Academic Book Proposal Editing - Stack of books with pages toward the camera

Academic book proposal editing

In today’s crowded academic publishing market, a great book proposal is more important than ever.

You’re working on your next big project and seeking a book contract.

Maybe it’s your tenure book and you need to place it with a top press, maybe it’s an edited collection and you want to find a publisher that will appreciate its interdisciplinarity, or maybe it’s your second (or fifth) book and you’re looking for a publisher who can help sell the book to a crossover audience.

Our team of professional academic editors is here to help

"Ideas on Fire’s advice to maintain rather than resolve the tensions embodied by the fraught position of my research subjects [Asian American fashion bloggers] helped to draw out my book’s critical framework and gave me important direction for revising and re-organizing chapters. They are wonderful readers who offer exactly the right amount of critical feedback and positive nudging forward."

— Minh-Ha T. Pham, author of Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging

"Working with Ideas on Fire was an oasis, an opportunity to receive affirming, consistent, and constructive feedback on my writing from a knowledgable but impartial source. I trust my scholarly voice more consistently, have discarded the perfectionism that comes with long writing projects, and have more confidence with my capacity as a writer and thinker from their edits."

— Ronak K. Kapadia, author of Insurgent Aesthetics: Security and the Queer Life of the Forever War

What does book proposal editing entail?

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Publisher research

Based on your goals for the book, we identify 5 presses that we recommend you pitch your book to and provide a report with each press’s strengths, areas of acquisition, submission requirements, review process, relevant series, and acquisition editor contact information.

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Developmental editing

We developmentally edit your book proposal draft for content including the book's argument and narrative arc, project stakes, fit with the proposal genre and elements, audience and market, match with specific publishers’ submission requirements, structure/organization, contemporary relevance, and authorial tone.

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Copyediting

We copyedit your book proposal draft for nitty-gritty writing issues including sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, consistency, typos, formatting, and citation style. As the final stage in the process, copyediting polishes your proposal to a shine!

"Before working with Ideas on Fire, I felt that I had good data but I felt lost about the argument that I was making and how the data was informing that argument. My chapter and book proposal have now been transformed, thanks to the very helpful comments by the IoF team. Seeing that the editors liked the argument when phrased tentatively empowered me to just go for it. I have a clear idea of what to keep, what to cut, and how to move things around to maximize impact and reduce repetition. I recommend Ideas on Fire to anyone looking to write a book but specifically those at the early stages."

— Ragini Shah, author of Beyond the Line: Stories of Mexican Migrant Families

Ragini Shah wearing a grey/brown blazer

"I can't tell you how helpful it was for me to work with Ideas on Fire as a first generation scholar of color in particular. There are so many things that I have to learn along the way, and writing a book proposal was one of them. The editors' confirmation, guidance, and publisher report—as well as affirmation—were key. Ideas on Fire is an indispensable resource!"

— Tala Khanmalek, author of Living Laboratories: Remapping the Legacy of Experiments in American Empire

Tala Khanmalek wearing a purple blazer

Pricing

Proposal Editing + Publisher Research

WHAT: Full book proposal editing and publisher research package.

COST: $795 USD flat fee.

TURN-AROUND: 12 business days after receiving your proposal draft, we return the edited manuscript and publisher research report to you. Our in-text edits on the proposal draft are made using Track Changes in Microsoft Word and our publisher research report is delivered as a separate Word document.

Proposal Editing Only

WHAT: Book proposal editing only (no publisher research).

COST: $595 USD flat fee.

TURN-AROUND: 12 business days after receiving your proposal draft, we return the edited manuscript to you. Our in-text edits on the proposal draft are made using Track Changes in Microsoft Word.

Heath Fogg Davis wearing a navy blazer and blue button-down shirt

“Like many academics, I struggled with conceptualizing my second book project and getting it in motion. I felt like I was spinning my wheels in a sea of wonderful, scattered ideas that could take forever to sift through and synthesize into a completed manuscript and book proposal. Working with Ideas on Fire, I gained a pragmatic game plan for completing my proposal and project, and academic writing feels fun again.”

— Heath Fogg Davis, author of Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter?

Meet your editors

Cathy Hannabach wearing a black shirt, teal earrings, and teal glasses

Cathy Hannabach

Developmental editor and copyeditor

Summer McDonald wearing a blue blazer and button-down shirt

Summer McDonald

Developmental editor

Emma Warnken Johnson wearing a beige sweater and glasses

Emma Warnken Johnson

Developmental editor and copyeditor

Shazia Iftkhar wearing a green shirt and glasses in front of a brick wall

Shazia Iftkhar

Developmental editor

Morgan Genevieve Blue wearing a black blazer and red shirt

Morgan Genevieve Blue

Developmental editor

Michelle Velasquez-Potts wearing a black shirt

Michelle Velasquez-Potts

Press researcher

Laura Poole wearing purple glasses and a red shirt

Laura Poole

Copyeditor

Rachel Fudge wearing a black shirt and glasses, in front of green trees

Rachel Fudge

Copyeditor

Lena Palacios wearing a black tank top and grey sweater with hoop earrings

“When I came to Ideas on Fire, I felt stuck and unable to move forward with my book proposal. Working with them, I was finally able to gain some clarity about the project moving forward. My writing is more crisp and coherent and I feel good about submitting the proposal to a publisher.”

— Lena Palacios, author of Media Necropower and Race-Radical Feminist Activism

How we edit your proposal

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Quote

You fill out our project inquiry form telling us the details of your project. We evaluate your needs to see if we would be a good fit, then check our client calendar to determine when we could best complete your project. We then send you a detailed price quote.

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Research

Based on your proposal draft, our researchers find academic publishers that are a good fit for your project. We focus on presses with strong lists in your book's fields—presses whose goals align with your own so you can find the best champion for your awesome book. Our publisher research report is delivered as a Microsoft Word document.

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Editing

After our researchers have identified which presses make the best fit for your project, the Ideas on Fire editors get started. We read through your proposal multiple times, making developmental editing and copyediting suggestions and changes. We do this using Track Changes in Microsoft Word.

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Delivery

We deliver your edited book proposal and publisher research report by email or Google Drive. You can then move forward, submitting your revised proposal to the publishers of your choosing.

Kimberlee Perez wearing a mauve scarf and green sweater

“Before working with Ideas on Fire, I was mired in anxiety. The process of writing and publishing a book was something I longed for but felt completely out of reach. After receiving IoF’s substantive and thoughtful feedback, I understand my own argument better and am able to communicate it to others. I am excited to return to and continue the process, feeling more clear and confident. I would recommend IoF to all first-time authors, those with imposter syndrome, and anyone who feels stuck.”

— Kimberlee Pérez, author of Queer Intimations: On the Politics of Belonging in Performance

Frequently asked questions about book proposals

The Ideas on Fire editors book client projects 2–4 months in advance, so we recommend you contact us early to get on our client calendar. If you are aiming to submit your proposal to presses by a specific date or have an upcoming conference meeting with an acquisitions editor, let us know on our project inquiry form and we will check that against our client calendar.

Our team of expert editors and researchers specializes in academic books published by scholarly presses. We work on proposals for both monographs and edited collections, as well as art books.

Our areas of expertise are the interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences. We mostly work on texts in the fields of gender and sexuality studies, performance, art, film/media studies, disability studies, area studies, social justice activism, ethnic studies, legal studies and prison abolition, science and technology studies, and humanities and social-science approaches to medicine.

For examples of some of our client work, see our portfolio page.

NO. That would be plagiarism. We work on book proposal drafts that authors themselves have written, offering developmental editing and copyediting services to ensure proposal drafts shine.

Yes, but that editing is not included in the book proposal editing pricing or schedule. Check out our academic editing page for our developmental editing and copyediting processes and rates.

When we confirm the book proposal editing schedule with you and sign the contract, we will match you with the Ideas on Fire editors and researchers whose subject-matter expertise, skill set, and schedule best align with your project. You can read more about our editors and researchers by clicking on their photo above on this page.

Tons! Check out our publishing resource library for videos, articles, and podcast episodes on the ins and outs of scholarly publishing.

Write a successful book proposal that captures publishers’ attention

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