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
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
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.
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.
your situation in the light of the four general cases discussed above and
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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
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
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.
Acceptance - If your book is complete and
acceptable to us, then we will send you a publishing agreement for your
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.
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 editorial details.
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.
Book - 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 purpose.
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,