Author FAQs: Proposal Reviews

Q.What is a peer review?

Peer reviewing is an essential part of the publishing process. After an editor assesses the strengths of a proposal and how well it fits their subject list, the next step is to query the intended market regarding whether they believe the project is viable and sufficiently addresses the needs of potential readers. Reviewers are invited to comment on a proposed project’s content, quality, and potential market.

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.

Becoming a Peer-Reviewer 

Q. Who is eligible to serve as a reviewer?

Scholars, experts in the subject matter and practicing educators are all eligible to serve as peer reviewers. Our interest form asks for individuals who are interested in serving as a peer reviewer to list the subjects they would be most interested in/comfortable reviewing as well as their professional background. Editors then use this information along with their understanding of the proposal to create the ideal peer review team.

Q. What does signing up to be a peer reviewer entail?

Signing up to be a peer reviewer is easy! Simply fill out the form below with your preferences and information. This will be shared internally with relevant editors who may contact you when they receive a proposal they think you might be interested in reviewing. Signing up to be a peer reviewer is not a firm commitment and you may reject a proposal if you are uninterested or do not have the time to review the project. Should you agree to the review, the editor will send you a time frame for reviewing, the review material (usually consisting of a proposal and a sample chapter), and a brief questionnaire. The timeline and compensation vary depending on the length and complexity of the material.

Q. Is peer review anonymous?

All reviews are anonymous unless requested otherwise by the reviewer.

Q. What is the compensation for peer review?

Compensation varies by project and list, but all peer reviewers are allowed to choose between an electronic payment and Routledge books for their payment.

If you are interested in signing up to become a peer reviewer, you can do so here: Become a Peer-Reviewer