Current Authors

Author questionnaire

For most books, including trade, professional, and edited volumes use the following author questionnaire:

If your book is a textbook, please use this questionnaire:

If you are unsure of which version of the author questionnaire you should complete, please consult your acquisitions editor or assistant.

Author responsibilities

It is the author’s responsibility to prepare the manuscript according to the guidelines.

We reserve the right to return materials to the author for revision if they are not prepared correctly.

To ensure successful publication, you must meet all deadlines provided to you by your editor.

Permissions guidelines

It is the author’s responsibility to obtain print, electronic, and world-language permissions and to submit these with the final manuscript. You must obtain permission for all material owned by others; this includes illustrations, tables, prose passages exceeding 300 words, and any poems or song lyrics, regardless of length. Contact your acquisitions assistant for details of this process.

Volume editors are responsible for ensuring the compliance of contributing authors (see the guidelines for edited volumes above).

In addition to providing a brief overview of copyright, public domain, and Creative Commons licensing, the permissions guidelines below explain the MIT Press’s position on fair use. In 2017, the MIT Press adopted a progressive policy in order to encourage the fair use of published materials in scholarly publications. Please read your contract and the guidelines thoroughly to understand your responsibility if you choose to apply fair use.

Guidelines for manuscript preparation

We encourage all authors, editors, and contributors to refer to the proper author guidelines for specific instructions on how to prepare your manuscript for publication.

Please be in touch with your acquisitions editor or assistant if you have any questions about which guidelines to use.

Manuscript preparation

The following brief guidelines are designed to optimize the publication of your work. These guidelines include the essential basic elements of manuscript preparation and should be read by all authors. Contact your acquisitions assistant with any manuscript preparation questions. We are happy to advise you! Following these guidelines will help ensure a high-quality and efficient publication process.

A manuscript consists of the following elements:

  • Front matter (title page, table of contents and, if applicable, acknowledgments*, dedication, preface, and introduction).
  • Chapters (including any tables and figure captions); see the guidelines for art and figure preparation below.  
  • Notes, bibliographies, and/or reference lists.

*NOTE: acknowledgments are part of the back matter in trade titles, but remain in the front matter for professional books.

When preparing your manuscript, please follow these basic guidelines:

  • The text must be in one of the major word-processing programs, preferably Microsoft Word. Do not submit PDFs of your text; send only word-processing files. (For LaTeX and Tex, see the guidelines for LaTeX and TeX)
  • Submit your manuscript as one file, including all front matter, text, and back matter. Use section breaks between chapters.
  • Do not format your manuscript pages to look like book pages. Keep the formatting as simple as possible. Use Times New Roman, 12-point type, double line spacing, and 1.5-inch margins.
  • Use no more than three levels of subheadings. Do not place superscript note numbers in headings.
  • Indent the first line of any paragraph after an extract, list, or other such element if you intend for it to be considered a new paragraph.
  • Use block quotations for any quoted material exceeding 7 lines or any quotations containing multiple paragraphs. Bear in mind that all quoted poetry or song lyrics require permission, regardless of length.
  • If you are including mathematical equations in Word, we strongly recommend the use of MathType, which is available as a 30-day trial and for purchase at a discount for academics. Microsoft’s equation tool is acceptable but less robust.
  • If you are submitting figures:
    • Place callouts (such as “see figure 1.1”) within the paragraph to indicate the approximate location of figures.
    • Include the figure number and figure caption directly underneath the callout.
    • All figures should be submitted as separate, clearly named files, in the original source format; photos should be saved at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher.

Notes, bibliographies, and reference lists

Refer to the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. If you follow a different style guide, please indicate this to your editor. The MIT Press strongly recommends that authors follow The Chicago Manual: it offers user-friendly comprehensive examples and includes a bibliography style, unlike many other style guides. However, what’s most important is that you choose a publication style and follow it consistently.

If you are using author-date citations with a reference list (scholarly and professional books only):

  • Ensure that all citations in the reference list are complete and styled consistently.
  • Check that all in-text citations have corresponding citations in the reference list.
  • Trade books should NOT use author-date citation style.

Submitting poorly prepared citations can significantly delay the publication of your work.

Reference managers

Authors are welcome to use EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, or any other reference manager that allows for export of formatted references to Microsoft Word or other word processing program.

The MIT Press requires authors to submit reference lists in an accepted document format such as Word’s .doc or .docx; that is, we cannot export your reference list from the reference manager for you. Most reference managers have a simple method for exporting or citing your references. The Press prefers The Chicago Manual style for references; please export to this style unless your editor advises otherwise.

Once you have submitted your reference list in your manuscript, the document is considered final and will go through an extensive process for publication. If you need to make an essential change or add a reference, please do so during copyedit review. Do not re-export your entire reference list at this point! If you have a few new references to add or substitute, export just those references as a new Word document and include in your copyedit review.

Tables

  • Use Word’s table feature, not text separated by tabs or graphic versions of tables.
  • Table captions should remain with the tables; do not create a separate table caption list.
  • Do not use nested tables; that is, a table cell may not contain another table.

URL citations

Follow the latest edition of The Chicago Manual in your notes and references. URLs should be styled as follows: http://mitpress.mit.edu.

Any URLs you provide should be checked to make sure they are accurate and current when you submit your manuscript.

LaTeX or TeX

Authors who are working in LaTeX or TeX should review the guidelines for LaTeX and TeX.

Final submission

Once your manuscript has been submitted, we consider it ready for editing. Do not send revised materials after this time, and do not continue revising your electronic files.

NOTE: Edits, additions, and corrections must be completed during copyediting review. This review stage is your final opportunity to make changes to the content. The Press does not allow content rewriting during page proof review.

Requests for electronic files of MIT Press books

The practice of the MIT Press is not to distribute unsecured electronic versions of MIT Press books unless we have previously agreed to publish them as open access editions. Authors who would like access to final PDF versions of their own books or book chapters on or after publication may request these files for limited use in their own research or writing. (Pre-publication files are not available.) We ask that authors refrain from posting book files or distributing them to students, colleagues, or anyone else. This is to protect their own interest in the work as well that of the press. Unsecured PDFs can quickly make their way to file sharing sites where illegal copies of copyrighted works are available for download.

If you require digital files of your book for personal use, please contact your acquisitions editor.

Endorsements

The acquisitions department solicits jacket endorsements of books that require them. If you have contact preferences and/or have relationships with contacts and have not yet submitted them in your Author Questionnaire please let your acquiring editor know.

A mix of people who are very likely to provide comments along with those who might be considered longer shots is ideal. Longer lists should be ranked and prioritized. It is fine to list your professional colleagues of high standing, but please do not suggest people, such as contributors and series editors, who are involved with the book, or who are thanked in the acknowledgements. It is also best not to suggest book reviewers, journal editors, or journalists who might eventually write reviews of the book for publication, since providing a cover endorsement would probably disqualify them from reviewing the book later on.

Marketing and publicity

Every new book at the MIT Press receives the kind of personal attention worthy of the author’s investment in writing it and we bring together a team of creative and experienced professionals with a single focus—your book’s success. Our boutique approach to marketing is complemented by the personalized attention of our in-house sales team and the powerhouse reach of our sales and distribution partner—Penguin Random House.

Each author will hear from a representative of the publicity or marketing team in the months leading up to the on sale date. You will be provided with a marketing guide and asked to complete an author marketing questionnaire in which you can share your thoughts and ideas on how best to reach the audience for your book.

Please get in touch with your publicist or marketing contact if you have any questions about the marketing of your book or send an email to mitpressmarketing@mit.edu.

Ordering books

As an MIT Press author, you are eligible to purchase your book(s) with us, as well as most other Penguin Random House titles at a 50% discount (*exclusions apply).

  • Email orders to csorders@penguinrandomhouse.com.
  • Authors are assigned an account number.
  • Advanced payment is required for all orders and can be made via check or credit card.
  • Standard author discount is 50% non-returnable.
    • Exceptions can be made based on author contract.
    • *Titles from DC Comics are not eligible.
    • If a different discount is required, the author’s contract must accompany the order.
  • Author’s last name will be used as the PO #.
  • No backorders – if the title is not available, the order will cancel.
  • Non-returnable – an exception will be made only in the case of an author appearance.
    • The order would be returnable as outlined below.
    • The author must call Customer Service at 1-800-733-3000 for return authorization.