Book proposal guidelines

Photograph of bookshop shelves and lightbulbs

Edinburgh University Press is pleased to consider proposals for books that fit the subject areas we are actively developing.

Our subject areas

  • Classics & Ancient History
  • Film Studies
  • Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies
  • Language & Linguistics
  • Law
  • Literary Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Scottish Studies

Types of book that we publish

Edinburgh University Press publishes monographs, edited collections, textbooks, reference books and critical editions of original works.

Scholarly monograph

  • Written for academics and researchers in the field.
  • Based on original scholarly research that makes a notable contribution to the subject.

We will only consider monographs based on PhD theses where:

  • The author has a journal publication track record and shows exceptional academic promise.
  • The work has been appropriately revised as a book and will appeal to academics and researchers working in the field.

Edited collection of essays

  • Have been planned to be coherent books with a unifying focus.
  • Each essay must speak to the key themes of the volume.
  • Includes an introduction by the editors that defines the scope of the collection.
  • We do not publish conference proceedings.


  • Designed as the main course text on a recognised course taught at a range of institutions.
  • Aimed at students with little or no prior knowledge of the subject.
  • Introduces or synthesises (and may also intervene in) the subject.
  • Textbooks have an extra review stage where the proposal is sent out to a number of lecturers currently teaching the subject, to provide feedback on whether it is suitable for course use.

Reference work

  • Written for students and researchers at all levels.
  • A dictionary, companion or encyclopaedia.
  • Collects together, summarises, defines or significantly adds to scholarship on a focused area of study.

Preparing your book proposal

Proposals should be around 10 pages (excluding CV and sample material).

Please save your book proposal as a Word document and include the following information. This will help us to review your proposal and reply to you promptly.


  • A good title is vital for the marketing of your book.
  • The main title should be short and clear, and communicate what your book is about.
  • Subtitles can add more information.
  • Include keywords in your title and subtitle to help readers to discover your book – think about the words people might use in search engines like Google to find your book.


  • Your name, affiliation and brief biography, together with the names, affiliations and brief biography of anyone else who is an author, editor or translator of the book.


  • Summarise your book in 10–15 words.
  • Don’t repeat the title or subtitle.
  • You can use a statement or a question.
  • If you are using a statement, use the active voice: for example, ‘studies’ rather than ‘a study of’.

For example:

  • Statement using active voice: Studies the transformation of Russian domestic politics and foreign policy under Vladimir Putin
  • Question: What is the logical relationship between modern law and power?


  • One paragraph – around 150 words – describing the main purpose of your book: what it is about, why it is important and how it will benefit the reader.
  • Use plain English and avoid clichés and overused words (e.g. accessible, comprehensive, path-breaking, original, novel, innovative and groundbreaking). Instead, show how your book is new and exciting through your description of the content.

Key features and benefits

  • A brief bullet-pointed list of the distinctive qualities and benefits of your book.
  • Be precise and give examples: what are the case studies about? Which primary sources does it draw on? Who does it engage with? If it is interdisciplinary, which disciplines does it bring together?
  • Each key feature should be one statement.

For example:

  • ‘Discusses cases from Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada, Québec, Spain, Catalonia, Québec and several Latin American cases’
  • ‘Provocatively rereads the history of continental philosophy after World War II’
  • ‘Based on primary sources including newly discovered records from the Court of Session’
  • ‘Brings together leading researchers from a range of disciplinary areas – literary criticism, history, law and philosophy’


  • A list of around 6 keywords that cover the central ideas of your book.
  • Think about what people might type into a search engine if they wanted to find out about the subject of your book.
  • Try to find a balance: not too general but not too specific.
  • Do include the keywords from your title and subtitle.
  • These keywords help our marketing team to classify your book for bookshops and libraries, and will also form a list of clickable keywords on our website that connect books on similar subjects.

Some sample keyword lists are:

  • Virginia Woolf; women’s history; 20th-century politics; social class; gender studies
  • Scottish Enlightenment; David Hume; Commercial Society; Adam Smith; Adam Ferguson

Short synopsis of the aims, scope, argument and approach of the book

  • Which subject area or areas does your book fit into?
  • How will you approach and present the topics?
  • How will your book be structured?
  • Which themes, concepts and ideas do you develop?
  • How deep is the coverage? Is it an overview or an in-depth study?
  • What will be included and what will be left out, and why?

Chapter-by-chapter description of content and form

  • The table of contents.
    • Make sure that all chapter titles – including the introduction and conclusion – have keywords that describe the chapter, so that the chapter title stands alone without needing any more information to say what it is about.
  • The main sub-headings, where appropriate.
  • A paragraph outlining the content of each chapter – including the introduction and conclusion.
  • A list of the key authors, texts, case studies or examples covered by that chapter.
  • The estimated word count for each chapter.

Category of book and readership level

What type of book are you proposing?

  • Monograph
  • Edited collection
  • Textbook
  • Reference work
  • Critical edition

What level of reader is your book suitable for?

  • 1st and 2nd year undergraduate students
  • Upper-level undergraduate students
  • Postgraduate students
  • Academics, scholars and researchers


  • Who will read your book? What level will they be at: undergraduate, postgraduate, academic?
  • What is the primary subject area that your book is aimed at? Will it appeal to people in any other subject areas?
  • Which courses could your book be used on?
  • Is your book particularly relevant in certain countries?

Special requirements for textbooks

For textbooks, include information about the courses that might adopt the book as a primary course text:

  • University/Institution
  • Course title
  • Course level
  • Number of students (if known)
  • Name of course leader (if known)

Competing and comparable books

  • Please list 3–5 competing or comparable books published in the last 5 years.
  • Include the title, author, publisher, publication year, price and number of pages.
  • Think of these as forming the basis of a recommendation: ‘if you liked these books, you’ll also like my book’.
  • Competing books are on the same subject, which people might buy instead of your book.
  • Comparable books are on a similar subject, which people might buy as well as your book.
  • Competing and comparable books should be of the same book type (e.g. monograph, textbook) and aimed at a similar readership.
  • Tell us what distinguishes your book – why should people buy your book instead or as well?

Comparable Edinburgh University Press titles

  • Give two examples of comparable Edinburgh University Press books to show how your book fits into our publishing programme.

Word count

  • Include any preface, acknowledgements, notes, bibliography and appendices.
  • Do not include the index.

Writing schedule to delivery of complete typescript

  • Indicate when you confidently expect to deliver your completed, final manuscript.
  • Writing often takes longer than our authors expect – please be realistic with your estimate!
  • Include a writing schedule.

Sample material

  • Supply a sample chapter or other published material related to your proposed book.
  • A sample chapter is required if this is your first authored book.
  • Samples should be supplied as Word documents.

Research funding

  • Does the research on which your book is based (or, for edited collections, the research on which any of the chapters is based) acknowledge UKRI funding or any other source of funding? If so, please provide brief details.



  • A list of relevant publications.
  • Your full postal address.
  • Contact telephone numbers.
  • Your email address.

Peer review

  • List 8 specialist readers whom it would be appropriate for us to approach for an academic opinion about your proposal.
  • While it is important to include the key people in your field, the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are important to Edinburgh University Press so please consider this when making your suggestions.
  • Include names, institutions and email addresses.
  • Do not include colleagues from your institution, your PhD supervisor or examiners.

Edited collections – special requirements

  • Names and affiliations of suggested contributors.
  • Whether the contributors have agreed to contribute.
  • Title, synopsis and word count for each proposed chapter.
  • The quality control and editing procedures that you will adopt as the editor.
  • The principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are important to Edinburgh University Press; please be sure that the contributors to your volume reflect this.

Books with illustrations (including tables and charts) – special requirements

For books with illustrations, please include the following information:

  • A brief statement about why illustrations are essential to accompany the text.
  • The illustration type. For example: photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams, graphs, charts, figures or tables.
  • The number of illustrations in each chapter.
  • Any funding to cover copyright permissions costs.
  • Any funding to cover colour printing costs (otherwise, illustrations will be printed in black and white).
  • See our Illustration Submission Guidelines for more information.

Books with additional online resources – special requirements

We are happy to discuss including additional resources that can be hosted on our website. We advise that you only suggest extra resources where these add benefits that a book alone cannot provide. For example, resources could be teaching guides; student exercises; data sets; links to websites; images; video or audio files. Email your editor before submitting your book proposal to discuss additional resources and they’ll let you know what you need to put in your proposal.

Reproducing material in copyright

If you plan to include material in copyright that requires permission to be cleared (e.g. substantial prose extracts), let us know whether you have secured and paid for the necessary permissions or have access to funds in order to do so.

Open Access requirements

Submit your book proposal

Email your book proposal as a Word document, together with your sample material, to the commissioning editor for your subject.

We ask for sole consideration of the project while it is under review.

If you have any questions about your book proposal, contact the commissioning editor for your subject and we’ll be happy to help.

We look forward to receiving your book proposal, and good luck!

What happens next?