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Book submission guidelines

Series Editor: Richard Woodfield  (r.woodfield@bham.ac.uk), Department of the  History of Art, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT

Studies in Art Historiography will be published by Ashgate. The aim of this series is to support and promote the study of the history and practice of art historical writing focusing on its institutional and conceptual foundations, from the past to the present day in all areas and all periods. Besides addressing the major innovators of the past it also encourages re-thinking ways in which the subject may be written in the future. It ignores the disciplinary boundaries imposed by the Anglophone expression ‘art history’ and allows and encourages the full range of enquiry that encompasses the visual arts in its broadest sense as well as topics falling within archaeology, anthropology, ethnography and other specialist disciplines and approaches. It welcomes contributions from young and established scholars and is aimed at building an expanded audience for what has hitherto been a much specialised topic of investigation. It complements the work of the Journal of Art Historiography.

For single author volumes, proposals should take the form of either

1) a preliminary letter of inquiry, briefly describing the project; or

2) a formal prospectus including:

  • Title page – The title you propose for the book and any sub-title, including the name of the author(s)/editor(s).
  • Aims and objectives -This should detail what you would like to achieve with the book and include an assessment of the original contribution that the book will make. Please let us know when you plan to deliver the book and whether publication should coincide with any significant events, exhibitions, anniversaries etc.
  • Scope – A broad account of the territory covered in the book.
  • Approach -An account of how the aims and objectives are achieved and the methodological approach adopted.
  • Intended readership -Who will read the book and why?
  • Outline of contents -A chapter by chapter breakdown describing the content of each chapter and including a word count (not page count, please) inclusive of footnotes, bibliographical information etc. Ideally, the final extent of the book should be between 70,000 and 80,000 words.
  • Illustration -Number and type of illustrations. Please note that books in the visual studies publishing programme may require subsidies (although each book is costed individually, so the subsidy requirements may vary) to assist with the cost of reproducing illustrative material, especially in the case of internal color images. To minimize the level of funding that may be required, authors should therefore only include illustrations that are essential to the understanding of the text. Consideration, at this stage, should also be given as to the quality/accessibility of the originals intended for use in the book. (Authors/editors are required to clear copyright permission on all images used as well as to supply original artwork in a suitable form for reproduction – i.e. good quality prints or high resolution digital files, rather than photocopies – in time for when the final text is submitted to Ashgate.)
  • Competitive publications – A list of all publications in the same territory, accompanied by narrative indicating how your book will improve on and/or differ from what has gone before.
  • CV – The author(s) curriculum vitae (may be attached as a separate document).
  • Select bibliography -This should be a select bibliography of books in the field.
  • Proposed referees – Please send a list of at least 3-4 scholars, including at a minimum their first and last name and institutional affiliation, who could offer an objective and informed opinion about your proposed book. If you are personally acquainted with any of the scholars you recommend, please indicate the nature of your association with them. Please do NOT pre-contact these proposed referees, since we may or may not call on them, and because it is important to preserve the single-blind nature of the process.
  • PhD theses -If your book is a revised version of your PhD thesis, has the thesis been posted on to any institutional repository? If yes, is the institutional repository publicly accessible or accessible only to members of the institution? Please give details.
  • An indication as to whether the proposal has been submitted to any other press.

It is important to signal to the Ashgate acquisitions editor if your submission is not an exclusive one.

For multiple author volumes, proposals should take the form of either:

1) a preliminary letter of inquiry, briefly describing the project; or

2) a formal prospectus including:

  • a brief abstract of the book (150-250 words) which describes the scope and purpose of the volume, and could also serve as a basis for jacket copy;
  • some comments on the market for the volume, how it fits in with current scholarly debates, what competing and/or complementary books there might be;
  • a copy of the c.v. of the volume editor(s), with full contact information;
  • a draft table of contents, with contributors listed alongside their chapter (and please put the contributors’ institutional affiliations, as well);
  • abstracts of the individual chapters;
  • a complete draft of the introduction; an estimate of the final extent of the volume, in *words*, broken down into “main text” and “notes” (pls bear in mind, the ideal total extent from Ashgate’s point of view is 60,000 to 100,000 words, including notes and bibliography);
  • details of any illustrations to be included (number and type; if none, that’s fine);
  • a list of 2-3 scholars, with contact info, who could offer an objective and informed opinion about the work;
  • an estimate of when you would deliver the typescript (month/year).

Please send a copy of either type of proposal to both the series editor and to the publisher:

Professor Richard Woodfield, Editor of the Journal of Art Historiographyr.woodfield@bham.ac.uk , and Erika Gaffney, Publishing Manager, Ashgate Publishing Company, 101 Cherry Street, Suite 420, Burlington VT 05401-4405, USA, egaffney@ashgate.com

Information about working with Ashgate from Ashgate

Before proceeding any further, let us put in writing for you a little about Ashgate’s strengths as a publisher, and also a little about our limitations.  As you may already know, our niche is in publishing highly specialized academic research; we publish books in hardback only at fairly high prices (c. £60-65, or about US$100-125) and our initial print runs are, on average, 5-600 for worldwide distribution.  University libraries form the core of the market for Ashgate books.  We are sure you immediately understand, from what we have said, that we are not set up to distribute either to the general public or to a student market.

We can reproduce 30-40 black-and-white images, sometimes a few more, without a subvention, provided the author clears permissions, including fees.  We aren’t able to reproduce any color images, not even on the book cover, without a more substantial subvention; even then, we would most likely be constrained by economics to place them in a central section, rather than integrating them throughout the book.   Also, we should note for the b/w images: if you can supply your artwork in digital format, we have a little bit more leeway.  Having the material digitally keeps our costs down, which means we can accommodate a few more images for the maximum number we can allow without subvention (but unfortunately this doesn’t help in terms of the requirement for subventions for color images).

In most cases it is up to the author to take the identify subvention sources and do the legwork to secure such funding; once that’s done, we can supply such publisher information and/or supporting documentation for the applications as may be required.  Authors and/or contributors are also responsible for supplying any gratis copies to museums or other institutions, if the institutions require copies of the book as part of the permission-granting process.

Regardless of the amount of subvention it might be possible to contribute, we still advise authors to be conservative in the number of illustrations they use, particularly color ones.  Large numbers of illustrations (especially in color) add to the level of complication of a book, and therefore the amount of time it takes Ashgate to produce it; heavily illustrated books may well also end up with a higher retail price than otherwise.  So we recommend that authors include illustrations only where the argument in the text is difficult to follow without the visual image right there (and only if the image is not readily available elsewhere, whether in print or on the internet); and use color only where absolutely necessary.

In order to keep expenses and production time within reason, Ashgate’s practice, except in very unusual circumstances, is to use one of two standard book sizes (234×156 mm, or 244×172 mm) and a standard typesetting template.  If original design is required, Ashgate may require subventions to offset not only the cost of typesetting, but of additional staff time spent on such work.

In terms of editorial treatment, Ashgate staff do see that the manuscript gets a light proofread before the book goes to the printer (and authors do see a set of proofs with the reader’s corrections and queries); but this does fall short of a full and formal copy edit.  It is possible for us to incorporate a full copy edit, but only if the author/s is/are able to cover the additional expense through a publication subvention.

All that being said, here are our strengths:  Ashgate books are produced attractively—and relatively quickly.  From the time we receive a typescript in its final form, we’re usually able to publish the book within 12 months.  We have offices in the UK and the US, obviously; we also have representation in Sydney, so Ashgate’s marketing and distributing operation is very effective worldwide.  We do give a nominal royalty to our authors, and all Ashgate authors are entitled to a 35% discount on any Ashgate title.

Ashgate does not have an exclusivity policy (at least not at this early stage); but we do like to know whether the proposal is under consideration elsewhere, and of course we hope that authors will let us know right away when/if it seems likely that they will sign a contract with another press.

Editor’s note. You might like to read this article on the academic publishing in the Times Higher Education Supplement by Katherine Reeve. It dispels myths and gives helpful advice.