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Submitting a proposal

Submitting a Proposal to the Academic Division

We welcome all well-prepared book proposals, whether from first-time or more experienced authors. To help us make a quick yet well-considered decision, it is best to include the following in your proposal.

The general outline

This should be kept to a maximum of 2,000 words, and should deal with rationale, scope, level and extent.

  • Rationale. What is the reason for you writing this book? Is there a gap in the market and if so, why? Have there been rapid developments in the field or is it a new field not well serviced by existing books?
  • Scope. What is the scope of your work? Is it limited to particular countries/regions, historical eras or sub-fields of content?
  • Level. How complex is it? Could it be easily understood by undergraduates, or professionals, or only by research scholars in the field?
  • Extent. We need to know the extent of your manuscript in thousands of words, including any preliminary and endmatter such as preface, ackowledgements, appendices, bibliography and index.

The contents

You should include the following:
  • Table of contents. If a book is long, complex or ranges across a lot of information, it is advisable to include major sub-headings in your table of contents.
  • Abstracts. An abstract of less than 100 words for each chapter will help us to understand the structure of the book.
  • Ancillary materials. If your book would benefit from ancillary materials such as a teacher's manual, a practical workbook, a companion website, you should mention this here, though not in great detail.

Sample chapters
  • Ideally we require a minimum of two sample chapters. These need not be in a polished state, and we would only send them out for review after expressing an interest formally in assessing your manuscript.
  • Non-text material. If you intend the book to have non-text material such as diagrams, photos, tables, maps, etc., you should include samples of these and estimate the total number of each in a final manuscript.
  • No complete manuscript. Please do NOT send us a complete manuscript until we have requested it.

Curriculum vitae

Please send us an ‘executive summary’ of your curriculum vitae. Apart from your affiliation contact details and research and teaching interests, we only require the highlights from your publications.

The markets

This is as important as the rationale to us and needs some considerable care. You need to have thought through the audience for your work before approaching us. We need your thoughts on the following:
  • Primary market. Who is the key audience for this book - those who will feel the need to purchase their own copy of this work, either for their course as a student, their work as a professional, or their research as a scholar.
  • Secondary market. Who is the supplementary audience for the book - those who will find the book valuable, so purchasing a copy is a likelihood but not a necessity.
  • Competition. Authors like to think of their work as unique, but in a world of many books and limited resources all books have competitors. As an expert in your chosen field you will know who your competitors are. Please detail author, title, publisher, date, extent and current retail price.
  • How your book will differ. What makes your book different in a way that will make it more marketable?
  • Average enrolment. If your book is a textbook we need your estimate of the average enrolment size of a course.

Contact details

Please send appropriate proposals to:

Karen Hildebrandt
Development Editor, Academic
Cambridge University Press
477 Williamstown Road
Port Melbourne Victoria 3207

Phone +61 3 8671 1431
Fax +61 3 9676 9955


We will endeavour to send you a prompt response.
Please note that we do not publish new works of fiction, poetry or autobiography.


Cambridge University Press 2004