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General Points


Please choose a title that is as factual and informative as possible. An erudite or allusive phrase (e.g. a quotation) may sometimes be admissible as a subtitle, but it is vital that the main title (i.e. any words appearing before the colon break) should be straightforwardly descriptive, in order to inform booksellers in which department the book should be shelved, librarians whether it is relevant to their institution or not, and users of computerized catalogues that a book exists which they need to look at.

It is an unfortunate fact that the subtitles of books are often dropped from review heads and computerized title alphas and Library of Congress listings, and are missed by booksellers and librarians skimming through catalogues and publicity material. Thus, in order to ensure that your book is brought properly to the attention of its intended readership, an informative main title is essential.

An example of the point is a book on the poet John Milton which came to us under the title 'Two-Handed Engine': Politics, Poetics and Hermeneutics in Milton's Prose. Had this been used, it may have missed a large part of its market in circumstances where the librarian or cataloguer had access only to the main title and not to the subtitle; as it is, we dropped 'Two-Handed Engine' altogether, leaving a much more informative title which has ensured full coverage in catalogues etc. Your editor will be glad to talk this through with you and to discuss various possible titles. A title must have been agreed upon by the time the final typescript is submitted for production.

Word limit

It is vital that you observe the word limit discussed with your Press editor or agreed at the time of signing your contract. The length of a book and its eventual retail price are closely linked. The limit covers everything in the typescript, including notes, quoted material, bibliography, and index. Over-length typescripts will be returned to you for trimming.

Production method

The instructions that follow apply to every sort of production method: electronic typescripts (where the Press uses the author's disk to generate the typesetting); typescripts which are to be conventionally set; and the initial stages of a book which is to be author-generated camera-ready copy.