Authoring a book essentially means presenting the subject in such a fashion as to make it intelligible to the average readers. PHI Learning has formulated some guidelines for preparing manuscripts. The aim of these guidelines is to assist the authors in following certain internationally accepted, standard conventions and procedures for preparing manuscripts. Adherence to these guidelines will go a long way in the proper organization of the manuscript and making the presentation more accessible to the reader and the style consistent throughout the manuscript.
The most crucial factor in making the book acceptable is undoubtedly its quality , both from the content and presentation angles. While the manuscript has to be comprehensive to cover the syllabi (in the case of text books), it should have the desired quality. So we seek your help in achieving this objective.
Though the manuscript should be comprehensive, it should not be voluminous as today readers, particularly students in some frontline areas like management and computer science have a heavy load in terms of their studies (many may also be pursuing other professional courses parallely), and they simply do not have time to go through a very thick book. Please remember thick size also means higher price, and higher the price, the less willing are students to buy the book. This will certainly affect the sale of your book.
Although our authors make use of a number of hardware systems with a wide variety of software programs, at PHI Learning, we produce our books in IBM PC systems.
Most of our books are done electronically in Microsoft Word, Pagemaker, and Latex. We are also conversant with the latest page-assembly programs.
If we have to provide the best product to our customers and the best service to our authors, we need to work together from the writing stage itself. If a project is submitted to us electronically, we must test sample representative chapters on disk as early as possible. A sample file should be sent for each hardware system and/or software program, which will be used for the project.
These are the final pieces of information to sound out the proposal. Please go through the following:
1. What schedule of completion do you have in mind for the book?
2. What will be the approximate length of your work (No. of pages)?
3. Whether the estimate is in book pages or manuscript pages? Whether it is in single space or double space? [If dealing in manuscript pages, one has to describe length in terms of 8½? x 11? (bond size paper) double spaced pages].
4. What kind of art work is needed?
5. What is the estimated number of line drawings and tables? (Please refer to competing books also.)
6. What is the software being used for typing the manuscript?
7. List of names and affiliations of qualified reviewers who are considered experts in the field (with their telephone numbers).
8. Please mention whether this or any portion of this material (including figures, tables, etc.) was published earlier and who holds the copyright. Do we require any further permission?
9. Please put forward your suggestions, comments and questions.
What made you feel the book is worth publishing? What is the level of your book? Who are its intended readers? Is the book to be used as a text? Which course is it designed or intended for? Has the book been class tested? Please try to be specific about the audience and avoid generalised statements.
If the book has a market outside India, please indicate the countries and, if possible, specify the universities.
Here, it is important to mention the primary and secondary markets. Please mention the following also:
1. Whether your book is suitable for any particular training course, (short-term courses, MDP/executive programmes in the case of management books, libraries, or any special section.
2. Whether you have any knowledge of how the competing titles have sold through various channels, for example, retail stores, book clubs, societies, and university/institute libraries.
3. If you have done any market research, we would appreciate receiving a brief summary of your findings.
Here, please describe, in one or two paragraphs, the approach and aim of the book and its outstanding features.
Kindly give an analytical study of your book and its competitors. At least three books in the same subject or topic with a different approach to content, technology, organisation of topics, and so on are to be considered.
Please conduct some research to find out the competing titles and to get the latest information of each book, by visiting websites of various publishers and distributors.
While comparing and contrasting with each title, please point out the special features of your book over the competing ones. Each book is to be discussed in separate paragraphs and should give details such as the title, author, publisher, edition, publication date, and the retail price.
The discussion points are: topical coverage, content organisation, level (UG/PG, Research) writing style, pedagogy, features such as number of tables, figures, exhibits, Case Studies as well as similarities and differences between your book and the competing books.
Please try to be frank on details. This information is written for reviewers, providing them with a comparative frame work and has to accurately reflect your views. Please remember to write down about your knowledge of similar works in progress but not yet published.
It is important to mention if there are many books on the subject, especially well-established ones, what is the need for publishing your book, and the edge your book may have over others.
The subject of the book, its title, completion date, number of pages, the number diagrams, photographs, type of software used, etc. need to be mentioned. Do you plan to provide supplementary materials such as Instructors/Solutions Manual, Study Guide, CD, Answer Book/Work Book, or any other material? The information provided can be used for the back cover/publicity brochure of the book. So please include details such as the intended audience, course title, purpose of the book, general content and approach.
While in certain cases we may give the sample chapters along with the table of contents for review, most often the reviewer requires the entire manuscript so that he/she gets a holistic view of the manuscript. While sending a properly spaced hard copy (preferably double/1½ spaced), kindly check it thoroughly from all angles, especially for contents, organization, presentation, and uniformity of style.
Organization of a manuscript in a consistent style is so important for a manuscript, especially for a text/reference book. This basically means that the proposed book should have,in every chapter, proper Introduction, Learning Objectives (particularly for management books), consistently numbered sections and subsections, Worked-out examples, Problems/Exercises, Solutions to Problems, detailed References/Bibliography at the end of the book, and finally, the Index.
Besides, depending on the subject, the manuscript should have figures/photographs, tables, exhibits and case studies (especially for management books). It would be advisable for the author to consult some standard text books - whether foreign or Indian - on how a world-class book is organized, and what are the pedagogic features adopted to make it reader friendly and accessible.
Please provide us your latest curriculum vitae describing your educational background, relevant professional activities, number of times you taught this course, and other writing or publishing experience. If you have any other writing plans after the completion of this project, that may also be mentioned. Here, we would like to know you as a person and as a professional. So kindly mention whether you are a member of any association/professional body, related to your subject.
A voluminous manuscript will divert your attention from the original plan of the book. While preparing the manuscript, you may overwhelm the manuscript with details and, in the final analysis, the main purpose of the book is not served.
A carefully constructed Table of Contents and Outline-which include all the chapters, sections, appendices, etc. will solve the problem. Referring to this outline frequently and revising it will help you considerably. While writing, check each chapter against the proposed contents to ensure proper development of the manuscript.
Provide at least three representative sample chapters which illustrate the strong and striking aspects of the book. If you give too many sample chapters, it may be difficult to evaluate properly due to information overload. Selected chapters which reveal the distinctive quality and features of the book are to be included. Introductory chapter is to be avoided. The chapters need not be in a sequence, but it is so important to have the suggested illustrations, tables/exhibits, integrated with the manuscript. If the manuscript features equations, worked-out examples, exercises or problems, then the samples of these also need to be included.
If there are Case Studies, a few of these also may be sent.
Please give chapters devoid of typographical, spelling or grammatical errors which will give a negative opinion on your manuscript.
The detailed Table of Contents should be submitted along with the sample chapters so that one can have an overview of the whole manuscript.