Authors - How to Submit a Proposal
The proposal materials you send us will be evaluated by Elsevier staff and, potentially, by selected external reviewers. As you prepare your proposal, think about what information you would need to know if you were making the recommendation to move forward with a proposed product.
Include the following items in your proposal:
Choose a working title that is as explicit as possible.
Aims and scope
This section is the heart of the proposal and should give us a good sense of the purpose and scope of your project. You should take time to be as detailed as possible when writing this part of your proposal. Some of the questions to answer include: Why is the book being written/product being developed? Why is it needed? What will it cover? What will be the level of depth? What is special about the style and approach? What is special about the writers and editors? Remember that the more information you provide, the better able we are to assess your project and provide feedback.
State the audience for whom the book is intended, and add any group for whom it may be of interest. Any statistics on the size of the target market are welcome.
Table of Contents
The table of contents should include part or section titles, chapter titles, appendices, and anything else that is part of the manuscript. List the chapters in the sequence in which they will appear. Devote about 30-100 words for each chapter to detail what it should cover, either by writing a synopsis or by listing headings and subheadings in outline format.
In the case of a very large project (a textbook of 20 or more chapters, for instance), one would normally have discussions with the publisher on the basis of a much less detailed outline of contents before embarking on a longer description.
Size of Project
It is important to estimate the size of your project. You may find it helpful to think in terms of the number of typewritten pages you think the book will occupy, or the number of pages it will run to when typeset, using an existing book as a yardstick. You will want to factor photos, drawings, tables or boxes into your projected page count.
Illustrations and tables
Give a brief description of the content and purpose of the illustrations and tables, and indicate roughly what proportion of the whole book you think they will make up. A sentence or two will normally cover this amply unless these elements will be a key feature in your book.
Competing and similar books
Provide a list of other titles on the same subject as your proposed book, including any you believe may be in preparation. Give the usual publication details, including the price, year of publication and number of pages each, and note each competing title's strengths and weaknesses as well as how your book would differ. You should make this review a thorough one. Not only will it demonstrate that your knowledge of the literature is up to date and complete, but it will also greatly help to give a clear picture of what you want to achieve.
Author(s) or Editor(s)
Please include the names and background of the author(s) or the editor(s) and, if known, intended contributor(s), showing who is writing what. A brief curriculum vitae of each of the editors, or the authors if it is not an edited book, together with a bibliography of published work, can be helpful.
We do not normally reveal the identity of potential authors or editors to our reviewers without first asking their permission. It is therefore preferable if the names of authors or editors are not shown on the outline itself.
Note that it is advisable not to approach contributors, unless on a very tentative and informal basis, before we invite you to do so. Until then, we are happy to regard the list of contributors as being provisional.
Be prepared to produce a sample chapter (or part of a chapter), if asked, to show the level, approach and style of writing of the whole book. We, or our reviewers, may select a particular chapter we would like to see. If so, we will ask you for this. For some books, more than one sample chapter may be needed.
Feedback from reviewers
Be prepared to rework your outline at a later stage in the light of feedback you may get from us and from our reviewers.