Author Guidelines

Guidelines for Religion, Culture, and Public Life Manuscripts

These guidelines have been created for authors whose books have been accepted for the series.  Please review them before submitting the book for review.


  • All text must be double spaced with the exception of block quotes (5 or more printed lines of quoted text).
  • All notes must be embedded in the chapters as endnotes. When creating references in the text, please use Word’s “embedded footnotes” feature. CUPress prefers Chicago Style notes in either humanities or natural/social sciences, as long as the volume is internally consistent, and requests that you consult the Chicago Manual of Style if you have questions.
  • In general avoid the following: first-line formatting, superscripts other than those for citing footnotes or endnotes, paragraph outlining or automatic numbering; turn off your word processor’s automatic formatting features; do not use all caps in headings.
  • If your book includes tables, they can be aggregated into a single word document, separated by chapter. Make sure that table numbers, titles, notes, and sources are not inside cells but are separate text elements and are consistent with table markers within the chapters.
  • Artwork (graphs and illustrations) should not be embedded in the book text but should be saved as separate files and called out at the appropriate location in the text (e.g., “Figure 2.1 here”) between the paragraphs where you’d like the art to appear. All works requiring permission need a credit line in addition to the caption.  You will be responsible for acquiring permissions for any and all copyrighted material you use.
  • Artwork may be submitted either as a digital file or as a hard copy. Keep in mind that high-quality printing requires high-resolution images, with an appropriate ppi (pixels per inch). A good rule of thumb for a 6 × 9″ book is that art will be a maximum size of 4.5 × 7.5″. At that size, the resolution of digital art must be at least 300 ppi for photographic images, and 1,000 ppi or higher for graphs and line art. You should submit digital art as TIFFs, PSD (Photoshop native format), or EPS files, generated within the applications Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. Once you have collected all artwork (digital and CRC), print or make a photocopy of each image and label the copies.
  • MS Word can produce the accents and characters used in European languages, as well as Arabic, Greek, and Hebrew. You can find these under “Insert Symbol,” using Times New Roman. If you are working with Asian transliterations – Arabic, Sanskrit, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese – use Arial Unicode, which can also be found under “Insert Symbol.” No other fonts are acceptable, because they do not work with our editing or typesetting system. If you do not follow this procedure, your manuscript will be returned to you so that you can insert your diacriticals or characters correctly. If you are submitting a manuscript containing Arabic ayns and hamzas, you must use the characters from the Arial Unicode MS font in the Unicode hexes 02BF (ayn) and 02BE (hamza), which can be typed directly into the Character code window in the “Insert a Symbol” dialogue box. We no longer accept the use of open and close single quotation marks.
  • The documents in the manuscript must appear and be numbered in this order:

Front Matter
title page
dedication (optional)
epigraph (optional)
table of contents
list of illustrations (if applicable)
list of tables (if applicable)
preface (optional)
acknowledgments (if not part of preface—optional)
introduction (if not the first chapter of the book)
abbreviations (if applicable)
chronology (if applicable)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Back Matter
acknowledgments (if not in front matter)
appendix (or first, if more than one)
second and subsequent appendices
chronology (if not in front matter)
abbreviations (if not in front matter)
glossary (if applicable)
bibliography or works cited list or references
list of contributors (if applicable)
illustration credits (if not in captions or elsewhere)
index (to be compiled later)

  • Omitted words are indicated by three ellipsis points | . . . | if the omission does not include a period and by four points | . . . . | if one or more periods occur within the dropped material. Ellipsis points should not be used at the opening or closing of quoted matter, nor should ellipses be enclosed in brackets. Capitalize or lowercase the first word of a block quote according to the syntax of its introductory sentence.
  • For quoted material that is too short to set off, there is no need to preserve the capitalization of the first word of the original; capitalize or lowercase it according to the syntax of the sentence.
  • Manuscript must be submitted with each chapter or essay as a separate word document in Microsoft.doc files.
  • 2 hard copies of the manuscript must also be submitted on letter sized paper.


  • It is your responsibility to obtain permission to quote copyrighted material (prose at length, poetry, lyrics, charts, tables, maps).
  • You may quote from copyrighted material without obtaining written permission from the copyright holder (always giving proper acknowledgment to the source) as long as what you borrow can be considered fair use.
  • For publishers outside of the US and the British Commonwealth, fair use is generally interpreted to its fullest extent and they ignore letters asking for permission to publish copyrighted work. Therefore submitting the letter that you sent them with a receipt from certified mail as proof that you requested permission is generally enough.
  • If your contract with us grants Columbia University Press world rights in all languages, you have a legal obligation to get permission to use the material you wish to quote in all languages and for all editions.
  • Permissions often take weeks, even months, to secure. Please start the process as early as possible. If you have not had a response to a request within a month, a second request or a phone call is appropriate.

Review Process for the Contributors

  • Your manuscript editor will send you your copyedited manuscript for review before it goes for typesetting. You will receive the “redlined” version as Word files that have been edited using Word’s track changes function, and your editor will give you detailed instructions on how best to view and work with these files. You will enter your changes to the edits electronically and e-mail the corrected files back to your editor. If you decide to review your manuscript on paper rather than onscreen, please print the redlined version and make your changes on that copy. If the editing is fairly heavy, you will also receive an electronic version with all the manuscript editor’s changes accepted so that you can read the edited MS without having to follow all the edits and queries.
  • You will receive a style sheet from your editor with the redlined manuscript. Please review the style sheet before you begin your review of the edited MS. Look, for example, at the system of hyphenation your editor has used. This system has been based on The Chicago Manual of Style and Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition (the sources for CUP’s house style). The pattern should be consistent and should not surprise you when you see it in proofs. Also watch for italic versus roman type for certain words and for spelled-out numbers versus numerals for itemizing measurements. Your editor’s system should be consistent and based on normal book style for your discipline.
  • Please answer all questions the manuscript editor has posed. The reasons for most editorial changes will be self-evident. Any special or unusual problems will be queried at the appropriate spot. Consider the manuscript editor’s changes carefully, from involved queries about rephrasing to minor matters of punctuation. In addition to reviewing the wording of your text, please check that the emphasis given to headings in the MS agrees with your interpretation of the same. Remember that if you agree, for instance, to a certain system of capitalization now, you cannot reverse yourself without incurring charges when you see the results in proof. After you have finished making all desired changes to the edited manuscript, return it to your manuscript editor. It must be complete, with any missing information in the notes and bibliography filled in and with illustrations and captions in order.