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Book Proposal Guidelines

Your proposal should give our Acquisitions Editors a clear and detailed idea of what your book will be about and who it is for. Successful proposals usually include:

  • A narrative description of the proposed book’s themes, arguments, goals, and place in the literature. What problem are you solving? What story are you telling?

  • An explanation of the audience you have in mind. Is your book for specialists in your field or for general readers? Is it a book that students might use, and if so, students at what level?

  • A comparison of the proposed book to existing books for a similar audience. (A specialized monograph should be compared to other monographs, for example.) How is your book different?

  • A summary of your professional experience, past publications, and relevant research. Why are you the right author for the book you intend to write?

  • A table of contents and a summary of each chapter.

  • An estimate of the book’s length (total word count including notes), the number and kind of illustrations (if any), how much of the manuscript is already drafted, and the time it will take you to complete it.

Submissions should be emailed directly to the relevant acquisitions editor or to submissions_hup@harvard.edu.