Proposal Submission Guidelines

The University of Massachusetts Press publishes scholarly books and serious nonfiction by both established and new authors. Our editors actively encourage the submission of book proposals and make a point of responding promptly to all inquiries.

Before submitting a proposal, you should determine that we are an appropriate publisher for your work. Please note that we consider fiction and poetry only through our annual Juniper Prize for Fiction and Juniper Prize for Poetry competitions. We do not publish festschriften, conference proceedings, or unrevised doctoral dissertations.

Please send your proposal materials to either Mary Dougherty, Matt Becker, or Brian Halley, but not to all. Their addresses are listed below. If one editor thinks a project is better suited to the other, it will be forwarded. You may send an initial inquiry via e-mail, but please make it brief and do not include long attachments.

When submitting a full proposal, be sure to include the following: (1) a cover letter describing the content and focus of the book, (2) a table of contents or chapter outline, (3) the approximate length of the manuscript, measured in words, (4) your sense of the potential audience for the work, including any courses for which the book might be adopted, (5) your timetable for completing the manuscript if it is not already completed, and (6) information about your professional background and qualifications, including previous publications. Also, if available, please provide the Introduction or a sample chapter, and examples or descriptions of any artwork, including the total number of illustrations proposed (there is no need to send originals at this stage). 

If you are submitting this project to more than one publisher, please say so. Do not submit your complete manuscript unless invited to do so by an editor.


If you would like your manuscript to be considered for inclusion in one of our series, please inform the acquisitions editor. Books included in series must be approved by the series editors. No book is included in a series without the author's consent. You can find a list of our series and series editors here.

Edited collections

We occasionally publish edited collections of essays if they are timely, cohesive, and concise. We prefer collections that are original (few if any previously published contributions) and consistently styled and formatted. If submitting a proposal for an essay collection, please include brief bios of all contributors.

The review process

Before a manuscript can be accepted for publication it must be approved by our faculty editorial board, the University Press Committee. Contracts are generally offered following board approval, although sometimes an advance contract will be offered at an earlier stage.

Our acquisitions editors carefully review all proposals and manuscripts submitted to the Press. If the preliminary review indicates that a work is not appropriate for our list, the editor will so inform the author. If the manuscript seems a promising possibility, the editor will send it to one or more outside experts for evaluation. These reviewers typically offer helpful suggestions for improvement and recommend for or against publication. Sometimes they recommend acceptance contingent upon particular revisions, and the author is invited to respond to those suggestions.

The process of obtaining outside reviews can be time-consuming, since the scholars the Press consults have many demands on their time, but we try to move expeditiously. It usually takes three to four months to complete this review process, at which point the project is presented to the University Press Committee for approval. 

Time frame for publication

A well-written manuscript can enter the publication stream in as little as four to five months from the date of initial submission, although much depends on the response of the outside reviewers and the author’s willingness to make any necessary revisions in a timely manner. If extensive revisions are called for, the time frame expands accordingly. The acquisitions editor guides the author through the process of final revision, which may involve cuts and condensation. We encourage our authors to be clear and concise, to avoid jargon, and to make the manuscript no longer than it needs to be. Brevity is almost always a virtue.

Prior to final submission, the managing editor, Carol Betsch, will review a sample chapter in electronic form and may request further changes in accordance with our manuscript and art guidelines.

On average, it takes about a year from the submission of a final manuscript to the publication of a book. We do our best to keep the author informed about the progress of the manuscript as it makes its way through the publication process.

University of Massachusetts Press acquisitions editors

Mary Dougherty, Director
University of Massachusetts Press
East Experiment Station
671 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003 

Matt Becker, Executive Editor
University of Massachusetts Press
East Experiment Station
671 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003 

Brian Halley, Senior Editor
University of Massachusetts Press
Provost Office / Quinn Building
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125