Submitting to a publisher

If you've now got a manuscript that you think is in pretty good shape here's a few things you should check before you submit it to any publisher.

  • Check for spelling mistakes - don't rely on your word processing program to do the spell check - 'then' isn't the same as 'than' but spell checkers often don't distinguish the context.
  • Read a chapter out loud. This will alert you to whether there are common spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Provided style is consistent and the work can be easily navigated don't get too hung about how your manuscript looks. Always check the publishers' submission guidelines before you submit.

Choosing the publisher

You need to find the one that is the right fit for your work. Most academic publishers and university presses specialise in specific areas of scholarship and the types of books they publish. Check out their websites and also their latest catalogue or releases. Also note that some publishers do not accept unsolicited works.

Aboriginal Studies Press will consider unsolicited works and publishes in a range of academic disciplines in the area of Indigenous studies as well as general interest books for commercial release. Through its open-access publishing imprint, ASP publishes scholarly works in the areas of land rights and native title, Indigenous studies including history, anthropology, cultural, colonial and legal studies, education, governance, linguistics and health. (See submitting to ASP and AIATSIS Research Publications)

Like all publishers, ASP has a process for submitting works which includes completing a book proposal form.

Writing your book proposal

Your book proposal is your pitch. Here is where you sell the idea of your work including why it's unique or how it is special, who is the audience, and where it fits in the discipline and the contribution it makes. Book proposals normally include:

  • a synopsis (around 300 words)
  • chapter breakdown
  • sample chapter(s)
  • proposed length
  • readership
  • author bio
  • similar or competing titles

Choosing a title for the work

Whilst this is often something authors spend some time thinking about, your publisher along with their marketing and sales people will have an informed opinion about this and often they will have discretion over the title. The first thing you might like to do is check that your proposed title hasn't been used before.


University presses will often have a publications committee who either inform or make final decisions about publication. If you submit your manuscript to ASP it will be assessed by the Publishing Director and then sent to two external readers before going to the Publishing Advisory Committee for consideration. The committee includes three external members (the majority of whom are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples), the Director of ASP, the Executive Director of Research, and the CEO who is also the Chair and makes the final decision about publication. If your manuscript is being considered for publication under the AIATSIS research publications imprint, it will be considered by an internal committee and assessed by peer reviewers.

Last reviewed: 6 Nov 2018