Stay informed: Sign up for eNews Subscribe

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 the Right 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 or poetry, children's books, religious inspiration or revelation, Festschriften, conference volumes, unrevised dissertations, or autobiographies. View our list of acquisitions editors.

Craft Your Proposal

Your submission should include a short email giving a concise description of your project, your CV or resume, a sample chapter or two (if available), and most importantly, 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. Please see the guidelines below.

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 in the body of the email. Please also attach to that email: your CV or resume, a sample chapter or two (if available), and a proposal. We can only accept materials sent digitally. Please do not send fully drafted manuscripts.

Due to the sheer volume of queries we receive, editors will do their best to respond within 8–10 weeks. If you have not received a response after 10 weeks, please feel free to follow up with the editor. Please do not query more than one UC Press editor, as this slows the process; if an editor feels your project might be of interest to other editors, they will share it with them directly. 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 and request any additional materials, if necessary. When we determine the project is ready, we will then commission outside reviewers to read and evaluate your proposal materials and/or manuscript.

What Should Be In Your Proposal?

At UC Press, we ask to see a proposal for all projects. The proposal is an important way to establish your vision for the book and set out your goals for what you want this book to achieve. It allows UC Press staff to assess the project’s fit with the mission and operations of the organization. This document also serves as a foundation for discussions about audience and whether the proposed project is written for the intended audience; how the press can collaborate with the author to reach readers; where the book fits into the market; and how UC Press can best utilize its resources to develop the project and get it to where it needs to go. If the editor is interested and decides to move forward, the document will also circulate among our internal staff and stakeholders and may go out to peer reviewers.

Please be sure to include all of the information below, as it is critical for evaluating your project and its fit for the program.

  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. Chapter Outline/Table of Contents

    Include a detailed outline of the book with paragraph-length descriptions of each chapter. Show what each chapter contributes to the logic of your argument, and how the chapters relate to one another. Indicate which chapters (if any) are derived from previously published material.

  3. 3. Apparatus/Illustrative Materials

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

    If you intend to include illustrations in your book, please specify the proposed number of images (including photographs, line drawings, charts/graphs, tables, music examples, screen grabs, etc.) and explain the rationale for including them. It is important to make clear how these images will be integrated into your argument. Please include a separate PDF of sample illustrations with your materials (do not embed images in the proposal or manuscript).

    Will the book include legal cases, mathematical equations, glossaries, filmography, transcriptions, appendices, etc.? If so, please describe these elements and indicate how many of each.

  4. 4. Audience

    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?

    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?

  5. 5. Comparable & Competing Publications

    Describe existing books in this field that have been published in the past 3–5 years and discuss their strengths and weaknesses. Spell out how your work expands on existing coverage and proposed publication differs from these 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?

    If book chapters have been or will be published elsewhere, please indicate how many chapters and where they will appear. Please also explain how the previously published material differs from versions that will appear in the book.

    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.

    For any books that are based on dissertations, please provide two to three paragraphs describing how the book project expands upon the research in the dissertation and refines the conclusions reached in it. We need to understand how the book will be substantially different from the dissertation.

  7. 7. Author Information

    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.

  8. 8. Peer Review

    As part of our mission to amplify diverse perspectives and represent an inclusive spectrum of voices, please provide five to ten names of a diverse pool of scholars with the relevant expertise to evaluate your project for its intended audience. Please include their names, titles, affiliations, and email addresses. (For more on peer reviews, see the best practices outlined by the Association of University Presses here.) We will seek to use some of these suggestions, along with reviewers of our own selection.