Publishing query – submission guidelines
Thank you for considering Wits University Press for publication of your manuscript. In the submission process, we do not generally consider full manuscripts upfront. Initially we require a proposal, which is put before the publishing committee. Should the committee find that your proposal fits our publishing programme, we will request a full manuscript.
Your proposal should include the following items, submitted to us in electronic form as a Word document:
1. The provisional book title
2. Current curriculum vitae of the author/s or volume editor/s, including address, telephone number, email and current position.
- A brief description of the book (100-350 words). Even if your book is on a specialised subject/theme, your description should be intelligible to a non-specialist audience.
- The estimated length of the manuscript (in number of words).
- The estimated number of illustrations, photos, tables and figures, maps and appendices, etc. We generally print in black and white but if there are specific requirements for colour, please indicate your reasons.
- The Table of Contents with brief descriptions of each chapter.
- An introductory chapter and a sample chapter (about 40 pages altogether).
- Projected completion date of the manuscript and submission to Wits Press.
- Details of any deadlines we should be aware of (e.g. key events, conferences, donor requirements).
Please note that we do not consider dissertations or theses. If your work is based on your PhD we will only send it out for review once adapted into a book manuscript and suitable for a wider audience.
4. Readership and Marketing
As the author of the work, you are acutely familiar with the readership and audience. In order for us to maximise the potential of promoting your work please provide us with as much information as possible:
- Please provide a two-sentence summary (no more than 75 words) expressing the scope and theme of your manuscript. Please emphasise any key selling points for the academic market you are targeting.
- Include what area of studies your manuscript falls into e.g. literary criticism, ethnographic studies, heritage studies, politics, urban studies, development studies, trade, art/photography.
- Please provide a list of at least three competing or similar titles (please do not say that there are no other competing works. We need to get a sense of how your project would be competing for the end purchaser’s attention and money).
- Specify if there is prescription potential (tertiary university courses and/or special institutes, think-tanks and NGOs).
- Provide a list of academic or professional associations whose members may have an interest in your book. Include professional meetings where your book would be suitable for display, for example: Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA), The Historical Society, etc.
- List 10 appropriate journals where we could submit the publication for review. Include journals where your work has been previously published. Please note any special circumstance regarding journals or newspapers (i.e. relationship with book editor/reviewer, etc.) that would increase the likelihood of review.
- Please provide names of recognised authorities on the book’s subject matter who you believe would be interested in providing pre- or post-publication comments for promotional purposes. Please include complete postal and email addresses.
5. Additional information
- Indicate whether sections of the book have been published (e.g. journal article, book chapter, etc.) and if you are willing to revise the chapter, if need be and source permission from the original publisher to re-publish.
- An indication of any funds you can contribute to the publication or any institutions which may be interested in purchasing bulk copies at a discounted rate.
- An indication of whether you are submitting your manuscript simultaneously to other publishers, in South Africa or abroad.
- Suggest suitable peer reviewers. Please note that there should be no conflict of interest in your recommendations. The final decision of appointing reviewers is that of the publishing committee and your suggestions will be taken into consideration.
Once we have received a complete proposal as above, it goes before the publishing committee. This committee only meets twice a month and we address proposals in the order in which they are received. As we have many submissions, yours may not necessarily be put forward at the next committee meeting. Please be patient as we follow what is a standard publishing procedure, with a very busy programme and a small team.
I hope to let you know whether we’ve decided to submit your manuscript for peer review within two months from the date of receipt of proposal. We follow NRF guidelines on peer review procedures, and a decision to publish will only be made after two readers’ reports from experts in the field have been received. Finding suitable reviewers can be difficult and time-consuming, and there are often further delays as we wait for reports. We may stop the process if we can’t find suitable readers after a number of approaches, or if they do not deliver. Please note that a decision to go ahead with peer review does not necessarily mean that we’ll publish even if the reports are favourable, as we are able to publish only a limited number of books every year. However, if your manuscript does not suit our list or strategic direction, we will endeavour to inform you of this as soon as possible.
Please note that we do not publish certain categories including fiction, poetry, motivational writing, spiritual or religious inspiration, esoteric and DIY/self-help. To find a suitable publisher for these categories, we advise you consult the free online directory of the Publishers’ Association of South Africa www.publishsa.co.za.
You can also visit our website www.witspress.co.za and click on the link “publishing with Wits UP” for our online proposal form.