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For Authors

New Proposal Submissions

Book proposals are welcome in fields appropriate for Penn Press’s editorial program. Please see our Proposal Submission Guidelines page for more information about how to craft your proposal and what to include. The Press’s acquiring editors, and their fields of responsibility, are listed on the Acquisitions Department page.

Guidelines for Final Manuscript and Artwork Preparation

A manuscript that is clean and legible can, in the long run, reduce problems to a minimum and speed the publication process. Although no one expects authors to submit letter-perfect manuscripts, final manuscripts should meet certain specifications. Please see below for helpful terms and for guidelines for each step of this process to ensure that these specifications are met when submitting your final manuscript.

Helpful Terms

Front matter is any material that appears in the book before the Introduction, and includes, inter alia, title page, dedication (if any), table of contents, list of illustrations or tables (if any), and foreword or preface.

Back matter elements in the final manuscript include notes (multiauthor works may have notes at the ends of the individual essays), volume bibliography (if any; often this is not needed if full information is provided in notes), a list of contributors (for multicontributor works), and acknowledgments.

Permissions for Reprinting Other Works

Permission is needed to reprint extensive blocks of text; poetry (a complete poem or ten or more lines), charts and graphs (if used in the same format as the source; the information itself needs only proper attribution, not permission); photographs and illustrations. For guidance in determining what needs permission, consult this helpful page of permissions FAQs.

Manuscript File Submission

  1. Provide a complete set of word processor files for the final manuscript, including front and back matter and illustration captions. Files should be in .docx or .rtf format. These files should be sent via email or using an online file transfer service such as WeTransfer, Box, or Dropbox.
  2. Verify all statistics, quotations, notations, versions of proper names, and transliterations before submitting your final manuscript.
  3. Run your word processor’s spell-checking program before you give us the final manuscript.
  4. Save each chapter with its notes in a separate file labeled with your last name and the chapter number, e.g., JONES_chapter 1. Use the same software (Microsoft Word, if possible) and hardware throughout the manuscript.
  5. Illustrations and captions must accompany the final manuscript. Compile a list of captions (double-spaced) that includes both descriptive text and credit lines.
  6. For general information, including guidelines on the use of capitals and italics and the preparation of notes and bibliography, consult The Chicago Manual of Style. Editors of multiauthor works are encouraged to consult, in addition, the Press’s Guidelines for Volume Editors.
  7. Submit a completed Manuscript Submission Checklist with your manuscript.

Manuscript Structure and Layout

  1. Manuscript should be double-spaced and in 12-point Times New Roman font. Leave one-inch margins on all four sides of the page. Turn off automatic hyphenation, do not suppress widows and orphans, and do not justify text; ragged right margins are preferable throughout.
  2. Number pages consecutively (front matter with lowercase Roman numerals, text with Arabic numerals). Do not start each chapter on page 1. See our directions on how to format the page numbers here.
  3. The manuscript front matter should include at minimum a title page and table of contents. It may also include other items, such as a list of illustrations, list of tables, dedication, foreword, or preface.
  4. Penn Press house style is to put an author’s Acknowledgments at the end of the book.

Note Callouts and Formatting

  1. Notes should be numbered starting again at 1 at the beginning of each chapter.
  2. Use superscript Arabic numerals in the text (no parentheses, boldface, etc.).
  3. The numbers should follow the passages referred to; if the passage is a block quotation, the reference number should come at the end of the quotation, not after the author’s name or at the end of the textual matter introducing the quotation.
  4. The notes themselves must be double-spaced and formatted as endnotes, not footnotes. In most instances they will be typeset together at the back of the book, but in the manuscript they must be at the ends of the individual chapters.

Foreign Languages

  1. Authors are responsible for the accuracy of all foreign languages: grammar, spelling, accents, translation accuracy, etc.
  2. Accents and any other special characters must be in place throughout the manuscript. Include special, non-Roman fonts if necessary (e.g., Arabic, Hebrew, Greek).
  3. For ease of typesetting, we encourage you to use transliterations where possible, rather than non-Roman scripts.
  4. Languages that do not read left-to-right are difficult to typeset in an English-language book. You will need to proofread them closely in the typeset pages.

Heads and Extract Formatting

  1. Use clear distinctions for different levels of subheads.
    A-heads should be boldface.
    B-heads should be italic.
    C-heads should be underlined.
    To reiterate, everything—text, notes, block quotations, captions, bibliography—must be double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point. The heads should be formatted as indicated.
  2. Please do not bold anything that isn’t an A-head. The book title, chapter titles, and so on should NOT be boldface.
  3. Block quotes (usually, quoted material eight lines or more in length) should be double-spaced, indented 1 inch on the left side, with an extra line above and below. Use the ruler function to indent the text, instead of using the tab key at the beginning of each line.

Artwork Submission

  1. Indicate where all Figures, Tables, Maps, etc. should appear by inserting a figure call-out (“<Insert Figure x>”) on a separate line at the end of a paragraph.
  2. Art should be submitted with your manuscript. Extremely large files (e.g., color art for a full four-color book) can be sent on a portable external hard drive if necessary. We will return the drive to you after production of the book is complete.
  3. Please refer to the Press’s guidelines for art preparation for correct format/technical requirements of all art, tables, and charts.
  4. Tables should be numbered separately from figures (art, charts, and maps). Thus “Table 1, Table 2” coexist in a book with “Figure 1, Figure 2.”
  5. There are physical limits to how many columns of a table can fit across a page. Please note that very wide/many-column tables may set sideturned.
  6. In multiauthor works, number the tables and figures by chapter, i.e., Table 1.1, Table 1.2; Figure 1.1, Figure 1.2, Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2. If you are using this double numbering system, please use the format “Figure I.1” for items in the Introduction.
  7. Please provide a full list of all your tables and figures, prepared as an art log. Art log sample is available on the Press’s guidelines for art preparation.


The Penn Press Marketing Department handles all functions of selling and promoting books, both domestically and overseas. For more information on what you can expect from the Marketing Department during your book’s promotion, please see our Marketing Guide.

Reusing Your Content

Click here for information about Press policies regarding authors/contributors reusing their own Penn Press content.

Ebook Piracy

As you explore the internet you will probably encounter sites that purport to offer Penn Press books for free download. Be aware that the download links found on such sites are most probably clickbait, designed to trap you into installing malware on your computer.

Ebook piracy is a real problem, however. Although you are unlikely to come across direct links to pirated content, if you do, please let us know by sending the location details to our rights desk at We will take appropriate action.