It’s one of the most exciting moments in a professional career. You have a new idea for a book that you think could make a real difference to your discipline. The first step from idea to book: Proposal preparation.
At ISCI, your Commissioning Editor will be a subject specialist, and you can contact them directly with your proposal. The proposal gives them key information to get the process started. And to make sure you give them everything they need, we’ve put together this checklist.
Our main piece of advice? Think about the who, the what, the why and the how.
- Subject discipline
- Provisional title (and subtitle, if any)
Who will be writing the book?
- Your name
- Your position and affiliation
- Your CV (Also include brief bios for any co-authors or contributing authors)
- Your contact details:
- Work phone
- Mailing address
What are you writing?
- Type of publication. What audience are you writing for? Will this be a reference book, or a textbook?
- Overview. This is where you explain the publication’s objective, and what it will be about. Think about:
- What’s your vision? How will this book benefit the academic community you work in?
- Why would someone buy this book? How your selection of topics or treatment of the subject will encourage readers to buy the publication.
- What’s special about it? Think about what makes your book unique, its major themes and approach.
- How will it make a difference? Explain the unmet needs in your discipline, and the challenges you’re trying to address.
- Table of contents. Include chapters and subdivisions within chapters, plus any special materials to be included in the appendices.
- Sample materials. If you’ve already produced a sample chapter, please include it. It will really help us to understand the proposed publication. If you have published other articles and books, please attach a list of those materials as well.
- If you are proposing a reference work, please also include details about the frequency of any planned updates
Why are you writing this? Who is this for?
- So that we can consider how best to position your book, it would be great to know a little about the market need. Why is there a need for your proposed publication? Have there been changes in your field to cause a need for it, or is there a gap in the existing literature that needs to be filled?
- Please also tell us about the primary market. Who needs your book? Indicate the audience(s) for this material (e.g. academic/research, graduate students, professionals). Be as specific as possible. If the book is aimed at graduate students, please indicate whether it is a primary or supplemental text.
- Any information about the secondary market should be included; this should be a list of groups with an occasional need for this material. Who might need your book?
- List in order of importance any professional societies or organizations that are likely to be part of the readership for your book.
- If you know of any similar publications to the one you propose, this is really helpful information for us. Think about their weaknesses and strengths, and how your publication stands out.
How you’re planning to structure the manuscript
- How many words do you anticipate to fully cover your topic? How many pages of appendixes?
- Timetable: Evaluate how this project fits into your other professional commitments and give us your best estimate for completing and delivering the final manuscript and supporting materials (e.g. content for a website, permissions correspondence).
Once you’ve worked out the who, the what, the why and the how, it’s time to submit your proposal.