Monograph Guidelines

Author guidelines for the submission of monographs.

1. Preparing the Manuscript Files

1.1 Create a folder on your computer for the project. Please label this folder with your last name plus abbreviated title of book, such as,


1.2 Have each chapter in a separate Word file within that folder.

1.2.1 Title the chapter files so that it’s clear what order they go in.

For example:
00_Front_Matter.doc (acknowledgments, table of contents, dedications, etc.)

1.3 Save images outside of the Word files, i.e., do not include them in the Word files.

1.3.1 Put images (as JPGs, PNGs, TIFFs, etc.) in their own sub-folders. Name each folder after the number in the chapter’s file name: 03_Images. If there are only a few images in the entire book, then it’s fine to have only one image folder.

1.3.2 Name the images so they are numbered in order.

For example:

1.3.3 Create a Word file in each folder of images which includes captions for each image, sources for each image, and permissions for each image. If you have correspondence (such as emails) related to requesting permission to reprint certain images, include copies of that correspondence in this folder as well, and go here for a template letter for requesting permission to reprint images.

1.3.4 Images must be at least 300dpi. If there is a question about whether or not an image will be usable, please consult with punctum before submitting final manuscript.

Providing images less than the required 300dpi resolution, or with resolutions artificially inflated, will result in your manuscript being returned and thus incurring delays in production. Please make sure to check this thoroughly for every image you provide with your manuscript.

1.3.5 Within the text of the book, make sure that images are referred to by Figure number.

Like this: “In Montmartre, wheels of brie are stacked along the streets (see Fig. 1).”
Not this: “In Montmartre, wheels of brie are stacked along the streets, as you can see here:”

Also include tags in your main body text indicating where you would ideally like for images to be placed (e.g., “Place Figure 1 here”). We’ll do the best to honor your tags, but  keep in mind that books are not blogs. Sometimes, to create a more elegant design (i.e., to improve readability), images should be on their own page, or on the top of the next page, or elsewhere. For most books, write your text so that text and images can be independent.

1.3.6 A note about fair use

Fair use laws are a mess. They are not as permissive as they probably should be; they differ from country to country; there are not enough clear cases of precedent.

In the US, the relevant part of the copyright law is 17 USC § 107, which states that copying for criticism, comment, reporting, and scholarship does not infringe copyright if the use meets several other loosely defined criteria.

Because our books are commercial (even if we are a non-profit press), it needs to be clear that when we reproduce something, we are reproducing it for non-commercial reasons. We can reproduce copyrighted material for analysis or criticism—but we cannot reproduce it merely to illustrate (because that, in effect, makes our work more lucrative).

We also don’t want to be jerks. We don’t want to exploit someone else’s work just because we found it on the internet and couldn’t contact them. Even if we feel we have the right, we may avoid using a public domain work that an institution feels they “own” the copyright to by virtue of owning the object (and the ability to make an adequate reproduction of it); after all, you might need a favor from that institution some day.

There are certainly valid scholarly and artistic reasons for pushing the limits of fair use. Still, we want to be thoughtful about when and how we push those limits.

(This all applies to quoted text as well, of course.)

1.3.7 You, the author(s), have the first responsibility of making sure we’re reproducing images ethically. If an image has an unclear source or permission (e.g., if it’s “from the Internet”), make sure you are analyzing the image, not just using it as illustration. If it’s just illustration, consider deleting it and rewriting the passage.

1.4 The most important thing is that the manuscript is consistent and uniformly and cleanly formatted. We do not use a word processor as a basis for our layout, so there is no need to adjust margins, manually correct hyphenations, create elaborate formatting styles, use special fonts, or add other typographical flourishes. Please present your text in the most plain-style, cleanest fashion possible.

1.5 In particular, make sure that each chapter uses the same citation style (more on that below). But also check that captions, block quotes, headers, section numbering, etc., are all treated in a similar way.

1.5.1 If you are using reference management tools like Zotero, please make sure to save your documents without the reference links (the “grey highlights”) active. Otherwise they severly impede the copyediting process.

1.6 In addition to the chapters and the information about the images, include a file (sub-folder) that has descriptive information about the book:

1.6.1 Verbiage for the website and the back of the book (250 words, give or take). See the catalogue on our website for examples. This verbiage is to be written in the 3rd person singular.

1.6.2 A paragraph about what the point of the book is — who is it for, what is trying to achieve? This is to help design and market the book and will also be used as starting point for the back cover blurb.

1.6.3 An image (or selection of images) that you’d like to be considered for the cover, or a description of the sort of image you’d like, or any notes or ideas you have regarding how you think the cover design should be. punctum has a specific and recognizable design profile and we don’t want to compromise that; at the same time, we want to involve authors in the cover design process as much as possible. (See below for more details on the cover creation process.)

1.6.4 A one-paragraph biography (of no more than 200 words) for each author.

1.6.5 We encourage our authors to also register for an ORCID identifier and to include that with biography.

1.6.6 If you’re attached to an institution, include its ROR identifier in the biography.

1.6.7 Seven keywords describing the monograph as a whole.

1.6.8 Social media account names/handles (for Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter) to help us better coordinate online marketing around your book.

1.6.9 Preferred personal pronouns

1.6.10 If amenable, please supply author photograph(s).

1.7 Once your folder is prepared, you are ready to send it to us.

1.7.1 Compress the folder containing all the documents into a single ZIP file and check it has the right name (see 1.1).

1.7.2 Upload this file into the dedicated punctum file drop. Do not send us large files by email. We also advise against using free services such as Dropbox and WeTransfer, which will keep your files (and your intellectual property) in their clouds indefinitely, and which will make your work vulnerable to modes of surveillance and mining that you cannot control.

2. On Our House Style

Please see our Style Guide for a full overview.

3. Manuscript Check and Cover Design

3.1 You have sent us the folder containing your completed manuscript. We will check the contents against our submission guidelines, and do a rough check of the contents so we can pick out any major editorial issues, such as related to orthography, referencing style, or organization. This is the first of several checks and edits to your manuscript:

  1. Post-submission manuscript check: Rough check against guidelines on organization, reference style, orthography;
  2. Copyediting: Extensive review of the manuscript based on our style guide, attention to argument and references, stylistics issues, potential ESL (English as a second language) issues, global and local composition;
  3. Review of copyedits: Review by the author/of our copyedits;
  4. Post-review check: Review of the manuscript after the author reviewed our copyedits;
  5. PDF proofing: Review of the draft interior design by the author with possibility of small corrections;
  6. Hardcopy proofing: Review of the finalized interior in hardcopy proof form.

3.2 We are dedicated to working closely with authors relative to design issues. Please also keep in mind, however, that punctum has worked very hard to craft and maintain a very distinctive design aesthetic, and we do not want to ever compromise that. So there may be times, for example, when we cannot, or do not want to, work with a cover design idea you have, but we promise to always listen to your ideas and to work with them as much as we can. The bottom line is: we want our book covers to be striking and memorable, and we also want our authors to love the design of their books.

3.3 We will show you draft designs of the cover of your book. We will ask you for your feedback and suggestions.

3.4 You have the right to veto design choices. We also have the right to veto your ideas for design.

3.5 Once we’ve all agreed on the draft design, the design may continue to undergo small tweaks as we prepare for release.

4. Copyediting

4.1 Once we have agreed on a cover design a few months will pass as your book works itself up along the queue. About three months before the expected launch date, we start copyediting.

4.2 Depending on the length, style, nature, and format of your book and a whole bunch of other factors, copyediting can take up one to several weeks. We will let you know when we start the process and may email you intermittently with queries. The sooner you respond the faster we can work, but we won't rush.

4.3 You will receive the copyedited files back from us together with verbiage explaining our interventions and changes. Most of them will be track/changed in the document, but certain repetitive errors (such removing UK spelling or inserting Oxford commas) may have been done "silently" to avoid cluttered Word documents. Sometimes these edits may be more substantial than you are used to from other presses. Our editorial process thoroughly engages with the text and often we'll provide more than just line edits. All of this may appear overwhelming at first, but it is all in the service of the manuscript. This is what copyediting used to be before everything got outsourced.

4.4 You have a chance to review all our changes and respond to our queries. Please do so fastidiuously. Do not accept/reject any of the track changes, comment on those you disagree with. Return your reviewed manuscript to us.

4.5 We will then check your reviewed manuscript against our edits to make sure nothing has slipped through and all open issues have been attended to. We do all this to avoid multiple rounds of corrections at the proofing stage, when such correcting are much more cumbersome to implement.

4.6 We may get back to you with additional queries, but after that it's time for typesetting.

5. Proofreading

5.1 Once your book has been typeset, you will receive galley proofs in the form of a PDF. We have a separate page explaining how to proof our PDFs.

5.2 Proofreading is difficult. Everyone involved looks out for errors, but someone should be the primary proofreader. This might be the author or someone the author hires (a research assistant, perhaps). The bottom line is that authors are not always the best proofreaders of their own work (having partly to do with how many times they have read their own writing and are not paying the closest possible attention to every single sentence, etc.). While punctum will of course always be proofreading as the manuscript goes through several production phases, it is imperative that authors carefully review all edited and typeset proofs that we send to them, and if you become weary of reading the manuscript over and over again, please enlist a competent proofreader to help you.

5.3 You will always have another chance to look at the corrected text, until final publication. As opposed to many other, more traditional academic presses, punctum does not limit in advance the number of times an author can review edited and typeset proofs. However, if we feel an author is being excessive with corrections and emendations of typeset proofs, we reserve the right to gently apply the brakes or to request a subvention for the continuation of work on the book.

5.4 Once everything is set and the files are ready to go, they are uploaded to the printer. We review a print proof to ensure there are not any small errors we may have missed previously.

6. Publicity and Promotion

6.1 Your book has been a designed PDF for a while now. Everyone has tried to squash errors. It is about to be published. We need to think a bit about publicity and promotion. How will readers find out about your book?

6.2 It is imperative that you work closely with us to secure potential reviews of the book. It is no longer standard practice to simply send out copies of books to potential review outlets, as they are inundated with too many books and press releases and these often just get discarded. Once the book is heading to final publication, we ask that you compile a list of journals, online outlets, and the like where it is believed there may be interest in the book. We will be happy to make initial contacts and if interest is expressed, we will happily send them a copy of the print edition. It is also always useful if authors have any contacts anywhere who might be interested in reviewing and/or promoting the book, and are willing to help us reach out to specific persons. We do not believe that reviews in academic journals that exist behind a paywall are ideal, but we understand these can be very meaningful in certain fields, and of course we will send books to journal reviews editors if authors provide us with those contact details (many academic journals have regular, open calls and conduits for review copies).

6.3 It is extremely helpful and also useful to your book’s promotion if you can arrange readings, launch parties, and other events around your book’s release. It is imperative, however, that you not schedule any of these events until after your book’s publication because it is not uncommon for unforeseen glitches to occur that can delay a book’s release, and we need at least 2-3 weeks’ lead-time to get copies of the book printed and shipped in time for an event. We are happy to help in any way we can with these events, but as they will likely happen in locations where we might not be able to be physically present (our offices are located in Santa Barbara, California and The Hague, Netherlands), it is important that you ply your local contacts (at bookstores, university spaces, bars and clubs, etc.) in order to arrange readings and events around your book. If you happen to live in a location, such as New York City, where there is a substantive number of other punctum authors, we can also help arrange a group reading event.

6.4 If there are any bookstores that you have relationships with, or that you think would be particularly keen on carrying your book, let us know, and we’ll work with the bookstore staff to place your books there. You should know that some bookstores will only buy books on consignment and also want to be able to return copies that don’t sell (if they pay for them in advance). punctum does not offer books on consignment and does not allow returns (because we don’t warehouse nor distribute our own books – that is handled by our printer). So just let your favorite, local bookstores know that we are happy to offer them a 40% discount off the list price and will also absorb shipping costs if they want to order directly from us (this is a better deal then they will get if they order our titles directly from Ingram, the wholesaler that carries our titles). You may also want to purchase additional copies from us (at a 50% discount) that you can drop off at your favorite bookstores “on consignment.”

6.5 Promotion of books on social media is fast becoming one of the better ways to attract new readers and to also get the attention of communities of readers and researchers within specific fields and disciplines who are dedicated to and curious about new work. To that end, it is helpful if you are active on either or any combination of Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram. If you are, please make sure that you friend and follow punctum on these social media so that we can tag you in our announcements of the book’s publication. It is useful, in the first month after the book’s publication, if we can craft together with you a social media campaign whereby you and punctum send out staggered “blasts” about the book over a monthlong period. Be sure to consult with your point person at punctum about crafting a social media campaign together as publication draws near.

6.6 Discussions about publicity and promotion should happen before the book is published, but they can continue after the book is published as well. Let us know about reviewing opportunities or readings in the future. We have a monthly newsletter that often includes announcements of such events.

7. Publication Day

7.1 Publication can happen abruptly, but we will try to let you know the day of its coming a few weeks in advance.

Although we generally get books published within 10-12 months from the time of final submission of the manuscript, there are many twists and turns throughout the editorial and production phases that make it difficult to say with exact precision when a title will be published. As we get closer to the final publication date, we will give you the closest approximation we can, and within the final several weeks of production, we can usually identify the week it will be released. As stated above in Section 6, it is mainly important that you not promise copies of the book to anyone nor arrange events around the book until after the book is actually released.

7.2 When the book is published, we will do a big social media fanfare. We encourage you to do this, too, as will we, as explained above in Section 6.5.

7.3 You will receive 5 gratis copies of your book, and if you want additional copies, we will be happy to provide them at 50% off the list price (plus, we will absorb the shipping costs unless, for some reason, the shipping costs are higher than normal, due to location or some other reason, in which case we will split shipping costs with you).

7.4 And congratulations! It has been a lot of work, but you have made a book!