Guidelines: Monographs

These guidelines take effect after a complete book manuscript has been submitted for review, been accepted by punctum, and placed under contract. Some steps might be completely wrong for your book. Nevertheless, this document describes the usual steps for preparing final manuscripts once they are ready (post-review, post-revisions, etc.) to go into production. (It was last updated October 2019.) If you have landed here and what you are actually seeking is guidance on how to submit work to punctum for consideration, go HERE.

0. You propose a book to punctum, punctum accepts, and a contract is drawn up and signed. You, the author(s), write the book. Or perhaps it was already written when you contacted us. And maybe you revised it after receiving reader reports. The bottom line is that this document guides you through preparation of the final manuscript for punctum’s production team.

1. Preparing the Manuscript Files

1.1 Create a folder on your computer for the project. Please label this folder with your last name plus abbreviated title of book, such as,


1.2 Have each chapter in a separate Word file within that folder.

1.2.1 Title the chapter files so that it’s clear what order they go in.

For example:
00_Front_Matter.doc (acknowledgments, table of contents, dedications, etc.)

1.3 Save images outside of the Word files, i.e., do not include them in the Word files.

1.3.1 Put images (as JPGs, PNGs, TIFFs, etc.) in their own sub-folders. Name each folder after the number in the chapter’s file name: 03_Images. If there are only a few images in the entire book, then it’s fine to have only one image folder.

1.3.2 Name the images so they are numbered in order.

For example:

1.3.3 Create a Word file in each folder of images which includes captions for each image, sources for each image, and permissions for each image. If you have correspondence (such as emails) related to requesting permission to reprint certain images, include copies of that correspondence in this folder as well, and go here for a template letter for requesting permission to reprint images.

1.3.4 Images must be at least 300dpi. If there is a question about whether or not an image will be usable, please consult with punctum before submitting final manuscript.

1.3.5 Within the text of the book, make sure that images are referred to by Figure number.

Like this: “In Montmartre, wheels of brie are stacked along the streets (see Fig. 1).”
Not this: “In Montmartre, wheels of brie are stacked along the streets, as you can see here:”

Also include tags in your main body text indicating where you would ideally like for images to be placed (e.g., “Place Figure 1 here”). We’ll do the best to honor your tags, but  keep in mind that books are not blogs. Sometimes, to create a more elegant design (i.e., to improve readability), images should be on their own page, or on the top of the next page, or elsewhere. For most books, write your text so that text and images can be independent.

1.3.6 A note about fair use

Fair use laws are a mess. They are not as permissive as they probably should be; they differ from country to country; there are not enough clear cases of precedent.

In the US, the relevant part of the copyright law is 17 USC § 107, which states that copying for criticism, comment, reporting, and scholarship does not infringe copyright if the use meets several other loosely defined criteria.

Because our books are commercial (even if we are a non-profit press), it needs to be clear that when we reproduce something, we are reproducing it for non-commercial reasons. We can reproduce copyrighted material for analysis or criticism—but we cannot reproduce it merely to illustrate (because that, in effect, makes our work more lucrative).

We also don’t want to be jerks. We don’t want to exploit someone else’s work just because we found it on the internet and couldn’t contact them. Even if we feel we have the right, we may avoid using a public domain work that an institution feels they “own” the copyright to by virtue of owning the object (and the ability to make an adequate reproduction of it); after all, you might need a favor from that institution some day.

There are certainly valid scholarly and artistic reasons for pushing the limits of fair use. Still, we want to be thoughtful about when and how we push those limits.

(This all applies to quoted text as well, of course.)

1.3.7 You, the author(s), have the first responsibility of making sure we’re reproducing images ethically. If an image has an unclear source or permission (e.g., if it’s “from the Internet”), make sure you are analyzing the image, not just using it as illustration. If it’s just illustration, consider deleting it and rewriting the passage.

1.4 The most important thing is that the manuscript is consistent and uniformly and cleanly formatted. We do not use a word processor as a basis for our layout, so there is no need to adjust margins, manually correct hyphenations, create elaborate formatting styles, use special fonts, or add other typographical flourishes. Please present your text in the most plain-style, cleanest fashion possible.

1.5 In particular, make sure that each chapter uses the same citation style (more on that below). But also check that captions, block quotes, headers, section numbering, etc., are all treated in a similar way.

1.5.1 If you are using reference management tools like Zotero, please make sure to save your documents without the reference links (the “grey highlights”) active. Otherwise they severly impede the copyediting process.

1.6 In addition to the chapters and the information about the images, include a file (sub-folder) that has descriptive information about the book:

1.6.1 Verbiage for the website and the back of the book (250 words, give or take). See the catalogue on our website for examples.

1.6.2 A paragraph about what the point of the book is — who is it for, what is trying to achieve? This is to help design and market the book and will also be used as starting point for the back cover blurb.

1.6.3 An image (or selection of images) that you’d like to be considered for the cover, or a description of the sort of image you’d like, or any notes or ideas you have regarding how you think the cover design should be. punctum has a specific and recognizable design profile and we don’t want to compromise that; at the same time, we want to involve authors in the cover design process as much as possible. (See below for more details on the cover creation process.)

1.6.4 A one-paragraph biography (of no more than 200 words) for each author.

1.6.5 We encourage our authors to also register for an ORCID identifier and to include that with biography.

1.6.6 If you’re attached to an institution, include its ROR identifier in the biography.

1.6.7 Seven keywords describing the monograph as a whole.

1.6.8 Social media account names/handles (for Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter) to help us better coordinate online marketing around your book.

1.6.9 Preferred personal pronouns

1.6.10 If amenable, please supply author photograph(s).

1.7 Once your folder is prepared, you are ready to send it to us.

1.7.1 Compress the folder containing all the documents into a single ZIP file and check it has the right name (see 1.1).

1.7.2 Upload this file into the dedicated punctum file drop. Do not send us large files by email. We also advise against using free services such as Dropbox and WeTransfer, which will keep your files (and your intellectual property) in their clouds indefinitely, and which will make your work vulnerable to modes of surveillance and mining that you cannot control.

2. On Our House Style

2.1 All manuscripts submitted to punctum must conform to the Chicago Manual of Style. You can consult and also subscribe to the Chicago Manual of Style online or you can access it via your university library. If you have no access, let us know. Depending on your discipline, you may opt to follow either Chicago’s Humanities or Author-Date systems for citation (more on which, see below).

2.1.1 Please follow American spelling conventions. Consult the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary in case of doubt.

Like this: “utilize, color, center”
Not like: “utilise, colour, centre”

2.1.2 Please follow traditional American punctuation conventions. Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, with colons and semicolons outside quotation marks. Exclamation and question marks only go inside if they are part of the quotation.

Like this: “Tomorrow morning,” he fumbled, “we will seek out the Camembert.”
Not like: “Tomorrow morning”, he fumbled, “we will seek out the Camembert”.

2.1.3 Please always use double quote marks for citations, and single quote marks for citations within citations.

Like this: “After long hours of research, they discovered that ‘the cheese’ was in fact an elaborate scheme to bring down the company.”
Not like:  ‘After long hours of research, they discovered that “the cheese” was in fact an elaborate scheme to bring down the company.’

2.1.4 Please always use the Oxford comma.

Like this: “He served a smorgasbord with Birdwood Blue Heaven, Duddleswell, and Cotswold.”
Not like: “He served a smorgasbord with Birdwood Blue Heaven, Duddleswell and Cotswold.”

2.1.5 We are no longer in the age of the typewriter (even though we do not discriminate against it as a writing tool). There is no excuse for using a double space after a period unless you just like torturing copy-editors.

2.1.6 Pronouns should always follow the preference of the person referred to, or, in case of historical references, the established custom. Otherwise, we prefer the use of the non-binary anaphor they.

2.1.7 Omissions by the author from citations are always signaled by an ellipsis between square brackets: […]. Pertinent punctuation around the ellipsis is maintained to clarify what been excised:

The enticing, tangy smell of the Blue Stilton reached Augustus’s nostrils. If all went well today on the battlefield, he would reward himself with a large slice, that is, if his lover hadn’t consumed the entire cheese by then.

This original can be cited, for example, as follows :

“The enticing, tangy smell of the Blue Stilton reached Augustus’s nostrils. […] [H]e would reward himself with a large slice, that is, if his lover hadn’t consumed the entire cheese by then.”

“The enticing, tangy smell of the Blue Stilton reached Augustus’s nostrils. If all went well today […], he would reward himself with a large slice, that is, if his lover hadn’t consumed the entire cheese by then.”

“The […] smell of the Blue Stilton reached Augustus’s nostrils. If all went well today on the battlefield, he would reward himself with a large slice.”

2.1.8 We will also consult the Chicago Manual of Style first to resolve any other usage questions (on punctuation, italicization, hyphenation, etc.) – though we may choose to deviate from it.

2.2 We prefer footnotes to endnotes, as many of our books are read as PDFs and footnotes are much more reader-friendly than endnotes. For online sources, we prefer no “Accessed on such-and-such a date” information, but we do prefer full URLs as well as the spelling out of information that will be useful to future researchers when URLs break, as they often do. To wit:

  1. Henry Brie, “Why Do Millennials Not Understand Cheese?” Slate, May 16, 2014, about_cheese.html.

2.3.a. For citations, we prefer and encourage the Chicago Manual’s Notes and Bibliography format (preferred in the Humanities), with full bibliographic citations included in footnotes upon first mention in each chapter. Subsequent citations may be shortened following CMoS guidelines.

Alternatively, you may use the Author-Date format (preferred in the Social Sciences) with abbreviated, parenthetical, in-text citations and a full bibliography at the end of the book.

Please note that we do not allow any other citation style, and while we of course will provide in-house copy-editing and proofreading, manuscripts submitted to punctum for publication that do not meet minimum expectations for uniformity of style and adherence to CMoS’s citation formats will be returned to author for further tinkering before any production work can commence.

Treat each chapter separately, in terms of its citational apparatus. If you are using CMoS Notes and Bibliography format, and you cite certain works multiple times throughout your book, make sure that the first time those works are cited  within a chapter, you provide a full bibliographic citation in a footnote. For each subsequent citation of the same work within a chapter, use a shortened reference format in your footnotes (we are okay with either abbreviated citations or ibid., or a combination of both).

1. Henrik Winterbottom, Curdle or Die: How to Stir Up Your Life (London: Penguin, 2013), 8.

2. Aisha Domenic, “Elementary Emmenthal Dynamics,” Experimental Dairy Physics 45, no. 4 (1989): 58–73, at 59.

3. Winterbottom, Curdle or Die, 12.

4. Ibid., 15.

Nota bene: Although we don’t mind “ibid.” for subsequent citations of the same work within a chapter, please do not ever use “op. cit.” When preparing footnotes in general, always keep in mind that they should be as useful to the reader as possible: we don’t want readers to have to work too hard to navigate and reference any book’s sources.

2.3.b. Because the primary mode for the discovery and dissemination of Open Access books is digital, punctum is committed to protocols that will aid in your work being as visible as possible within the Digital Commons, and therefore it is imperative that all of the academic journal articles you cite reference what is known as the DOI, or Digital Object Identifier, that is attached to those works in their digital form, and which has become a standard tool for cross-referencing journals content (eventually we will be asking for these for digital books and digital book chapters as well, but for now, the rule only applies to journal articles you cite). A DOI is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. (You can learn more about DOIs HERE.) It is not necessary to include DOI #s in footnotes, but they will need to be included in your Bibliography:

Laurie T. Havarti. “Understanding Americans’ Perceptions of Pasteurization Processes.” The Journal of American Dairy Producers 12, no. 4 (2014): 431–44, at 440.

2.4 Your book will need a bibliography. Even in the case where you are using Chicago Manual’s Notes and Bibliography format, where full bibliographic citations are included in footnotes, you will still need to prepare a comprehensive bibliography that will be placed at the end of your book.

2.5 We do not require an index. A searchable PDF is not the same as an index, but it’s not bad. We can hire an indexer for a fee (typically $1000–$1500 for 200–300 pages), or you can hire an indexer. Either way, if you would like to create an index, discuss this with your point person at punctum.

2.6 Although of course the punctum editorial and production teams will be copyediting and proofreading your manuscript in multiple stages (consulting with you every step of the way), manuscripts that have been submitted for the final production phase that do not conform to the expectations for citational apparatus set out in the guidelines above shared here will be returned directly to authors for further formatting.

3. Cover and Book Design

3.1 You have sent us the folder containing your completed manuscript. We might send it back to you with requests for further editing and formatting. But soon the book will be ready for the design stage.

3.2 We are dedicated to working closely with authors relative to design issues. Please also keep in mind, however, that punctum has worked very hard to craft and maintain a very distinctive design aesthetic, and we do not want to ever compromise that. So there may be times, for example, when we cannot, or do not want to, work with a cover design idea you have, but we promise to always listen to your ideas and to work with them as much as we can. The bottom line is: we want our book covers to be striking and memorable, and we also want our authors to love the design of their books.

3.3 We will show you draft designs of the cover and the interior of your book. We will ask you for your feedback and suggestions.

3.4 You have the right to veto design choices. We also have the right to veto your ideas for design.

3.5 Once we’ve all agreed on the draft design, the design may continue to undergo small tweaks. You will see the PDFs of the book many times before the book finally launches, and you will have many chances for input, but make any design requests early, please. Design requests that occur late in the production process may not be able to be honored.

4. Copyediting and Proofreading

4.1 Once we have agreed on a cover and interior design (or, a rough one, at least),we will do a full rough design of the book. We may ask for further editorial changes. But soon it will be time to read the book closely for errors.

4.2 Proofreading is difficult. Everyone involved looks out for errors, but someone should be the primary proofreader. This might be the author or someone the author hires (a research assistant, perhaps). The bottom line is that authors are not always the best proofreaders of their own work (having partly to do with how many times they have read their own writing and are not paying the closest possible attention to every single sentence, etc.). While punctum will of course always be proofreading as the manuscript goes through several production phases, it is imperative that authors carefully review all edited and typeset proofs that we send to them, and if you become weary of reading the manuscript over and over again, please enlist a competent proofreader to help you.

4.3 You will always have another chance to look at the corrected text, until final publication. As opposed to many other, more traditional academic presses, punctum does not limit in advance the number of times an author can review edited and typeset proofs. However, if we feel an author is being excessive with corrections and emendations of typeset proofs, we reserve the right to gently apply the brakes or to request a subvention for the continuation of work on the book.

5. Publicity and Promotion

5.1 Your book has been a designed PDF for a while now. Everyone has tried to squash errors. It is about to be published. We need to think a bit about publicity and promotion. How will readers find out about your book?

5.2 It is imperative that you work closely with us to secure potential reviews of the book. It is no longer standard practice to simply send out copies of books to potential review outlets, as they are inundated with too many books and press releases and these often just get discarded. Once the book is heading to final publication, we ask that you compile a list of journals, online outlets, and the like where it is believed there may be interest in the book. We will be happy to make initial contacts and if interest is expressed, we will happily send them a copy of the print edition. It is also always useful if authors have any contacts anywhere who might be interested in reviewing and/or promoting the book, and are willing to help us reach out to specific persons. We do not believe that reviews in academic journals that exist behind a paywall are ideal, but we understand these can be very meaningful in certain fields, and of course we will send books to journal reviews editors if authors provide us with those contact details (many academic journals have regular, open calls and conduits for review copies).

5.3 It is extremely helpful and also useful to your book’s promotion if you can arrange readings, launch parties, and other events around your book’s release. It is imperative, however, that you not schedule any of these events until after your book’s publication because it is not uncommon for unforeseen glitches to occur that can delay a book’s release, and we need at least 2-3 weeks’ lead-time to get copies of the book printed and shipped in time for an event. We are happy to help in any way we can with these events, but as they will likely happen in locations where we might not be able to be physically present (our offices are located in Santa Barbara, California and The Hague, Netherlands), it is important that you ply your local contacts (at bookstores, university spaces, bars and clubs, etc.) in order to arrange readings and events around your book. If you happen to live in a location, such as New York City, where there is a substantive number of other punctum authors, we can also help arrange a group reading event.

5.4 If there are any bookstores that you have relationships with, or that you think would be particularly keen on carrying your book, let us know, and we’ll work with the bookstore staff to place your books there. You should know that some bookstores will only buy books on consignment and also want to be able to return copies that don’t sell (if they pay for them in advance). punctum does not offer books on consignment and does not allow returns (because we don’t warehouse nor distribute our own books – that is handled by our printer). So just let your favorite, local bookstores know that we are happy to offer them a 40% discount off the list price and will also absorb shipping costs if they want to order directly from us (this is a better deal then they will get if they order our titles directly from Ingram, the wholesaler that carries our titles). You may also want to purchase additional copies from us (at a 50% discount) that you can drop off at your favorite bookstores “on consignment.”

5.5 Promotion of books on social media is fast becoming one of the better ways to attract new readers and to also get the attention of communities of readers and researchers within specific fields and disciplines who are dedicated to and curious about new work. To that end, it is helpful if you are active on either or any combination of Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram. If you are, please make sure that you friend and follow punctum on these social media so that we can tag you in our announcements of the book’s publication. It is useful, in the first month after the book’s publication, if we can craft together with you a social media campaign whereby you and punctum send out staggered “blasts” about the book over a monthlong period. Be sure to consult with your point person at punctum about crafting a social media campaign together as publication draws near.

5.6 Discussions about publicity and promotion should happen before the book is published, but they can continue after the book is published as well. Let us know about reviewing opportunities or readings in the future. We have a monthly newsletter that often includes announcements of such events.

6 Publication Day

6.1 Publication can happen abruptly, but we will try to let you know the day of its coming a few weeks in advance.

Although we generally get books published within 10-12 months from the time of final submission of the manuscript, there are many twists and turns throughout the editorial and production phases that make it difficult to say with exact precision when a title will be published. As we get closer to the final publication date, we will give you the closest approximation we can, and within the final several weeks of production, we can usually identify the week it will be released. As stated above in Section 5, it is mainly important that you not promise copies of the book to anyone nor arrange events around the book until after the book is actually released.

6.2 Once everything is set and the files are ready to go, they are uploaded to the printer, we review a print proof to ensure there are not any small errors we may have missed previously, and then book is for sale!

6.3 When the book is published, we will do a big social media fanfare. We encourage you to do this, too, as will we, as explained above in Section 5.5.

6.4 You will receive 5 gratis copies of your book, and if you want additional copies, we will be happy to provide them at 50% off the list price (plus, we will absorb the shipping costs unless, for some reason, the shipping costs are higher than normal, due to location or some other reason, in which case we will split shipping costs with you).

6.5 And congratulations! It has been a lot of work, but you have made a book!