punctum books welcomes submissions from academic and para-academic authors working in any field in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, and architecture & design who want to publish books that are genre-queer and genre-bending and which take experimental risks with the forms and styles of intellectual writing. Three primary concentrations for us are (1) books that shift the paradigm in established disciplines; (2) books that help to create emerging transdisciplinary fields; and (3) books that play in the fields of creatively speculative thought. Following the contours sketched out above, we also welcome multi-authored essay volumes that are creatively conceptualized and expertly curated around specific themes, subjects, debates, approaches, and the like.
Manuscript Submissions // If you would like to contact the co-directors in charge of acquisitions with a very brief book pitch (no materials of any kind to be attached), we’ll respond to say whether it interests us or not: write to Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei (email@example.com). We receive an overwhelming number of book proposals and aim to publish approximately 40 titles per year. In order to manage as best we can the flow of proposals as well as our production schedule, our procedure is to only receive and review completed manuscripts accompanied by brief proposals sent to us between May 1 and July 31 of each year (to both Eileen and Vincent). We won’t accept or review any manuscripts sent to us outside those dates (except in some special cases: see below). Submissions should include proposals and the manuscript itself. By proposal for the book, we mean a brief description of the book’s intellectual and/or historical backgrounds, the intellectual and other work the book emerges from and/or challenges, the overall aims and ambitions of the book, and its organization, with chapter summaries. Full manuscripts and proposals must be sent assembled into a single PDF file. Please don’t send any other materials with your submissions. We prefer to receive only full manuscripts during our review period, but we understand that for some authors and editors, a provisional “yes” might be helpful and also necessary to move a book forward (especially for authors situated at universities where oversight of professional progress can be extreme). In this case, send a proposal, as detailed above, including when you expect the book to be finished, and sample, finished chapters (ideally, 2 chapters). Assemble all of this into a single PDF document.
Manuscripts are reviewed by the co-directors, Eileen and Vincent (punctum books is a scholar-led press, which means that the first round of review counts as peer review). At some point from late September to mid-October, Eileen and Vincent will tell authors whether it is a “no” or a strong yet provisional “yes.” These manuscripts will then be reviewed by members of our Editorial Advisory Board with expertise in the proposal’s subject area(s), and when there is no board member whose expertise matches the subject area(s), then punctum draws upon external experts. Any additional peer review will be discussed with the Editorial Advisory Board and author(s)/editor(s). It is not always easy to know with perfect precision when final decisions are made, but usually by the end of December. Only 25-30 manuscripts per year will be accepted for publication in the following year (we receive an overwhelming number of manuscripts but all are given full and fair review). In general, we follow AAUP’s guidelines for “Best Practices for Peer Review,” but we are also an author-centered press, and are open to authors choosing the sort of review process that they feel will best serve the development of their work: double-anonymous, single-anonymous, open and transparent, online and crowd-based, etc. Philosophically, we feel that open-access publishers should be embracing more open forms of review, and our feelings accord fairly well with the opinions expressed HERE and HERE.
All works published by punctum books are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License. We are also open to authors choosing their own Creative Commons license or other form of Copyleft licensing.
Regarding the Costs of Publishing Your Book // punctum is one of the very few Open Access (OA) presses in the world that does not charge what are known as Book Processing Charges (BPCs), because we feel they are inherently anti-democratic and exacerbate the historic inequities of academic publishing, yet they are fast becoming the standard protocol for an increasingly capitalized and neoliberal Open Access publishing. If you are curious to know more about how much it costs to create an academic book and the wide variations of BPCs, see Frances Pinter, “Why Book Processing Charges (BPCs) Vary So Much.” punctum’s operations are funded by research libraries and we also have a working partnership with UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Library. Authors who have access to financial support for open access books, from whatever channel, help us to publish even more books than we normally would be able to, and on behalf of authors who have no access to any funding whatsoever. One of the best things that our authors can do, however, is to bring our Supporting Library Membership Program to the attention of Scholarly Communications librarians and Acquisitions librarians at their universities, and tell them you’re a punctum author and would like to see us supported by your library. Most of our funding comes from university libraries and very book we publish is a gift from them. Most importantly, fees will never be charged to authors and editors and will never be a requirement for publication, now and in the future, and we will never even raise the issue of possible funding sources, until after we have made a decision to publish any given manuscript — our decision to publish any authors’ or editors’ work is solely based on the merits of the ideas and writing, and if a project excites us and is well executed and given a thumbs-up during our review process, we are going to publish it no matter what.
Imprints // If you are interested, more specifically, in one of our Imprints, such as Brainstorm Books, Dead Letter Office, or 3Ecologies (among others), contact that Imprint’s director(s) or editor(s). Imprints follow their own manuscript review procedures (follow the link just above to see all of our imprints and contact information for each).