So you want to publish a book?
As a prospective author you probably find yourself in
one of several situations: 1) you have a desire to write a book, but don’t
know just what to write about or how to go about it; 2) you have a
specific topic in mind, and may have done some work on it, but have not
yet completed it; 3) you have finished compiling a book and are looking
for a publisher, or 4) you published a book in the past that is now out
of print, and you are looking for a publisher to reprint it. In any case
this packet of information will help you decide how to proceed with
Heritage Books, Inc.
There are three essential
requirements you need to keep in mind to be successful: 1) pick a topic
for which there is a significant market, 2) pick a publisher who can
effectively reach that market, and 3) start working with that publisher
as early in the process as possible in order to maximize the success of your
WE'D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU
We wish you success in your efforts to become a
published author, and will do all we can to help you bring your project
to fruition. Please contact us with specific questions by letter,
telephone, or e-mail.
5810 Ruatan St.
Berwyn Heights, MD 20740
HERITAGE BOOKS IN A NUTSHELL
Heritage Books, Inc. is one of the leading
publishers of books on local history and genealogy in the United States.
We publish 20-25 new titles each month; some are completely new
compilations, while others are historical reprints — often with added
name indexes or other improvements. Our publications are predominantly
paper bound editions in 5½”x8½”, 6"x9", or
8½”x11” formats, but we also do some books in cloth bindings. Our
books are printed on pH neutral paper with multi-color, plastic film
laminated covers. We favor the 5½”x 8½” size because it
fits bookshelves better, is less subject to damage in the mail, and is
usually less expensive to produce. However, the larger format is
sometimes necessary to accommodate charts, maps, group photographs, etc.
We concentrate on paper bound editions, we can produce them in shorter
print runs which makes it possible for us to publish, and keep in print,
books which it would be impractical to publish in cloth bindings.
The primary audiences for our
publications are professional and amateur historians and genealogists,
and the institutions that serve those groups, such as libraries,
historical and genealogical societies, and bookstores. We reach that
market through our catalog and online bookstore (www.HeritageBooks.com). Our web
sites on the Internet also permit us to reach a broad audience, both
within the United States and internationally. We also work with Amazon
and a network of web affiliates to maximize our exposure on the World
Wide Web. In addition, our authors are encouraged to participate in the
marketing of their books via special flyers, radio talk shows, book
signings, etc., and should discuss their ideas with our marketer as early
MATTER OF INTEREST
The subject matter of interest to us is
naturally determined by the market we serve. In general terms, we are
interested in materials on American history, local history, and
genealogy, including non-fiction narrative works and compilations of
source records from the earliest time period down into the early 20th
century. Since the market for genealogical materials tends to increase
geometrically as one moves back in time, the earlier the time period the
better when dealing with genealogical content. We have limited market for
genealogical material pertaining to the period after the Civil War, and
rarely publish genealogical material pertaining primarily to the 20th
century. Historical material, on the other hand, is not as sensitive to
time constraints, and we publish some such materials dealing with the
time period down to the middle of the 20th century.
Among possible genealogical topics,
early source records tend to be best, followed by genealogical
compilations covering many early settlers in a given area, single surname
genealogies, multiple surname genealogies, and lineages, in that order. A
biography of a single person would have poor prospects in most cases,
unless the person was one of some historical significance. When it comes
to historical and genealogical source record compilations, the
availability of the source is a key factor. For example, early newspaper
abstracts are in much more demand than census records because the latter
are readily available on microfilm and easily searched in comparison with
Please consider your situation in the light of the
four general cases discussed above and respond accordingly:
Case 1 - If you do not have any definite plans as to what you
want to write about, please write to us expressing your interest and
describing your experience and training. We will work with you to help
you select a topic of interest to you which is also one we feel we could
effectively publish and market.
Case 2 - If
you have a specific topic in mind, but have not finished the work, please
send us an outline, sample chapters, table of contents, and any
introductory material you may have. Please describe your plans for
completing the book, so we may have a clear idea of the finished product.
Your estimates of the final size of the work and its potential market
should also be included, as well as your resume of experience and
training relating to the subject matter. We will respond with our
evaluation of your project.
Case 3 - If you have completed an early draft of the whole
work, please respond as per Case 2 above. If we like your proposal, we
will respond with a request to see a final draft.
Case 4 - If
you have published a book that is now out of print, and which you think
we should reprint, please send us a copy of the book and a synopsis of
its printing history.
If you have any
questions regarding your submission, please call our Editorial Director
at 1-800-876-6103 ext 2. Otherwise, send your
submission to Editorial Director, Heritage Books, Inc., Publishing
Division, 5810 Ruatan St., Berwyn Heights, MD
20740. You can also reach us by e-mail at Submissions@HeritageBooks.com.
In any case, do not send us originals of text, photographs, or artwork
unless we specifically request them — send only copies. If you want any
of the materials returned to you, please be sure to enclose a
self-addressed mailer with sufficient return postage. We attempt to
respond promptly to all submissions. If you have not heard from us within
sixty days, please contact us.
ACCEPTANCE AND REJECTION
Naturally, we would like to accept all
the book proposals that we receive, but that is not feasible, and it is
not in the author’s best interest for us to accept books that we cannot
effectively market. However, it is our policy to accept, in some way,
proposals which meet our standards regarding content, and where we can
justify at least a minimum acceptable print run.
All acceptances are, of course,
tentative until a publishing agreement has been signed. Our response to
your specific submission will take one of the following forms:
Rejection - We
must reject outright some proposals we receive simply because they are
clearly outside the range of subject matter or time frame that we can
effectively market. We do not offer any editorial critique on rejected
proposals. However, we can offer assistance if you are interested
in self-publishing the work.
Guarantee Acceptance - Book proposals that are narrow in scope and have a
limited market we accept on a guarantee sales basis when possible. The
usual conditions are: a) that the author provides acceptable camera-ready
copy for the book, and b) that the author guarantees to purchase a predetermined
number of copies of the work on a non-royalty basis.
Conditional Acceptance - We will tentatively accept a proposal when we feel
certain that we can effectively market the book, but the book is not yet
completed. A final evaluation by our selection committee is made after
the work is finished.
Outright Acceptance - If your book is complete and acceptable to us,
then we will send you a publishing agreement for your immediate
Once your proposal has been accepted you
will need to provide us with copy for your book in one of two forms
depending on your facilities and the terms of our agreement: 1) as
camera-ready copy; or 2) in the form of an existing book in the case of a
Camera-Ready Copy - Camera-ready copy is copy that is completely finished and ready
for the printer (we usually typeset the title page, copyright page, and
the cover, unless you would like to do these also). Since this can be a
complex process, it is essential that we see and approve the format you
plan to use before you do the final formatting of your book. After we
look at your sample pages, we can decide on a layout that will be most
suitable for your book, and we will give you the specific instructions
for arranging the text. In addition to the paper copy we request an
electronic copy of the manuscript.
Page Size and Appearance -
The text should be printed on one side only of white, 8½”x11”
ordinary bond paper. It is important that all pages are aligned within the
same margins and that the ink coverage is uniform on all pages throughout
Page Numbering - Each page
should be appropriately numbered. All of the front matter (table of
contents, dedication, preface, introduction etc.) should be numbered with
lowercase Roman numerals; the remainder of the book should be numbered
with Arabic numerals. Each new section should begin on an odd-numbered
page; blank pages must be inserted when necessary to accomplish this.
Each blank page is counted as if it were a regular numbered page. See
“The Chicago Manual of Style” for sample page numbering and other
Number of Pages - The
maximum number of pages per book is 640; however, we recommend that you
actually have no more than 500 pages per volume. A book larger than 640
pages may be split into two volumes for convenience and economy.
- If we are going to reprint your existing book, you will need to provide
us with a clean copy of the book to use in the process. We may re-typeset
the title and copyright pages, and possibly add an errata page or new
index, but the bulk of the book will be a facsimile reprint of the book
you provide - possibly with some reduction or enlargement to accommodate
our basic page sizes. The book you provide will be completely taken apart
in order for us to reprint it, and it is not possible to rebind it. It is
only useful for possible later reprinting, and is retained by us for that
Cover Design -
Normally, we design the covers for the books we publish. You are welcome
to provide your own artwork for the cover and/or the interior. We can use
your artwork and typeset the copy for the front and back covers and the
spine, or you may provide us with the camera-ready cover, with the copy
typeset around your artwork.
We print the
copyright notice on the back of the title page along with other
publishing data. We do not register the copyright with the Library of
Congress, but we do send them two copies of each book, which is required
by law. If you wish to register the copyright, you may obtain information
about the law, registration form, and fee from the Register of
Copyrights, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559.