About Submitting Your Manuscript

punctum books welcomes submissions from academic and para-academic authors working in any field in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and architecture & design who want to publish books that are genre-queer and genre-bending and which take experimental risks with the forms and styles of intellectual writing. Three primary concentrations for us are (1) books that shift the paradigm in established disciplines; (2) books that help to create emerging transdisciplinary fields; and (3) books that play in the fields of creatively speculative thought. Following the contours sketched out above, we also welcome multi-authored essay volumes that are creatively conceptualized and expertly curated around specific themes, subjects, debates, approaches, and the like.

How To Submit Your Manuscript for Review

We receive an overwhelming number of book proposals and at the moment we can accept only 20–30 manuscripts per year for publication in the following seasons. In total we publish approximately 35 books per year, and the remaining books accepted come from our imprints.

In order to manage as best we can the flow of proposals as well as our production schedule, our procedure is to only receive and review completed manuscripts accompanied by brief proposals sent to us between May 1 and July 31 of each year (to c-directors Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy, eileen@punctumbooks.com and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, vincent@punctumbooks.com). There is one exception below for edited volumes.

We won’t accept or review any manuscripts sent to us outside those dates.

Submissions should include proposals and the manuscript itself. By proposal for the book, we mean a brief description of the book’s intellectual and/or historical backgrounds, the intellectual and other work the book emerges from and/or challenges, the overall aims and ambitions of the book, and its organization, with chapter summaries. Full manuscripts and proposals must be sent assembled into a single PDF file, including a cover sheet with author name(s), institutional affiliations (if they apply), and contact information. Please don’t send any other materials with your submissions.

We prefer to receive only full manuscripts during our review period, but we understand that for some editors, a provisional “yes” might be helpful and also necessary to move an edited collection forward (especially for editors situated at universities where oversight of professional progress can be extreme). In this case, send a proposal for the edited collection, as detailed above, including when you expect the book to be finished, and sample chapters (ideally, at least 2 chapters, if that's possible). Assemble all of this into a single PDF document, including a cover sheet with author name(s), institutional affiliations (if they apply), and contact information.

We do not review unrevised dissertations. Dissertations are written for a very specific audience and cannot be published as is for a more general readership. Only dissertations fully rewritten with a general (scholarly/academic) readership in mind will be considered.

We do not review multiple submissions by the same author. Please do not submit more than one manuscript per year.

We do not mind if authors want to submit their manuscripts to other publishers at the same time as they submit to us (and we understand the necessity of this, too), but we do ask that you inform us of this at the time of submission and also keep in touch with us when and if another publisher wants to publish your book so that we don't duplicate labor.

Manuscripts are reviewed by the co-directors, Eileen and Vincent (punctum books is a scholar-led press, which means that the first round of review counts as peer review). At some point from mid to late October, Eileen and Vincent will tell authors whether it is a “no” or a strong yet provisional “yes.” These manuscripts will then be reviewed by members of our Editorial Advisory Board with expertise in the proposal’s subject area(s), and when there is no board member whose expertise matches the subject area(s), then punctum draws upon external experts. Any additional peer review will be discussed with the Editorial Advisory Board and author(s)/editor(s). It is not always easy to know with perfect precision when final decisions are made, but usually by the end of January.

In general, we follow AAUP’s guidelines for “Best Practices for Peer Review,” but we are also an author-centered press, and are open to authors choosing the sort of review process that they feel will best serve the development of their work: double-anonymous, single-anonymous, open and transparent, online and crowd-based, etc. Philosophically, we feel that open-access publishers should be embracing more open forms of review, and our feelings accord fairly well with the opinions expressed HERE and HERE.

All works published by punctum books are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License. We are also open to authors choosing their own Creative Commons license or other form of Copyleft licensing.

If you would like to contact the co-directors in charge of acquisitions with just a very brief book pitch (no materials of any kind to be attached) outside out submission season, we’ll try to respond to say whether it interests us or not, depending on our availability: write to Eileen and Vincent (email addresses above). Depending on a workload at any particular moment, this may take while. We apologize in advance.

Will I Be Charged for Publishing?

punctum is one of the very few Open Access (OA) presses in the world that does not charge what are known as Book Processing Charges (BPCs), because we feel they are inherently anti-democratic and exacerbate the historic inequities of academic publishing, yet they are fast becoming the standard protocol for an increasingly capitalized and neoliberal Open Access publishing. If you are curious to know more about how much it costs to create an academic book and the wide variations of BPCs, see Frances Pinter, “Why Book Processing Charges (BPCs) Vary So Much.”

punctum’s operations are funded by research libraries and we also have a working partnership with UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library. Authors who have access to financial support for open access books, from whatever channel, help us to publish even more books than we normally would be able to, and on behalf of authors who have no access to any funding whatsoever. One of the best things that our authors can do, however, is to bring our Supporting Library Membership Program to the attention of Scholarly Communications librarians and Acquisitions librarians at their universities, and tell them you’re a punctum author and would like to see us supported by your library. Most of our funding comes from university libraries and very book we publish is a gift from them. Most importantly, fees will never be charged to authors and editors and will never be a requirement for publication, now and in the future, and we will never even raise the issue of possible funding sources, until after we have made a decision to publish any given manuscript — our decision to publish any authors’ or editors’ work is solely based on the merits of the ideas and writing, and if a project excites us and is well executed and given a thumbs-up during our review process, we are going to publish it no matter what.

Submitting Your Manuscript through an Imprint

If you are interested, more specifically, in one of our Imprints, such as Brainstorm Books, Dead Letter Office, or 3Ecologies (among others), contact that Imprint’s director(s) or editor(s). Imprints follow their own manuscript review procedures (follow the link just above to see all of our imprints and contact information for each).