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Home / Books / Information for Authors / What your proposal should include



Please do not submit your full manuscript unless requested. Instead, send your curriculum vitae or résumé together with a prospectus responding to the questions below. We would also welcome the introductory chapter and one (but not more than one) additional chapter.

Your proposal and accompanying materials should be submitted to the appropriate acquisitions editor as Word or PDF attachments via email. If you choose to submit a hard copy of your proposal via mail, please be aware it is not our policy to return or retain proposals or manuscripts.

Your prospectus

Your prospectus should give UW Press staff, most of whom will not be specialists in your area, a clear sense of what your planned book will achieve, what audiences it will appeal to, and what its publication will entail. You need not follow the exact sequence below, but please be sure to respond to all questions that pertain to your particular project.

Basic description

In a few paragraphs, explain the essence of your proposed book. What is the main point you want to make? What findings do you want to share, or what untold story do you want to tell? How will your book add new knowledge, new breadth, a new perspective, or a new approach to the topic? Do you draw on previously untapped sources? Does your book intersect with public debates or current issues? How will it contribute to existing work in the field? Why might the University of Wisconsin Press be a good fit for your work? Is your book appropriate for one of our active series?

Chapter-by-chapter outline

Under the title of each chapter, offer a paragraph summarizing its contents. If this is a work of scholarship, make clear how each chapter serves to support and advance the book’s central thesis.

Audience and market

Who, principally, will buy and read your book? What other readers might it attract? Does it include insights of interest to people outside your own field—scholars in intersecting areas or intelligent readers beyond academe? Would your book lend itself well to use in college-level courses? If so, in what courses and at what level(s) of instruction? What are typical enrollment numbers for such courses? Would professors be likely to assign the book as required reading? Might they assign it as optional reading? What books already exist on the topic, and what will set your book apart from these competing or complementary titles? What special promotional activities might you be willing to undertake, and what would you expect your publisher to undertake?


Please make us aware of any considerations related to editing and production. What is the expected length of the manuscript (in either words or double-spaced pages), including notes, bibliography, appendixes, and any other textual matter? Would the book benefit significantly from the inclusion of illustrations, maps, tables, or other graphics? If so, approximately how many do you envision, and do you have or can you easily obtain the rights to use these materials? Is this a book that would call for special typographical features, such as boxed text or notes in a side margin? Do you foresee accompanying audio or visual materials, and if so, in what format?


Share with us any background that may affect the publication prospects of your proposed book. Has your manuscript, or any part of it, already been made available to the public, in print or digital form? If the work contains translated material, have you ascertained the availability of the English-language rights? Did the manuscript begin as a dissertation? If so, how have you revised it to attract the much larger audience needed for a book? (If your manuscript began as a dissertation, we urge you to consult one or more of the following guides before submitting your work to us: From Dissertation to Book, by William Germano, University of Chicago Press; The Thesis and the Book: A Guide for First-Time Academic Authors, ed. by Eleanor Harman et al., University of Toronto Press; and Revising Your Dissertation: Advice from Leading Editors, ed. by Beth Luey, University of California Press.)

Current status

Is another publisher presently considering your manuscript? If so, has that publisher invited it for peer review? Is your manuscript finished yet? If not, when do you estimate that you will have a complete draft ready to share?

Contact information

Be sure to provide complete contact information (name, address, telephone number, e-mail, and fax if any) for yourself and any coauthors/coeditors.

Additional Content

You are welcome to include other information that you believe may help us better understand your project, including illustrations. However, we ask that you avoid sending overly large files via email. Within your proposal, please refrain from suggesting the names of possible peer reviewers, providing links to supplemental reading, or including testimonials from friends or colleagues.

We aim to respond as promptly as possible, but sometimes conference travel, vacations, or other responsibilities can cause delays. If you haven’t received a response within 2-3 weeks from the date of your submission, please feel free to contact us to ensure your earlier message arrived safely.