Sample Book Proposal Guidelines


In preparing your proposal, bear in mind that the publisher needs to know as much as possible about your book, its scope, its intended audience, and how the publisher can promote the book to that audience. The publisher also needs to be convinced that you can write with authority, accuracy, and clarity, and that you can present what you have to say in a way that will be of use, of interest, and of importance to  your readers.

With this in mind, your proposal should include four items:

1.  A PROSPECTUS describing your intentions;

2. A detailed TABLE OF CONTENTS;

3. From two to four SAMPLE CHAPTERS that demonstrate the clarity and precision of your prose and the appeal of your expository strategy; and

4. An up-to-date VITA.

Such a proposal should provide Lawrence Erlbaum Associates sufficient evidence for a publishing decision.

1. The PROSPECTUS should include the following:

  1. Brief Description: In one or two paragraphs, describe the work, its rationale, approach, and pedagogy.
  2. Outstanding Features: List briefly what you consider to be the outstanding, distinctive, or unique features of the work.
  3. Competition: Consider the existing books in this field and discuss their strengths and weaknesses individually and specifically. This material is written for reviewers and not for publication, so please be as frank as possible. You should describe how your book will be similar to, as well as different from, the competition, in style, topical coverage, and depth. If significant books are now available, you should explain why you choose to write another book in this area. Please mention all pertinent titles, even if they compete with only a part of your book.
  4. Apparatus:
    1. Will the book include examples, cases, questions, problems, glossaries, bibliography, references, appendices, etc.?
    2. Do you plan to provide supplementary material (solutions, answers, workbook, laboratory manual or other material) to accompany the book?
  5. Audience:
    1. For whom is the book intended (the lay public, professionals, students, etc.)?
    2. In what discipline or disciplines?
    3. Is it primarily descriptive or quantitative, elementary or rigorous, etc.?
    4. Prerequisites, if any (mathematical level, if any applicable)?
  6. Market Considerations: What kind of person will buy the book, and why? What new information will the book give them to justify its cost? What is your estimate of the total market for the book? If you are aware of professional organization or mailing lists that would be useful in promoting the book, please mention them.
  7. Status of the Book:
    1. What portion of the material is now complete?
    2. When do you expect to have your manuscript completed?
    3. How long a book do you plan (in double-spaced typed pages)?
    4. How many and what sort of figures (e.g. drawings, half- tones, charts, etc.) do you plan?
  8. Reviewers: We may use reviewers of our own choice, but we will also try to include some whose opinion you feel will be valuable.

Can you suggest any? If the book has several distinct markets, try to recommend at least one reviewer for each. Naturally, we do not reveal the names of our reviewers without their permission. If you desire, we will submit the material to the reviewers anonymously.


The TABLE OF CONTENTS should be complete and detailed. Explanatory notes should be included as necessary. This enables the reviewers to understand the structure and content of the manuscript.


SAMPLE CHAPTERS should be in sufficiently good condition to allow a valid assessment of your capability, but they need not be in final form. You should include rough sketches of all necessary figures. Ideally, about one-fourth of the work should be submitted, but the chapters need not be in sequence. It is advisable to submit any chapter that is particularly innovative. The material submitted should reflect your writing style and pedagogy in the best possible light.

4.  VITA

A VITA outlining your education, previous publications, and professional experience is needed.

With this material in hand, we can make a prompt publishing decision on your proposal, and both you and we can be certain that we are in agreement on the nature of the book contracted. Please feel free to call us if you have any further questions. Good luck and we look forward to receiving your material.


Casanave, C. P., & Vandrick, S. (Eds.). (2003).Writing for scholarly publication: Behind the scenes in language education. Routledge.

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