Guide for Authors

This guide is intended to introduce authors and prospective authors to the University of Washington Press and its publishing procedures. Although every book is unique, the following guidelines will apply to most projects. Throughout the publishing process our staff works closely with authors to realize the maximum potential of every manuscript.

The first book to bear the University of Washington Press imprint appeared in 1920. Since that time the Press has published more than 3,500 books, of which, approximately 1,200 are currently in print. We publish about 70 new titles each year. Our titles cover a wide variety of academic fields, many of which reflect the strengths of our parent university. The Press is recognized as the foremost publisher in the country on the art and culture of the Native Americans of the Northwest Coast and Alaska, and as a leader in the publication of materials dealing with the Asian American experience. Other especially distinguished lists are in anthropology, Asian studies, environmental studies, Jewish studies, and regional history and biography. In recent years, the Press has established co-publishing and distribution relationships with a growing list of art museums and other institutions around the world.

1. Submitting a Proposal

For publication consideration with the University of Washington Press, please send us a proposal that includes the materials below:

Cover letter
Proposal, including the following:
Description of your project: its scope, purpose, and contribution
Annotated table of contents
Word count, including notes and bibliography, and number and description of any illustrations
Timeline for completion
Audience and list of competing titles
Description of previously published material, if any
Your current curriculum vitae or résumé with complete contact information
Sample chapter

We welcome your proposal in hard copy or by email. Please check our staff list and send your proposal to only one acquisitions editor; if you're not sure which editor to address, send your proposal to the Editor in Chief.

UWP does not publish unrevised dissertations, but we do consider book projects that may have their origins in dissertation research. These should be recast for a broader audience and streamlined in their approach to the material, with excess documentation and literature reviews eliminated. A number of books offer excellent advice for revising dissertations; these include From Dissertation to Book, Second Edition, by William Germano (University of Chicago Press, 2013), and Revising Your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors, Updated Edition, edited by Beth Luey (University of California Press, 2007).

While most of our books are academic and trade titles written by a single author, we do publish a limited number of edited volumes. If your manuscript has more than one author, please also include a list of contributors and their affiliations with your proposal materials.

2. Submitting a Manuscript for Review

If you are invited by an acquisitions editor to submit your manuscript for review, please consult your editor for his or her preference about hard copy or electronic submissions. If illustrations are essential to the manuscript, send copies that will show the quality of your illustrative material. If you are also considering other presses, we require exclusive submission at the manuscript stage.

Once we internally evaluate your full manuscript, we may then send it out for external review to two or more experts in the field. Your editor may also offer suggestions before formal peer review. As a university press, we require successful external peer review and approval by our University of Washington Press Committee, composed of UW faculty, for each book that we publish. When submitting your manuscript for review, you're welcome to offer suggestions for potential expert evaluators for your manuscript. Our review process is anonymous to the author unless a reviewer chooses to reveal his or her identity to you.

Your editor may also ask you to complete an author's questionnaire at this point in the process. Once your manuscript has successfully passed through peer review and received UWP Committee approval, and all final revisions are complete, please follow the Final Manuscript Submission Guidelines (to come) to allow for smooth progress through the editorial, design, and production process.

3. Preparation of Manuscript and Disk

Today, most manuscripts are submitted both in hard copy (paper) and on a computer disk. Most of this section deals with disk preparation. For the hard- copy version, the main points to remember are:

(1) the hard copy must be an exact printout of the disk; (2) double-space everything, including notes, bibliography, and long quotations; (3) leave wide margins--at least one inch on all sides; and
(4) number the manuscript consecutively throughout.

The following instructions on disk preparation have been adapted from guidelines published by the Association of American University Presses.

  • Prepare your manuscript on the same system--both hardware and software--from beginning to end. On the disks themselves, note the type of computer and the word-processing program you have used.

  • The manuscript and the disk that you send to the Press must be identical. Once you have printed out the final manuscript, you should not make any further corrections to the disk. If you find you do have to make additional changes, make them on the hard copy, use a bright-colored pencil, and be sure to let your editor know that there are changes.

  • Create a new file for each chapter or other major subdivision. Front matter, bibliography, and other apparatus should be in separate files. Do not put the entire manuscript into one enormous file, which the publisher may not be able to convert.

  • Name files sequentially in the order that they will appear in the book: for example, 01contents, 02preface, 03chap1. Please include a list of the file names with the disks.

  • Use a word-processing program, not a page-layout program such as PageMaker or Quark Xpress. We prefer Word. If you are using other program, consult your editor for compatibility with our system. Unless you are preparing camera copy (see section 6), remember that the typeset book will look quite different from your manuscript hard copy. In general, the plainer the printout, the easier it will be to edit and design your book. Do not use right-hand justification or boldface or change fonts.

  • Number your manuscript consecutively from beginning to end. If your word-processing program is recalcitrant in this regard, you should use a numbering machine or number the manuscript by hand.

  • Do not use running heads.

  • Do not put "soft" hyphens at the ends of lines; i.e., don't divide words. In fact, it is best to turn off the automatic hyphenation feature on your word-processing software. The only hyphens that should appear in your manuscript are those in hyphenated compound words.

  • Double-space everything, including notes and bibliography (within as well as between entries) and long quotations. But do not put any additional space between paragraphs or between notes or bibliographical entries. Introduce an extra line space only where extra space is to appear in the book to indicate a change of topic or an abrupt break in the discussion.

  • Use the tab key, not the space bar, to indent paragraphs.

  • Begin and end all lines of poetry exactly as you want them to appear in the printed book. Indention and line breaks should follow the pattern of the original.

  • Use two hyphens for a dash. Use six hyphens to indicate the repetition of an author's name in a bibliography.

  • Capital and lowercase letters--not all caps--should be used for all chapter titles, subheads, and other elements of your manuscript that will eventually be display type.

  • Hard returns (starting a new line by using the Enter or Return key) should be used where you want a new line to appear in the printed book. Thus, they should never occur within a paragraph but only at the ends of paragraphs and at the ends of items in lists and lines of poetry.

  • Be careful not to type the lowercase "ell" for the number one or the letter "oh" for zero.

  • If there are tables in your manuscript, put them in a separate file and provide an accurate printout so that the typesetter can easily follow the format. Do not use your word processor's "table" or "column" feature to prepare table. Use tabs, not the space bar, to define columns.

  • If your manuscript has accented letters or special characters that you have either entered on your computer or written in by hand, provide a list of them and indicate how you have marked them on the hard copy or created them on disk. Bring these special characters to your editor's attention as early as possible.
4. Illustrations

Photocopies are sufficient while a manuscript is under consideration, but final, camera-ready art is needed before design and production can begin. Unless otherwise agreed, it is the author's responsibility to furnish all artwork. You should furnish the best possible quality, sharp-focus illustrations. Do not expect the printer to improve quality.

All illustrations should be numbered, preferably on the front (in the margin), in some kind of working order, keyed to the captions and to the manuscript. Furnish captions as a separate list, double-spaced, not pasted onto individual illustrations. (A typed copy of the caption may be taped onto the back of the illustration.)

To avoid damage, never write on the back of prints, never use paperclips, and never attach illustrations to manuscript pages. Package illustrations carefully with cardboard for mailing. Do not roll unless art is oversized and flexible. Oversized art should be avoided, if possible. Art that is larger than 11" x 17" may not fit in conventional scanners, is difficult to mail, and risks being damaged in handling.

Line art. If you plan to reproduce previously published maps, charts, diagrams, or other forms of line art, you should send us photocopies before having prints made so that we can check for reproducibility. Remember that the type on the original art must be large enough to be legible if reduction is necessary.

If you plan to draft original line art, or to have someone else draft it, check with the Press first, especially if you plan to use screens (Chart Pak, Zipatone, etc.). The Production Department will probably ask to see a sample before you invest time or incur expense.

Line art provided on disk must be accompanied by a printout. Furnish the Press with the name and version of the software used. Consult with us first if the softward is old or not well known. We may not be able to work with the disk. Art furnished on disk must be final; we will not make any corrections.

Sometimes authors ask the Press to arrange to have a freelance cartographer prepare their maps at their expense. In this case, the author must furnish a rough draft and a separate typed list of all place names, with like names (e.g., rivers) grouped, each name typed as many times as it appears on the map. We will give the author an estimate of the cost.

Halftones. Black and white photographs should be the highest quality you can provide. Historical photos, field photos, or any others that may be difficult to reproduce well should be discussed with the editor and/or designer. Furnish 5" x 7" or 8" x 10" glossy prints (8" x 10" for large-format books), if possible. If your color slides or transparencies are to be reproduced in black and white, better reproductions can be obtained from the original slides or transparencies than from black and white prints made from them.

The number of the illustration should be affixed to the front of the photograph, in the margins. If there is not an adequate margin, put a pretyped label on the back of the photo. Do not write directly on the back of the photo.

Color illustrations. Color should be as accurate as possible, preferably with color bars included on transparencies. Transparencies (4" x 5" or 2" x 2") are preferred to 35-mm slides for the best reproduction quality. Color prints are not desirable but can be used if they are all that is available. Transparencies should be furnished in plastic sleeves, with the pretyped number affixed to the sleeve. Slides should be furnished in slide boxes or plastic sleeves. Warning: the printer will remove slides from their mounts.

Color illustrations in digital format may not be usuable; be sure to check with your editor.

If your book is going to include both color and black and white photographs, be sure to discuss the numbering of the illustrations with your editor. Frequently, for reasons of economy, color photographs are grouped together in one or more inserts. In this case, you need two different sets of enumerations: one for the black and white photos (usually referred to as "figures") and another for the color illustrations (usually referred to as "plates").

5. Editing, Design, and Production

Your final revised manuscript and disk will be assigned to a copy editor. In-house copy editors work directly with authors. If your manuscript is assigned to a freelance copy editor, your communication will probably be with an in-house coordinating editor. The copy editor will read the entire manuscript to ensure that grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct; to impose consistency and house style in such matters as capitalization, punctuation, and treatment of foreign words; and to check the notes against the bibliography. The copy editor may also call your attention to what seem to be examples of unnecessary repetitions, unclear phrasing, faulty transitions, or verbosity. The copy editor will not attempt extensive rewriting or alteration of your basic style. Press copy editors generally follow the guidelines of the Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition). We can be flexible, however. Be sure to let your editor know if you have followed the special style of your discipline.

Whether the copy editor works on disk or on paper, you will be sent a copy of the manuscript showing any suggested revisions and accompanied by the editor's queries. Your review of the copyedited manuscript is a very important part of the publication process. This is the time to make sure that the manuscript is just as you want it. You will receive instructions on how to mark any additional changes on the manuscript and answer the editor's queries. The editor will give you a deadline for returning the edited manuscript. At this stage and throughout the production process, you must return materials promptly in order to meet the projected publication date.

When you return the edited manuscript, the copy editor will make a final check and then give it to the designer, who chooses the typeface, the paper, and the trim size of the book. The manuscript and disk go to a typesetter, who will provide first proofs. You will receive a set of proofs, along with the edited manuscript for comparison. Unless you are informed otherwise, the Press will read a duplicate set of proofs, but the primary responsibility of proofreading rests with you. A caution that will be repeated is to keep changes (except for correction of typesetter's errors) to a minimum. Alterations are costly and always raise the possibility of new errors entering the text. You will be charged for excessive alterations.

All corrections will be collated on the master proofs, which will then be returned to the typesetter. In the corrected proofs you subsequently receive, the pagination should be final. Once you have checked to make sure that all corrections have been properly made, your next task will be to prepare an index (if required). Your editor will give you instructions and will lend you a copy of the indexing manual we find most helpful.

At this point, your work should be ended. The Press will be responsible for checking index proofs and any other final revisions. The final disk will then go to the printer. Printing and binding usually take about three months for a conventional book, five months for a heavily illustrated book. Your Press editor will keep you informed about schedule.

6. Multiauthor Books

The publication of books consisting of essays by several different authors poses special problems. The Press will primarily work with the title-page editor, whose role is crucial. The title-page editor must order the essays, suggest preliminary revisions, write an Introduction that provides a proper context, and work with the contributors on any revisions proposed by the peer reviewers or Press editors.

One caution for title-page editors of books compiled from conference papers: Keep in mind that what works in an oral presentation does not always translate well to a written record. Topical references and anecdotes that may enliven the original talk often seem puzzling, inappropriate, or dated when read months or years later.

The title-page editor will receive the main contract from the Press; in most cases we will also send separate individual contracts to the contributors.

Once a multiauthor manuscript has been accepted for publication, the title-page editor should instruct the contributors about the preparation of both the hard copy and disk versions of their essays (see section 2). It is the title-page editor's responsibility to prepare one disk that includes all the essays treated as separate files in the same word-processing program. To expedite copyediting, the title-page editor should impose consistency in headings and subheadings, citation format, tabular material, treatment of foreign terms, captions, etc. Unless other arrangements have been made, the contributors should submit any proposed illustrations in photocopy form. The title-page editor will work with the Press editor and designer in making a final selection of illustrations and will then ask the contributors to provide reproduction-quality prints. (Please refer to section 3.)

The Press editor will send the copyedited manuscript to the title-page editor, along with a photocopy version to be sent to the contributors. The title-page editor is responsible for transferring the contributors' corrections and changes to the master version of the edited manuscript and for handling any final queries that the copy editor may have. It is important to establish, and enforce, a deadline by which the contributors must return their essays. The manuscript will not go to a designer and typesetter until all the papers are in hand, and one delinquent contributor can wreak havoc on a production schedule.

The title-page editor will receive two sets of first proofs, one of which is to be sent to the contributors. The contributors should return the proofs of their essays to the title-page editor, who will transfer any corrections to the master proofs. Again, meeting a deadline is important. Unless special arrangements have been made, second proofs go only to the title-page editor, who also has the responsibility of preparing the index.

7. Camera-ready Copy

Most University of Washington Press books are typeset by professional compositors, who typically use the disk provided by the author. Occasionally, however, for certain reasons an author may be asked to provide camera-ready copy (typed pages formatted to appear like the final printed pages). For example, a manuscript may be unusually long, or may contain special characters, or may be addressed to a very small audience, making the cost of publishing in the traditional manner prohibitive. If you are asked to prepare camera-ready copy, your editor and a member of the production staff will provide instructions, and it is important for them to have an opportunity to review your sample pages. If you would like to know more about this option, please contact your editor.

8. Permissions

It is the author's responsibility to secure written permission for the reproduction of any material owned by others, beyond what is covered by "fair use." According to the Chicago Manual of Style (4.75-4.84), fair use "allows authors to quote from other authors' work or to reproduce small amounts of graphic or pictorial material for purposes of review or criticism or to buttress their own points." Use of any literary work in its entirety does not constitute fair use. It is also the author's responsibility to pay any permissions fees.

9. Marketing

The publishing process is not complete until the book reaches its audience. Our books are marketed by our own sales staff and by independent sales representatives; through announcement in a seasonal catalogue; through space advertising and direct mail; through review copies; through display at exhibits; and through our Web site. From the time a manuscript has been accepted for publication, members of the Marketing Department work closely with the editor and designer. When your manuscript is ready to go into production, you will receive a marketing questionnaire that will describe these activities in more detail and will solicit your ideas and suggestions. It is important that authors be actively engaged in the marketing of their book, helping the Press identify appropriate reviewers and avenues of promotion and suggesting specific courses and instructors where text adoption is possible or likely.

10. Suggestions for Further Reading
  • The Association of American University Presses Directory. New York: AAUP, published annually. A directory to more than 100 university presses in the United States, Canada, and overseas, including addresses, phone and fax numbers, names and responsibilities of key staff, fields of publication, and advice on submission of manuscripts.
  • Chicago Guide to Preparing Electronic Manuscripts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style. 15th edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. The "Bible" for university press copy editors. Also includes information on manuscript preparation, copyright, rights and permissions, manufacture, etc.
  • Eckersley, Richard, et al. Glossary of Typesetting Terms. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  • Fowler, H. W. The New Fowler's Modern English Usage. 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. The most recent edition of a classic work.
  • Garner, Bryan A. Garner's Modern American Usage. 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Germano, William. Getting It Published. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
  • Harmon, Eleanor, and Ian Montagnes. The Thesis and the Book: A Guide for First-Time Academic Authors. 2nd edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Practical tips on transforming a dissertation into a publishable book.
  • Journal of Scholarly Publishing. This journal, published quarterly by the University of Toronto Press, is directed to authors as well as to publishers.
  • Literary Market Place. New York: R. R. Bowker, published annually. Includes information on 2,500 major publishers and hundreds of small presses, cross- referenced geographically and by subject area; also lists literary agents and other publishing-related services.
  • Luey, Beth. Handbook for Academic Authors. 4th edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Gives excellent advice on preparing and submitting a manuscript, on contracts, and on selecting and working with a publisher, etc.
  • Smith, Datus. A Guide to Book Publishing. Revised edition. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1989. Basic information about the publication process.
  • Strunk, W., Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 4th edition. New York: Longman, 2000. The classic guide to achieving a clear writing style.
  • Walker, Janice R., and Todd Taylor. The Columbia Guide to Online Style. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.
11. Author's Questionnaire

Authors submitting manuscripts to the Press will be asked to fill out an author's questionnaire. This questionnaire is available in an electronic version that you can complete and return by e-mail or mail to the Press.