How to Work with a Scholarly Press: Submitting a Proposal

How to Work with a Scholarly Press: Submitting a Proposal

Posted by Whitney Feininger, Assistant Editor, Literary Studies

Think of a proposal as a formal introduction of you and your scholarly work to Ashgate.

Most proposals are delivered to us by email and are evaluated by the relevant commissioning editor. After reviewing it, the commissioning editor will make a decision about whether or not your project is suitable for Ashgate and about sending out materials for review.  Our proposal guidelines and commissioning editors’ email addresses are listed on our website.

As commissioning editors receive quite a bit of correspondence from authors, the more well-organized and thorough a proposal you submit, the more attention and serious consideration it is likely to receive.  Here are some qualities of a good proposal, contributed by our commissioning staff, to help you craft the best possible submission.

-If you are submitting your proposal by email, it is a good idea to put your name, the book’s title, and ‘proposal’ in the subject line. This will help your proposal stand out from the myriad of emails commissioning editors receive.

-Include a table of contents as well as a contents list that includes a short abstract of each chapter.

-Submit the proposal as a Word document and not as a .pdf.  Commissioning editors need to transfer information from the proposal into our internal database and this is difficult when working with a .pdf.

-Include a copy of your CV and full contact details (email, mailing address, and phone #).

-If you are proposing an edited collection, provide contributor biographies.

-Don’t forget the nuts and bolts:  the proposed number of illustrations or tables and the estimated word count.

-Provide a brief abstract or “elevator pitch” for your book – be able to convey what your book is about, its originality, and its place within existing literature in well under 500 words.

This is the first post in a new occasional series on our blog: “How to Work with a Scholarly Press”

These posts will feature different aspects of the publishing process and advice from our commissioning, desk editorial, and marketing staff.  Our hope is to educate authors about practical issues on an every day basis as well as empower authors to deliver a better and more complete manuscript and book proposal and ensure an effective and smooth process.

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