Writing and submitting a manuscript

Below you’ll find a handy checklist. Please make sure you’ve completed each item on the list before you submit your manuscript. When you’re ready, submit your manuscript in a MS Word file to your editor via email.

Manuscript submission checklist

  • 1

    Include your name and the title of your book in the file name when you save the document.

  • 2

    If the book is an edited collection, you must make sure that all authors have used consistent referencing and spelling throughout.

  • 3

    Double check the word count and ensure it isn’t over or under the agreed, contracted length (within 10% either way). If you don’t stay within the agreed word count, you’ll be liable for any additional charges or we may not publish the work until you amend the manuscript to fit the agreed the word count.

  • 4

    Have you obtained written permission, and where necessary, paid any relevant for third-party copyrighted material? Is the copyright clearly indicated in the manuscript?

  • 5

    Have you included full details for all cited sources?

  • 6

    Decide and state whether you’ll compile the index yourself or outsource it to a professional indexer. We can provide recommendations on professional indexers.

  • 7

    Have you provided any photographs, illustrations, diagrams, figures or charts as separate, correctly sized, image files? Also make sure to provide a list of these documents in the preliminary pages.

  • 8

    Could any sections of your manuscript potentially be considered libellous, either towards an individual or organisation? If so, please speak to your editor so we’re aware of the situation.

  • 9

    If your book is an edited collection, please provide all contributors’ contact details in a separate document. This should include their names, email addresses, postal addresses or institution addresses, and telephone numbers.

  • 10

    We’ll send out the manuscript for endorsements at the proof stage. Please provide the details of individuals you’d like to get endorsements from. Zed Books encourages you to suggest specialists from across the globe and from diverse backgrounds, as well as academics based in the US, UK and Europe.

Top tips for formatting a manuscript

  • 1

    Make sure your manuscript is correctly formatted with a title page, short author bio, acknowledgements, table of contents and a list of figures and abbreviations.

  • 2

    Acknowledge any quotations used from secondary sources with quotation marks and full source details. Quotes over 400 words, song lyrics or poetry will require permission from the author or publisher.

  • 3

    Start each chapter on a new page with clearly indicated chapter numbers and title. And a ‘heading 1’ [H1] in square brackets. Please note that the introduction and conclusion are not included in chapter numbers.

  • 4

    For subheadings and further subsection headings, indicate the level of each heading with square brackets (i.e. [H2], [H3], etc.)

  • 5

    Please use the Harvard referencing system. You must consult your editor if you’d like to use a different system. If you’re writing a book for a series, you must use the series referencing system which is currently Harvard. Make sure your citations are consistent throughout.

  • 6

    Provide full references at the end of your manuscript. If you’re submitting an edited collection, references must appear at the end of each chapter, not at the end of the full manuscript.

What is critical academic publishing?

Find out more about critical academic publishers like Zed Books.