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FAQ: Submitting a manuscript

What sorts of book manuscripts are you looking for?

We are looking for combinations of careful scholarship and clear communication in any area of linguistics. New textbooks, workbooks, and reference works are especially attractive.

We are not accepting new proposals for monographs or edited collections unless they are expected to be widely adopted as textbooks. We have several projects under development, and the limited market for monographs and edited collections will not allow us to accept any more proposals in the near future.

We will consider new proposals for conference proceedings to be published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Do you publish textbooks and workbooks?

Absolutely! We are particularly interested in textbooks and workbooks in areas where no similar book is available, where it can be a real struggle to find appropriate teaching materials.

Do you publish books written in languages other than English?

We publish very few books with a primary language other than English. We do publish books in which a small minority of articles are written in another language, as long as the majority of the book is written in English and many readers could reasonably be expected to be comfortable reading the other language. For example, a collection of 15 papers on French linguistics might include one or two papers written in French.

Are you looking for new software or games?

Always! This is one of the ways in which we stand apart from other linguistics publishers. We will consider any product which can make it easier for linguists to perform research, present their results, or teach a facet of linguistics. We knew that linguists would enjoy products like Magnetic Phonetics, but we are particularly gratified that it has been successfully used in classes to help students learn the IPA.

What information should I put in my proposal?

What we're looking for in a book proposal is:

1. A description of the book. What is the book about? How long is it? What topics does it cover in depth? When do you expect the final manuscript to be ready?

2. A placement of the book in the field. How does it fit in with the current literature? Which literature does it build on, which literature does it disagree with, what new things does the book offer?

3. A description of the expected audience. Is the book meant as a scholarly monograph or as a textbook? What fields and subfields would readers be coming from, and why would they want to read this book?

4. A sample chapter (or a substantial section of a chapter), and the introduction if available.

We review proposals to determine whether the book seems like a good fit for Cascadilla Press. If it does, we invite submission of the full manuscript for peer review.

We're not picky about the actual format of the proposal, though single-sided pages are easier for us to handle, and Times or some similar font is easier for us to read than Courier, Monaco, or Arial.

Where should I send my proposal?

Please send your proposal to Michael Bernstein at

Will you consider a manuscript submitted to other publishers?

As a firm rule, and one which is shared by many other publishers for both books and journal articles, Cascadilla Press does not consider full manuscripts which are under consideration by other publishers. We are happy to review book proposals to determine whether a book looks interesting and appropriate for our catalog. We are also happy to answer questions about any aspect of our publication process to help authors decide where to submit their manuscripts. We expect that many authors will be contacting several publishers simultaneously at this stage of the process (although we are always delighted when we are an author's first choice).

Asking us to review a full manuscript, however, entails a large time commitment on the part of both Cascadilla Press and the two or more peer reviewers to whom we send the manuscript. We cannot ask reviewers to carefully read and comment on a manuscript when their work is being duplicated by other reviewers for other publishers. The number of scholars with both the available time and inclination to do peer review is always shrinking, and this problem becomes much more serious if every manuscript requires twice as many reviewers or more.

We know that there is a trade-off between convenience for the author and convenience for the publisher and reviewers. Authors would generally like to maximize the likelihood that their manuscript will be accepted for publication somewhere. If peer review is viewed as just an obstacle to be overcome, then the author benefits from submitting a manuscript to multiple publishers rather than waiting for a response from the first publisher before turning to the second publisher. However, we believe that peer review is far more than simply gatekeeping. When a manuscript fails peer review, even if we do not invite resubmission with changes, the reviewers indicate areas of the manuscript which need substantial improvement. If the author takes the time to work on those areas before submitting the manuscript to another publisher, the author can submit a stronger manuscript, and the peer review process can better improve the quality of the literature in the field.

For these reasons, Cascadilla Press does not consider full manuscripts which are under consideration by other publishers. This is the only way we can continue to have a peer review system with no submission fee, with review by fellow scholars rather than paid staff, and with reviewers who consider every manuscript carefully and thoughtfully.

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