covered). In edited volumes, they appear at the end of each essay. (If you have a strong preference for footnotes, please discuss with your sponsoring editor.) In manuscript they should be gathered at the end of each chapter. They should not be printed at the bottom of the text page.

Use Word’s Insert Footnote/Endnote command to insert endnotes. DO NOT type an extra paragraph return at the end of each note or reference list entry. Type each entry as a single paragraph. DO NOT indent the second lines of entries by typing a paragraph return and a tab; these are very time-consuming to remove.

PLEASE NOTE : If you have used a bibliographic software program, such as EndNotes, ProCite, or Reference Manager, you MUST strip out the embedded fields these programs place in your documents. It's not enough simply to expand the citation tags so that the full citations appear; you must also run the command that removes hidden field codes and turns the entries in to plain, unlinked text. For specific directions, consult the user's manual or help file associated with your program.


Tables should be created with Word’s Table feature. If you create a table as a text file, keep the formatting very simple; do not use boxes, shading, or other effects, and avoid snaking columns and nested cells.

Tables are separate elements and carry their own source credits and notes; table notes must not be included within the sequence of text notes.

Number tables sequentially throughout the text, except in edited volumes, where they should be numbered by chapter (e.g., table 1.1). Give the table a title that fully and clearly explains what it’s about.

Tables should carry parenthetical in-text references: “(table 1)” or “(see table 1).” In addition, please insert “callouts” to indicate placement: “<table 1 near here>” and provide a list of manuscript pages where tables fall.

Print out each table on its own page. Gather all tables into a single file rather than integrating them into chapter text.


Please consult your sponsoring editor first if you wish to include illustrations in your book.

DO NOT EMBED IMAGES IN YOUR MANUSCRIPT FILE. Submit all graphics on a separate disk. We cannot use graphics created in Word and embedded in the text.

As author, you are responsible for securing all permissions and paying all permissions fees; all permissions must be in hand before we can proceed to production with the manuscript.

Please create a separate, single document of illustration captions, including source credit lines. Make sure that credit lines are given exactly as stipulated by the grantor of permission to reproduce the illustration.

Guidelines for submitting art

We can work with visual materials submitted in a variety of formats:

  • Reflective Art (i.e., photographs, printed pages from magazines/books). NOTE: Laserprinter output or Xeroxes are not considered good reflective art and will produce a poor result when reproduced in a book.
  • Transparencies (i.e., 35mm slides, 4x5 transparencies, Negative film)
  • Digital image files (TIFF/JPEG/EPS/PDF). Please see the Digital Art Guidelines immediately following for more details.

Digital art guidelines

If you plan to submit some, or all, of your illustrations in digital format, then PRESCREENING your image files with a few simple rules in mind will avoid unnecessary delays in the editing, design, and typesetting of your book. Here are some MISTAKES TO AVOID when submitting your digital art:

  • DON’T submit art created with, or embedded within, MS Word, Wordperfect, Powerpoint, or Excel.
  • DON’T submit image files copied from Web pages. See if the website has a special link to download "high resolution" images, or contact info to acquire the same.
  • DON’T submit image files whose size is less than 500K. Those are almost certain to be too low in resolution.
  • DON’T submit images in the following formats: GIG, PNG, BMP, or PSD
  • DON’T edit, or resave JPEG files
  • DON’T “resample” substandard resolution files to a higher resolution via an application such as Photoshop.

Reproduction quality digital art specifications

Providing digital art which meets to following criteria will contribute to a smoother workflow and result in better looking illustrations.


Digital files must have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch = pixels per inch) at their dimension of reproduction. For example, a full-page illustration measuring 5x8 inches would need to have a minimum pixel dimension of 1500x2400 pixels. Image files which originate at a low size and resolution and which are subsequently "upsampled" to a higher resolution do not gain one iota in clarity. Keep in mind that these parameters only function for images being reproduced at original dimension or SMALLER. Images which require enlargement of a detail area must have a proportionally greater starting resolution to allow this (usually 600-1200 dpi).


Grayscale preferred, RGB or CMYK is OK.


TIFF or JPEG (saved at highest quality setting)


In order to reproduce cleanly with crisp lines and typography, these items must be provided in one of the following formats: PDF, EPS, or hi-resolution TIFF (1200 dpi or greater). We also recommend such graphics such be created in an object-oriented drawing program such as Adobe Illustrator. Graphics created in Word or Excel usually yield poor, or unusable results.

File delivery

We prefer image files be provided on a CD or USB flash drive. If necessary, the Production Department does have an upload site which can accept large files. Please contact the Production Manager, Jack Harrison, for details on accessing the upload site. However you provide the files, PLEASE PROVIDE LABELED PRINTOUTS OF ALL DIGITAL IMAGES FOR REFERENCE.