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Book Proposal Guidelines

UC Press considers manuscripts from the world's foremost scholars, writers, artists, and public intellectuals. We invite submissions from prospective authors via the following process:

Find Your Acquisitions Editor

Determine the best fit for your proposed title by reviewing our editors' areas of acquisition. Note that we do not generally publish new fiction, children's books, religious inspiration or revelation, Festschriften, conference volumes, unrevised dissertations, or autobiographies. View our list of acqusitions editors.

Submit Your Proposal

If an acquisitions editor responds with a request for a book proposal, please follow the proposal guidelines below.

While UC Press editors prefer electronic submissions, you may send hard copy proposals to [editor's name] at the UC Press mailing address. If you would like your materials returned after consideration, please state this in writing and include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Do not send original art.

Email the Editor

Send the appropriate acquisitions editor a single query with a brief description of the proposed book and the book's intended audience. The editor will indicate if they wish to review a formal proposal or full manuscript.

Due to the volume of queries, editors may take 4–6 weeks to respond. Please do not query more than one UC Press editor, as this slows the process. We appreciate your patience.

The Review Process

After receiving your proposal, the editor will carefully review all materials. If your project is a good fit for UC Press, we will notify you of our interest, request any additional materials, and commission outside reviewers to read and evaluate your proposal.

Due to the sheer volume of proposals we receive, UC Press may take up to four months to respond. During the waiting period, our editors do not accept phone queries regarding the status of your proposal.

What Should Be In Your Proposal?

Your submission should include a letter of introduction, your CV or resume, a sample chapter or two, and a proposal that gives UC Press editors and marketing staff—most of whom will not be specialists in your area—a clear and detailed idea of what your book will be about. Although there is no set format, a good proposal typically includes:

  1. 1. Brief Description

    Describe the proposed work in no more than three paragraphs. This description should identify the intended audience, explain the book's purpose and how it will be achieved, and highlight the work's outstanding, distinctive, or unique features. Please also include the relevant themes, arguments, contribution to scholarship, and place in the literature.

  2. 2. Market Consideration

    Who is the intended reader?

    Scholars or specialists: Are these in your field, in a particular area of a larger field, or in an emerging field with little to no coverage?

    Students: Is the book intended for use in the classroom? What course is it for? What level of preparation (major or non-major; freshman, senior, graduate) do the students have? Are most required readings from scholarly texts or a textbook with pedagogical features? What are the key learning outcomes for the course? Are there any trends changing the way faculty teach and students learn in the course?

    General readers: How will the topic's relevance and currency appeal to readers without specialized knowledge in the field?

  3. 3. Outline/Table of Contents

    Include a detailed outline of the book with paragraph-length descriptions of each chapter.

  4. 4. Apparatus/Illustrative Materials

    Estimate the total word count of the completed book, including the main text, footnotes, bibliography, and any appendices.

    Approximately how many photographs and/or line drawings (charts, graphs, diagrams, etc.) do you plan to include? If illustrations are planned, please send photocopies of sample art. Do not send original photographs, artwork, negatives, or any materials that are irreplaceable.

    Will the book include cases, questions, problems, glossaries, bibliography, references, appendices, etc.? If so, please describe and indicate how many of each.

  5. 5. Comparable & Competing Volumes

    Describe existing books in this field and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Spell out how your coverage expands on existing coverage and differs from other books. Please discuss each book in a separate paragraph and provide the publisher and date of publication.

    For works with a primarily scholarly audience, discuss your project's place in the current scholarship and its distinctive contribution. If no other books address your particular topic, explain how exploring that topic advances current scholarly discussions.

    For works that will be used in the classroom for a primarily student audience, discuss how your project’s coverage, approach, scholarship, or pedagogy provides a different perspective on how the topic is taught.

    For works meant for general readers, discuss your project’s unique perspective and outline how it can be differentiated from other titles covering this topic. Consider sharing your “elevator pitch” — two to three sentences that describe what’s special about your project.

  6. 6. Status of the Work

    What portion of the material is now complete? When do you expect to have a complete manuscript?

    Do you plan to include material requiring permission (text, music, lyrics, illustrations)? To what extent? Have you started the permissions request process?

    If your work is intended for use in the classroom, have you or other instructors assigned your materials to students? If yes, please describe the process and what you learned.

  7. 7. Reviews

    Please provide names and contact details for three to four people you feel would competently review your material and whose opinion you value. We will seek to use some of these, along with reviewers of our own selection.

  8. 8. Author Platform

    Tell us more about yourself and your ability to reach readers inside and outside the academy. Do you write for popular publications? Do you maintain a large social media following? Do you teach a course on which the book is based? Do you give talks or media appearances? How might marketing efforts leverage your networks to maximize interest in the book?

    Additionally, please indicate if you identify as a first-generation scholar—the first in your family to receive a college degree—in order to benefit from the resources offered through our FirstGen Program, should your project be approved for a contract.