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Author FAQs: Proposal Reviews

Q. Are all book proposals peer-reviewed?

It is our policy to peer review all proposed book projects before offering a contract, including Open Access proposals. If you would like further details on this, please ask your editor.

Q. How do you select proposal reviewers?

Reviewers are generally a group of carefully picked academics with significant knowledge in a discipline relevant to the topic of the book. For textbooks, we aim to use reviewers that regularly teach the course relevant to the proposed book. We try to avoid reviewers that have a close connection to the proposed book or its authors, or that have authored a closely competing book.

Q. What kinds of questions are reviewers asked about my book proposal?

Questions include:

  • What do you consider to be the main strengths of the materials you have been asked to review?
  • Are there any missing topics or additional content you would suggest?
  • Does the organization look sensible to you?
  • Does this material intrigue you enough to want to have this book on your shelf?
  • What other books are you aware of in this area, and how do they compare to this book?
  • Are you confident of the quality of the sample material presented?
  • What is your overall impression of the proposed book?

Q. Must I incorporate reviewers’ suggestions I don’t agree with?

This depends. If any suggestions seem unfair or irrelevant, your acquiring editor can go back to the reviewer to clarify or accept your rational reasons for dismissing the comments. If only one of five reviewers thinks you should completely restructure your book, for instance, we would not insist you do so! However, if there is a consistent feeling that certain topics should be added or changes made, taking on board these suggestions may be a make or break for a contract offer.

Q. Can a bad review hurt my chances of getting published?

It may. We are seeking constructive criticism for your manuscript. Reviewers are chosen because they have expert knowledge in the field, and they should be providing comments that will help you shape your manuscript to bring value to the marketplace. Not every book idea is a winner. But in many cases, the idea can be reworked. Don’t give up! Restructure the proposal, invite colleagues to help formulate a more succinct proposal and table of contents, accept the comments of the surveyors, and try again.