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How to submit a book proposal

What follows is guidance as to what LexisNexis Butterworths (LNB) require from authors submitting new book or other product proposals; how LNB assess proposals and the contact details of the relevant Practice Area Development Managers for the purpose of submitting proposals. For the purpose of this guidance we have referred throughout to a book proposal.

The assessment process

A proposal will be acknowledged immediately upon its receipt. As soon as possible thereafter, the relevant Practice Area Developer will advise the author whether or not the book proposal is in principal suitable for publication by LNB. The author will be invited to submit a synopsis and other relevant information as detailed below. Proposals must pass successfully through a review process, which usually involves the proposal being sent in confidence to an expert practitioner for their advice on suitability for publication. The proposal must also be formally approved by LNB’s New Product Proposal (NPP) Committee before a publishing contract can be offered to the author and terms agreed. The assessment process can take up to eight weeks depending on the level of research required to establish whether or not the proposal is one LNB would wish to pursue. The process is also dependent upon the satisfactory resolution of queries and suggestions arising from both the expert review of the proposal and the NPP Committee.

Synopsis and supporting documentation

A proposal for a practitioner work must include the following:

Synopsis – a brief description of the purpose and aims of the book followed by a note covering:

q       Authorship – sole or multi-author work (full details must be provided of all contributors);

q       A chapter by chapter breakdown with a more detailed description of the content of each chapter;

q       An estimate of the length of the book in words (including the length of any appendices);

q       Information about the market for the book (Who is the intended reader? A description of the potential readers with specific details about why they need this book, including the required level of expertise, areas of law/tax they are practising in etc. Are there any potential secondary markets?);

q       Publishing rationale (Outlining the market/legal developments; will any of the market/legal developments make publication time sensitive?);

q       Key benefits of the book to the reader (bullet points describing how the book will benefit the reader, i.e. ‘unique selling points’);

q       Strengths and weaknesses (key strengths and any potential weaknesses that might be identified by readers – e.g. areas not covered – if not, why not?);

q       Competition (a list of any competing books/products with price, publisher, year of publication and any other useful information, together with a comment as to how the proposed book differs, what makes it superior and how will it compete); 

q       An estimate of how long it will take to write the book and a delivery date;

q       Suggested price (an estimate of what the author thinks the market would be willing to pay for this book);

q       Details of relevant professional associations and industry bodies whose membership would be interested in the book, if possible with contact names;

q       Details of any journals that would be suitable for review purposes;

q       Would the content of the book be suitable to form the basis of a conference?

A covering letter – this should set out the details of the proposed book cross-referenced to the more detailed synopsis.

Curriculum Vitae – this should provide an account of the authors’ professional career to-date, previous writing experience etc.

Draft material – if available, draft material of the proposed book or material already written by the author on the subject.

Who to contact at LexisNexis Butterworths

Proposals or expressions of interest in writing or contributing to practitioner works should be sent to the relevant Product Development Manager for the area in which you are interested in writing:

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