Guidelines for Editors of Contributed Volumes

Guidelines for Editors of Contributed Volumes


Manuscript Preparation

Electronic Files

Copyright and Permissions

What to Send to the Press: A Checklist for Volume Editors

Production Process




To become a cohesive book of enduring value, a contributed volume must be more than the sum of its parts. Serving as the volume editor of such a collection is thus a complex and challenging task. As the editor of a contributed volume you are the liaison between the Press and all contributing authors. You are responsible for preparing a stylistically consistent manuscript, coordinating all contact between the Press and the contributing authors during the publication process, ensuring final accuracy on the proofs, returning all proofs to the Press office on time, and reviewing the index, among other things. Georgetown University Press works with one volume editor only. If there are coeditors, you must agree among yourselves who will be the single, direct liaison with the Press and how you will divide up the work.

It is an important duty of the editor of a contributed book to ensure that all of the contributors adhere to the Press's production schedule. Plan ahead so that contributors meet your deadlines and you meet the Press's deadlines. Please be sure, especially if a contributor is located overseas, to factor in enough time for you to do your work as well.

This set of guidelines, along with the Manuscript Submission Checklist and the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition, will help you through this process. For further guidance, call the Editorial and Production Department at (202) 687-6251 or

I. Manuscript Preparation

Provide to each contributor the Manuscript Submission Checklist for Contributors. If a contributor does not prepare his or her manuscript properly, you must make the changes to his or her chapter(s) yourself, so strongly urge them to use the checklist.

Please note: If your manuscript is not prepared according to these guidelines, there is more likely to be trouble along the way. Please take care in preparing the manuscript before sending it to us and follow these instructions.

All chapters must be formatted in the same word processing program: Word or WordPerfect. If some are not, translate these chapters to be consistent with the others. The manuscript and disks will be returned to you if disks are not in the same word processing program. After conversion, be sure to check the electronic file to be certain the conversion worked and no data was lost. Clean up any extra spaces or incorrect characters that may have been added. The electronic file and the manuscript printout that you send to us must match.

  • Check that all contributors' names are consistent and spelled correctly and appear as the authors wish them to throughout the manuscript— in the table of contents, on the chapter title page, and in the contributors' notes. When in doubt, ask the contributor.
  • Check that all references in the reference list or notes also appear in the text. If you find any inconsistencies, contact the chapter author to rectify them.
  • Prepare all of the frontmatter— title page, table of contents, and anything else that is necessary. All edited volumes must include a list of contributors and table of contents. Be sure that all chapter titles are consistent in the table of contents and on the chapter title pages. Be sure that all chapters are numbered both in the table of contents and on the chapter opening page and that those numbers match.
  • Each author's reference list should be placed at the very end of its chapter after the notes section.
  • Be sure that automatic hyphenation and widow-orphan protection are turned off in the word processing program for each file and that all formatting detailed on the Manuscript Submission Checklist has been followed.
  • Number each page of the front matter consecutively with lowercase Roman numerals in the top, right-hand corner. Begin numbering with Arabic numbers, again consecutively in the top, right-hand corner of the manuscript, beginning with the introduction (if the introduction is not in the front matter) or chapter 1 to end. (See the Chicago Manual of Style 1.53 and 1.60 for information on where to place the introduction.) How to number a manuscript consecutively across different electronic files: In Word— After choosing "Page numbers" from the "Insert" menu, click on "Format" in the box; choose "start at" and type in the page number with which you wish the file to begin. In WordPerfect— From the "Format" menu, choose "Page" and then "Numbering." On the box, choose "Set Value" and insert the page number with which you wish the file to begin.
  • Each contributor's electronic file exactly matches the hard copy he or she provided and all hard copies are printed on one side of 8½" x 11" paper.

II. Electronic Files

It is critical that the directions for formatting electronic files that are provided on the Manuscript Submission Checklist be followed. Any problems encountered with the electronic files could severely impact the production schedule. Please note: The Press will not accept manuscripts if they arrive as a single electronic file or on improperly formatted disks.

  • All electronic files must be submitted on PC-readable floppy or Zip disks, or on a PC-readable CD. At this time, the Press is unable to handle any Mac-formatted disks or CDs. Note for Mac users: If you save your Mac-formatted information to a PC-formatted disk, we can access it. If you need help with this, please call the Editorial and Production Department at (202) 687-6251.
  • Check your contributors' disks to ensure that (1) all chapters are formatted in the same word processing program, (2) electronic files are readable and not corrupt, and (3) electronic files correspond exactly to the hardcopies submitted by the authors. To check if a file is corrupted, simply try to open it on your computer. If you cannot open it and it is formatted in the same platform (Mac or PC) that you use and with a program that you have, it is corrupted and must be replaced. If you notice any problems, request new disks from the author(s).
  • Each chapter and each major front- and backmatter subdivision (e.g, contents, list of contributors, Preface, Acknowledgments, etc.) must be submitted in its own electronic file on a Zip disk, CD, or floppy disks.
  • Each figure and table must be saved in a separate electronic file on a Zip disk, CD, or floppy disks.
  • Each electronic file must be labeled by its front- or backmatter title, chapter number, or chapter number, plus its table or figure number (e.g., chapter 4, table 4.2). Label the outside of each disk clearly with the editor's last name, the names of the files on the disk, and the name of the word processing program used to prepare the files. Include a list of filenames with your submission.

III. Copyright and Permissions

For more detailed information than these guidelines provide, please consult chapter 4 of the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., or The Copyright Book: A Practical Guide, 4th ed., by William S. Strong.

Publication Agreements. You are responsible for distributing and returning to the Press signed letters of agreement from the contributors granting the Press permission to publish their work in your volume. Send all agreement letters together to the Press with the final manuscript (see What to Send to the Press).

Permission versus Acknowledgment. Permission must be obtained for previously copyrighted material (published or unpublished) that does not fall within the guidelines of "fair use." Previously copyrighted material includes text, photographs, charts, tables, drawings, diagrams, other illustrations, and any material gathered electronically (from a website or database). Note: Websites are copyrighted and guidelines for permission apply. Acknowledgment is printed recognition of the contribution of material not your own, including that which is in the public domain or covered by fair-use guidelines.

Public Domain. There is no need to obtain permission to use work that is in the public domain. A work is in the public domain if (a) it was first published in the United States more than 95 years ago, (b) it was first published in a U.S. government publication, (c) if it was created but not copyrighted before January 1, 1978 and it has been 70 years since the author's death, or (d) it was first published in Great Britain and the author has been dead more than 50 years. Permission is not required unless the passage is a direct quotation, but it is always a matter of courtesy to give a full citation clearly crediting the original source. When in doubt, call the Editorial and Production Department at (202) 687-6251.

Fair Use. Brief extracts from published sources may be used for comment or illustration without permission if the source is cited. You should not quote at such length from another source as to diminish its value. Proportion must be considered: to quote 500 words from a 5,000-word essay probably exceeds fair use, whereas quoting 500 words from a work of 50,000 probably does not. Quotations should not exceed 10 percent of the original work. Quotations of poetry or song lyrics is usually limited to one or two lines, and direct quotation of more than two contiguous paragraphs of text is discouraged. Under the fair-use principle, very short tables in which the data could be explained in a paragraph of text can usually be used, as long as the source is clearly identified and as long as the original table is not photographically reproduced. For further information, consult chapter 4 of the 14th ed. of the Chicago Manual of Style.

An Author's Responsibility. Inform contributors that responsibility for obtaining permission(s) to reproduce material already under copyright, paying any fees, and providing the Press with relevant documentation rests with each contributor. Each contributor's Publication Agreement states that he or she guarantees not to have used copyrighted materials without permission. A final manuscript received by the Press is assumed to be cleared for use of all material from other sources.

The production process cannot begin until all permissions have been secured and documentation has been received by the Press. If in doubt whether or not permission is required, please check with the Editorial and Production Department before seeking permission.

Permission for Your Own Previously Published Work. If you are reprinting your own material that was published after 1 January 1978, you need to request permission from the publisher only if you transferred your rights to that material by an express written agreement. Regardless of whether you need a formal permission letter, you should list such previous publication in your acknowledgments. Be sure to use specific language requested by the copyright holder when acknowledging permission.

Permission for Illustrations. Permission for use of illustrations and art must come from (a) its owner (library, archives, or other institution) and (b) holder of the copyright (e.g., the photographer, artist, or their subsequent heirs). If a photograph does not carry a copyright notice it does not mean that it is in the public domain. Contact the owner of the illustration first. They will then alert you if you must obtain permission from the copyright holder. Be sure to use specific language requested by the copyright holder when acknowledging permission.

Requesting Permission. When writing for permission, request World Rights in this and subsequent editions. Be sure to ask for permission to use any art in the advertising or promotion of your book and all subsidiary publications. Consult the Chicago Manual of Style (pp. 125-54) for further direction and examples; see also sample letters in this packet.

IV. What to Send to the Press: A Checklist for Volume Editors

___ 1. A complete list of the addresses of all the volume contributors so that contributor copies can be mailed upon publication.

___ 2. Three hard copies of the manuscript that exactly match the electronic files, with consecutively numbered pages from start to finish, and printed on one side of 8½" x 11" size paper. Be sure to keep a backup copy of everything for yourself.

___ 3. Manuscripts are not clipped, stapled, or bound in part or whole. It is helpful if chapters are separated by colored paper.

___ 4. One set of all properly formatted electronic files on PC-readable floppy or Zip disk(s) or a PC-readable CD (see Electronic Files) and a list of filenames. Each chapter must be in a separate file, clearly labeled on each disk. Be sure to keep an electronic backup copy for yourself.

___ 5. An accurate word count.

___ 6. A list clarifying any unusual capitalization, italicization, citations, etc.

___ 7. A list of all unusual diacritical marks or symbols used in the manuscript (see the "General Formatting" section in the Manuscript Submission Checklist).

___ 8. A list of all figures and tables, their names, and their electronic filenames. This list should be separate from a List of Figures and Tables.

___ 9. Original copies of any photographs, labeled with the figure number, and two photocopies. Clean copies of tables, figures, or other illustration for each manuscript set. A separate electronic file for each table, figure, or illustration, labeled correctly, must be included with the electronic files of the text (see Electronic Files). Be sure to keep backup copies for yourself.

___ 10. Copies of all permissions and Publication Agreements from contributors as well as your own permissions.

V. Production Process

You are responsible for coordinating the contributors' review of the edited manuscript and their short biographies in the contributors' notes, ensuring that they provide answers to all queries posed to them in page proofs, and returning the complete, reassembled manuscript to the Press on schedule. As editor, you must impress upon your contributors the importance of returning their materials to you on time. The publication date could be significantly delayed if you do not return materials on time.

Reviewing the Copyedited Manuscript. You will receive an edited manuscript (in most cases the editing will have been done electronically, in some other cases, however, the editing will be done by hand on the hard copy). It is very important that you and your contributors review the copyediting in detail and make all significant changes at this time. Contributors should answer each and every one of the copyeditor's questions.

Upon receiving the complete copyedited manuscript from the Press, please distribute to each contributor their contribution. Also send copies of the List of Contributors and bios. Always keep a clean copy of the manuscript. In your directions to contributors, impress upon them that this is the last time any substantive changes may be made. When contributors return their chapters, review their work, checking that all queries are answered and their writing is legible. Be sure that the changes are consistent with other parts of the chapter and that they conform to the manuscript's established editorial style. You are responsible for answering the queries and for checking all portions and chapters of the manuscript that you prepared. Return the entire manuscript in one shipment to the Press by the date indicated in the Press's cover letter. If additional time is needed, contact the Editorial and Production Department at 202-687-6251.

Reviewing the Proofs. You are also responsible for coordinating the chapter authors' review of manuscript proofs. You will receive one complete set of proofs. Please send to each contributor a photocopy of their contribution. Pay particular attention to the parts of the manuscript you prepared, including frontmatter and backmatter. In your directions to the contributors, ask them to mark legibly any corrections they have on the page proofs and return them to you earlier than the date the proofs are due back at Georgetown University Press to allow you, as the volume editor, to collate and forward them.

While you and your contributors are looking through the proofs, a professional proofreader is also checking for mistakes, so it is unnecessary for you or the contributors to read the proofs word-for-word. Once authors have returned their chapters, please approve only those corrections that are absolutely necessary. Be sure that they are legible and correspond to the chapter's established style. Return the complete, reassembled manuscript in one shipment to the Press by the date requested.

Author Alterations. The Press may make the manuscript conform to a style of presentation, spelling, capitalization, and usage that it deems appropriate. You will have the opportunity to review both the copyedited manuscript and the page proofs, as explained above. If you make significant changes to the page proofs, please understand that you may be charged for expenses incurred as a result of changes in proofs beyond the percentage of the costs of original composition stated in your contract. The contract states that you will be charged for a percentage of changes above the total composition cost. For example, if the typesetting costs $2,000 and if the contract sets the author's alteration allowance at 5%, the Press will pay for your changes up to $100, but as volume editor, you will be billed for changes exceeding that amount.

These costs can easily mount to hundreds of dollars that will be charged back to you. Significant corrections or rewriting made in page proofs can also delay the publication date of your book. Please alert your authors that changes made at this stage are very expensive and that only factual errors or typos may be changed. If page numbers referring to other parts of the book need to be inserted, this should be done now. If an error of fact must be corrected, please try to minimize the space required for the correction. In the interest of prompt publication, the Press has the right to reject any changes other than corrections of typographical or factual errors.

VI. Cover

The Press handles all facets of cover design and production and generally does not involve the authors or editors. We are, however, more than happy to receive any and all ideas from you and will incorporate them in the most advisable way. Authors are not charged for cover design unless there is a fee to use a provided photo or illustration.

VII. Index

Nearly every book published by the Press requires an index. An index is an important tool for your readers because it serves as a guide to the book's most important information. Editors and authors have the option of having the Press arrange for a professional indexer to prepare the index for their book, or preparing it yourselves. If you choose to have the Press hire a professional indexer, payment for that service is expected to be reimbursed or will be deducted from your royalties according to the terms of your contract. If you prefer to arrange the indexing yourself, you will be expected to meet the Press's deadline for receipt of the finished index. If you wish to prepare the index yourself, you will be provided with a complete set of revised page proofs but not an electronic file of the text.

Preparing an Index. Information about preparing an index may be found in the Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., pp. 701-60.

Reviewing the Index. Once the index has been prepared and then typeset by the compositor, you will be able to review it. Please look for typographical errors, misspellings, etc., and check the overall structure and content. Write your changes directly on the index and return it to the Press by the date requested by the Editorial and Production Department.