Standard Questions for Creating a Proposal

When planning a new book project, we usually draft a preliminary budget. Even though this early budget may need to be revised several times as your plans evolve, we find it is a helpful way to describe the work that will be done, and a way to structure mutual understandings.

The questions below give us information we need to obtain a preliminary printing quotation; they also help us estimate how much staff time BW&A might spend on your book. Please don’t worry if you don’t have exact answers; we expect that details may change.

  1. What kind of book do you envision? Trim size? (physical size of the book page—width x height) Portrait or landscape orientation? Hardcover or paperback? (If hardcover, do you want a jacket? cloth, foil-stamped case? printed case? Plain, colored, or printed endsheets?)
  1. Can you give us any descriptors or adjectives in terms of the design of the book (ie. formal, classic, serious, modern, whimsical, fun, lively, etc.)? Do you have samples of books that appeal to you or that you think are appropriate models?
  1. Do you have a preference for the paper used to print your book? coated? uncoated? bright white or cream/natural?
  1. How many books do you think you would want to print? (We can estimate up to three quantities.)
  1. Do you have a preference for only using U.S. manufacturers or are you open to printing internationally?
  1. Do you have a complete manuscript? May we see it for castoff purposes? If not, what is the length (please specify type size and line spacing)? If available, a word count or character count would help us estimate the length of the finished book.
  1. How much editorial work does your manuscript need? Simple copyedit or developmental editing? (Developmental editing can include help with the structure and sequence. Simple or basic copyediting attends to grammar and punctuation.)
  1. How complex is your material? Are there many lists, tables, charts?
  1. Who will be reviewing the copyedited manuscript? the design layouts? the page proofs? If there’s a committee, who is the one person who we will be dealing with and who will compile the committee’s responses?
  1. How much time will you need to review the copyedited manuscript and page proofs?
  1. Do you need us to hire a freelance indexer? Do you expect a very detailed index?
  1. Who has the copyright for your manuscript? Is it a “work-for-hire”? Does it contain art or text from other sources?
  1. Is your artwork complete and collected? In what form (scans, prints)? Is the artwork to be collected in galleries? or interspersed throughout the text? If the latter, how is the placement of each image indicated? Will retouching be necessary? May we see samples of your artwork? How many pieces are there?
  1. Do you have written permission to use all of the artwork in the book?
  1. How do you intend to sell, distribute, and fulfill book orders? Do you need an ISBN and bar code?
  1. Will you need storage and fulfillment help?
  1. When do you need finished books? Does publication need to coincide with planned events?
  1. Will you need any marketing materials? jpegs of front cover? brochures, postcards, posters, etc.
  1. Will you be needing an ebook version as well? Which formats?
  1. And lastly, because we’re curious, how did you learn about us?