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How Do I Write a Book Proposal?

1 August 2012 One Comment

You’ve decided to write a book, or you already have a draft, and now you need to find a publisher. Between you and a publishing contract lies the book proposal form. Every publisher has one, and most of the information included is standard. Here’s what you can expect to be asked when proposing a book to the ASA-SIAM Series on Statistics and Applied Probability.

The Basics

To start, you’ll need to supply the full names and addresses of all authors, editors, or contributors, along with the title you’re planning to use. Don’t worry if you haven’t entirely settled on a title yet. Provide one that’s workable, and you can always revise it with help from reviewer and/or publisher suggestions.

Production Information

Next, you’ll need to estimate how many pages the finished book will be and note whether you’ll need color art so we can get an idea of whether we can produce your book at an affordable price for customers. We’ll also want to know when you expect to finish the manuscript, so we can budget the book for the appropriate publication year.


Now, it’s time to talk about the technical content of the book. Briefly describe the focus of the book and your motivation for writing it. How do you expect people will use it, and why is there a need for it? What specific topics have you chosen to address? If there are related topics that you’ve purposely omitted, explain why.

Be prepared to talk succinctly about how your book will differ from other books already on the market in the same topic area.

For example, have you included full proofs, case studies, extensive exercises, or new material not yet published elsewhere? Will you be offering supplementary online material such as data sets, code for particular software, or slides?

Purpose and Audience

What will the main purpose of your book be? Is it a monograph for researchers and practitioners? Is it an introductory book for people seeking to learn about a new area? Is it a textbook that provides exercises and problems for students to solve as homework or for self-study purposes? If it’s a textbook, for what level of course is it intended, and what are the names of courses for which it would be reasonable to expect instructors to use it?


To help us get an idea of the place your book would have in the market, you’ll be asked to mention competing books from other publishers and describe how your book differs from each. We’ll also ask you to list titles from our catalog that are complementary to your book and which could be marketed with it.

The book proposal form encapsulates critical information about your book project and conveys it clearly to publishing staff, editorial board members, and reviewers. It also can help you, as the author, to think more deeply about the specifics of the book you’d like to write. Taking the time to answer the questions thoroughly and thoughtfully is an important step in finding the right home for your project.

If you’re interested in submitting a proposal to the ASA-SIAM Series on Statistics and Applied Probability, please contact series acquisitions editor Sara Murphy at murphy@siam.org.

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One Comment »

  • Mira amman said:

    Good job…tnx i’v learnt alot