KEY TO BOOK PUBLISHER LISTINGS
The information in this section of the Guidebook was gathered during
March through June 1986, from questionnaires sent to book publishers' philosophy
editors, from information contained in publishers' guidelines and from
independent reviews prepared by the Guidebook's contributing editors.
Reviewers examined each publisher's catalog of philosophy books and a sample of
the actual books. Each publisher that returned a questionnaire is listed, but
several editors returned only partially completed questionnaires. To facilitate
comparison, publishers are listed in alphabetical order in a standard format.
Below are some comments and clarifications of terms used.
Address: In a few cases, a publisher has more than one location;
the address listed is one to which philosophy manuscripts may be sent.
Editor: name of the editor handling philosophy books. Always
submit a manuscript to a specific editor.
Kinds of books: following the name of the editor, a list of
kinds of philosophy books the publisher has already published, as checked off on
the questionnaire. Unless the listing contains information to the contrary, you
can presume that the publisher is not receptive to any category not listed.
In print: how many clothbound and paperback philosophy books
publisher presently has in print.
Publishes x per year: i.e., x philosophy books.
Representative books: sample titles and authors listed by the
philosophy editor. If more than five books were listed on the questionnaire, we
list only the first five. We apologize for any misspellings of authors' names
or for inexact book titles; many questionnaires were handwritten and hard to
Most wants: Sometimes the answer to this question was an
unhelpful generalization, like "good books," but sometimes editors
revealed the direction in which they would like to expand their offerings.
Don't send: don't!
Preferred method of contact: of initial contact. Sometimes
editors listed several alternatives.
Submit: what publisher requires, in addition to material listed
in "preferred method of contact," in order to give full consideration
to a submission.
Guidelines available: If this phrase appears in the listing,
you can request a publisher's specific guidelines for manuscript preparation.
Sending for and following the guidelines before submitting a manuscript gives
you a slight edge; you come across as more of a professional. Few publishers
will knowingly take on an uncooperative author.
Simultaneous, dot-matrix, electronic submissions: whether or
not the publisher accepts these sorts of submissions. Even if a publisher says
dot-matrix printouts are acceptable, a letter-quality printout will always make
a better impression. For electronic submissions, you will want to check to see
what sort of system (disk, tape, etc.) the publisher uses; most houses need "hard
copy" (a printout) along with the disk or tape. If you plan to write or
have written your book on computer, you should say so in your cover letter;
more and more, publishers are using money-saving, mistake-reducing programs that
convert the author's final draft on disk directly to typeset copy.
Receives x philosophy submissions a month: obviously, an
Reply time: how long it typically takes for the editor to
respond to a submission.
Advance contracts: whether or not a publisher can offer a
contract based on preliminary material, i.e., less than the completed
manuscript. Although advance contracts generally contain a clause that the
final version of the manuscript must be deemed acceptable, or the contract is
void, they still represent an advantage over having to finish your book without
knowing that any publisher will definitely publish it.
Advances: whether or not a publisher ever offers the author a
sum of money for a book before the book begins to sell; "advance" is
short for "advance against royalties." These sums are deducted from
the money that the book eventually earns. Few university presses can offer
advances, and if they can, the advances are usually on the small side. But
usually it's up to the author to ask for an advance; your case will be stronger
if you're already a famous author or already have a good sales record, if you
will incur heavy expenses in preparing a book that will probably eventually earn
money or if a competing publisher is also interested in your book.
Royalty rate: the standard royalty rate or range of rates.
Many publishers indicated that this varies. Don't assume that if a standard
royalty rate is printed in a firm's standard contract, that this is inflexible.
If you are in a good bargaining position, most standard clauses can be xxx'd
out of a contract or changed.
Book price: the range in price of the firm's philosophy books.
Time to publication: after receipt of the final manuscript.
Advertising: where or how a publisher typically advertises new
Complimentary copies: how many free copies of their book
authors usually receive.
Review copies: how many complimentary copies of a book a
publisher typically sends out to journals, magazines or instructors for review.
Books set in type: Our intention was to find out whether
publishers typeset all their books or whether they ever use other methods to
print books, such as printing from camera-ready copy supplied by the author (as
in the case of this Guidebook). However, many answers were ambiguous or
confusing; for instance, some editors replied that all their books were set in
type and that they also sometimes print from camera-ready copy supplied by the
author. They may have meant that they print diagrams and such from the author's
camera-ready copy, but in the absence of such clarifications, we've omitted
seemingly inconsistent replies to this question.
Acid-free paper: Librarians and many book lovers prefer books
printed on paper of a quality to last at least 50 years.
Cloth/paper editions: whether or not the publisher ever releases
cloth (hardback) and paper (paperback) editions simultaneously, and in the case
of books originally released only in cloth, the circumstances under which the
publisher will release a paper edition.
Subsidies: We asked if publishers ever sought subsidies to
cover the anticipated gap between the cost of publishing some books and expected
revenues from the book, and if so, under what circumstances. If this item is
omitted, either the answer was "no" or the question was left blank.
Important factors in evaluating a book proposal: Editors rated
various factors from 1 to 5 on our questionnaire.
Review process: as described by the philosophy editor.
Reviewer's comments: followed by initials of the reviewer.
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