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 newspapers.
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 (301) 345-2077.
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 reprint.
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 the book.
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.