Only submit a full proposal if you have received an e-mail from us accepting your initial enquiry. To send us a letter of enquiry, please visit the Trade and Academic Initial Enquiry page and follow the instructions there.

We do not look at unsolicited manuscripts.

The book proposal: what’s needed?

  1. A full contents outline, which includes a description,of the main points and arguments you develop in each chapter. 
  2. At least fifty pages of the manuscript, whether that is one chapter or two. 
  3. A description of your target readership and assessment of the competition
  4. Word count (actual or proposed)

Guidance for your proposal

Contents outline: Don’t summarize the argument because it will make the proposal seem insubstantial but instead explain what you are going to do in each chapter and section, which issues you are going to discuss, and how the examples given illustrate your argument. In short, don’t merely summarize but talk about how you are going to write the book. It is often helpful to break up each chapter into three to four titled sections. The point of the outline is to show the editor that you can research, order and outline the book in a dozen pages or less. The outline should give a clear sense of narrative or structural flow. Give each chapter an opening hook and a climax at the end that links to the next chapter. In the contents outline, you must provide full details of proposed textual features, illustrations or half-tone photographs (send electronic samples, which must be at least 300dpi), tables and charts.

Manuscript: The point of the sample is to show how well you can write. After all, you might have a brilliant idea but if you can’t write clearly and engagingly then your book stands no chance of getting published. And what your sample should show is that you are writing well for your chosen genre under the broad categories of non-fiction trade or academic titles that Kube and the Islamic Foundation publish. If you are an established author, you may not have to send in a sample, but a first-time author may have to send in more. Don’t automatically assume that you should send in the introduction, but, rather, those chapters that are most pivotal to the book. They do not necessarily have to be consecutive chapters.

Target readership and competition: For trade titles, you need to segment and define your audience by age, gender, geography and so on. Never talk about general appeal in unspecified terms. The use of reliable evidence about the level of interest will strengthen the proposal. For instance a book

on legal claims after car accidents would mention how many millions are involved in accidents each year. Assess sales figures for books in your field. For academic titles, in Germano’s words, there is your ‘devoted readership’, such as family and close friends, who will probably expect free copies, then your peers in your field who are your ‘core readership’, then a ‘supplementary readership’ who might have a passing interest in your book. Finally there is the educated reader, which is probably one’s ‘wishful thinking readership’. So focus on explaining the size of your core readership and provide evidence, not speculation, on its size. It may not sell as much as a trade title but an academic title that finds the right specialist audience can still be marketable.

Finally, assess the competition and learn from it. The claim that no one has ever published a book remotely like yours before is only very rarely true. Look at similar titles that are currently available on the market, and especially those on our publishing backlist (Islamic Foundation and Kube). If we have a similar enough book on our backlist already, then it is unlikely that we will be interested in your proposal. What does your proposal add that is distinctive or different? For trade titles, it is not a disadvantage that there are other good sellers in your field, as it indicates strong demand. For academic titles, as there is a greater premium on originality, there is a greater need to demonstrate that originality by discussing the strengths and weakness of books closest to yours in your field.

Word count: This should be broken down chapter-by-chapter, and also section-by-section. As this can be a sensitive issue, it is best to consult with the publishing house on this matter

After looking at a proposal, the editorial team will inform you if they wish to consider the full manuscript for publication or, as the case may be, to commission a manuscript for publication.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.