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 only accept roughly 20 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, including edited volumes, accompanied by brief proposals sent to us between May 1 and July 31 of each year to co-directors Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy, eileen@punctumbooks.com, and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, vincent@punctumbooks.com. We won’t read, review, or accept any manuscripts sent to us outside those dates or if they are sent within those months but are not complete. As regards books that might not be complete, you can send very brief queries about such any time by email, but we will only respond to say "this interests us" or "this isn't quite right for us," and we won't read or review sample chapters. So to reemphasize, we will only review completed manuscripts during our open reviewing period.

Submissions should include proposals and the manuscript itself. By proposal for the book, we mean a brief description of the historical, intellectual, and cultural backgrounds that the book emerges from and/or challenges, the overall aims and ambitions of the book, its organization and rationale for such, with chapter summaries (brief paragraphs). 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, as in, don't include your c.v. or letters of recommendation.

As stated above, we accept manuscripts from May through July and send back responses on a rolling basis from July through September (roughly, within 2 months). So, for example, authors submitting manuscripts in May will generally receive responses in July, and so on, but there may be delays depending on the number of manuscripts we receive each month. Initial responses regarding submissions take the form of "strong yes," "strong but provisional yes," and "no." The initial round of review is conducted by punctum's Directors, Eileen and Vincent, who are peer scholars trained and well versed in a wide variety of disciplines and art practices, which is why punctum calls itself a scholar-led press. It's a unique process that we think provides special attention to and care for any author's work because punctum's Directors are closely reading and reviewing manuscripts, as opposed to farming out the work to impersonal external reviewers. After initial review, manuscripts that receive a "strong yes" are accepted for publication and go back to authors for further revisions as they see fit, with any advice they seek from Eileen and Vincent. Manuscripts that receive a "no" are not accepted for publication. Manuscripts that receive a "strong yet provisional yes" are further reviewed by a member of our Editorial Advisory Board  or an author who has published with us, whoever is best suited to read an author's manuscript. Authors can also suggest external reviewers if that is important to them. Secondary reviewers will affirm our provisional "yes" or advise us that the manuscript should not be published, and for what reasons. Their reviews typically take two months, but can sometimes take longer, depending on various circumstances. The entire process is led by a community deeply invested in the press and the authors we publish.

In general, we follow AAUP’s guidelines for “Best Practices for Peer Review,” but we are also an author-centered press and therefore, in addition to, or opposed to, the review process outlined above, we are open to authors and anthology editors 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 open access and 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.

Finally, please also keep the following in mind:

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 readership in mind (whether scholarly or otherwise) will be considered. Many dissertations authors have benefited from three books by William Germano, From Dissertation to Book, On Revision, and Getting It Published.

We do not review multiple submissions by the same author or editor. 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.

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's “Why Book Processing Charges (BPCs) Vary So Much.”

Fees will never be a requirement for publication, now and in the future, and we don;t 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.

At the same time, 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. However, since punctum’s operations are mainly funded by supporting research libraries, 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 institutions, and tell them you’re a punctum author and would like to see us supported by your library.


Submitting Your Manuscript through an Imprint

If you are interested in publishing with 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 and manage their own manuscript review and acceptance procedures.