Tips for Submitting a Book Proposal (for the US market)

by Maggie Stanley, SAGE US Books Associate Editor

SAGE is always looking for authors who are passionate, committed, and excited about their vision.  My colleague David Repetto, SAGE’s US Publisher for Sociology, considers an author’s vision to be the single most important element of a textbook proposal. “The roots of the best author visions often come from teaching the course,” David says. And he’s right! A well-developed vision meets a need in the market by proposing a better way to teach the course.

With David’s words in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind when drafting your proposal:

  • Include a detailed table of contents. The table of contents is often the first thing instructors examine when considering a book for their course, so it’s important the table of contents clearly reflects the breadth, depth, and vision of text.  For each chapter, we at SAGE recommend including headings, subheadings, and a brief description.
  • Submit one or more sample chapters with the proposal. Sample chapters allow the acquisition editor to see how you’ve accomplished the goals described in your proposal. Editors are especially interested in how you organize the chapter, integrate the described themes, and craft key features. Sample chapters also give us a taste of your writing style, level, and tone – all important aspects of a successful textbook.
  • Include a thoughtful, comprehensive analysis of the competition. In your proposal, assess the strengths and weaknesses of at least 3 competing books. Clearly articulate why and how your book is a better alternative to each competing book.

Interested in submitting a book proposal to SAGE? You can download the complete SAGE Proposal Guidelines here. You can find the contact information for all SAGE US textbook and reference editors on our website.

Not in the US? Find out more about our UK book program and check out our guidelines from our UK office here. You can find contact information for SAGE UK and Learning matters commissioning editors on our website, as well.

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