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Safari Press Manuscript Submission Guidelines

 

Safari Press accepts manuscripts on big-game hunting, sporting firearms, and wingshooting.

The first part of this essay describes how to submit an unsolicited manuscript (MS) for consideration. If your MS has been accepted for publication, also read the second part of this essay. This section describes the elements necessary for submission of a MS when there is a signed contract.

 

Unsolicited Manuscripts (MSS)

Some General Considerations:

1)      Always send a copy of your manuscript (MS), not the original, just in case it gets lost in the mail. 

2)      Please state if the work is original or if it has been published previously.  If previously published, we will need a written statement from the publisher giving you permission to reprint the work. Make sure to state if there is a coauthor. 

3)      We discourage autobiographies, unless the life of the hunter or firearms maker has been exceptional. We routinely reject MS along the lines of “me and my buddies went hunting for . . . and a good time was had by all.”

4)      Please do not send us a MS that is full of obscene, vulgar, or offensive language. We at Safari Press take the approach that in most modern cultures profanity is regarded as substandard speech and inappropriate in formal communication. We believe that vivid descriptive words can easily be found to replace offensive wording, and we urge our authors to understand that writing can be vivid, even colorful, without being an affront.  

5)      We believe ethical hunting is sound conservation. We will not publish an author’s work if we see clear violations of hunting regulations in the text.  Hunters have a duty to preserve their sport for future generations, and this will only happen if the general public has a positive view of hunting. Although we recognize that game laws were nonexistent or widely ignored in the past, we believe that all modern-day hunters should uphold the game laws of the country in which the game is shot.

6)      If you have an idea for a book, but have not actually written anything, keep in mind that pictures are a very important part of a quality book.  Here are some tips for getting started: 

 

Digital Camera Images

Digital cameras are here to stay but, unfortunately, up until very recently many digital pictures were nowhere near as good as 35mm film cameras.  However, the plus side of a digital camera is that you get immediate feedback on the quality of the picture, and, if it’s no good, you can immediately try again. If you buy a quality digital camera, you will get good photos. 

As a general rule, if your digital camera is older than three years, do not be cheap—buy a new camera!  Make sure (a) that it takes pictures of a minimum of 12 megapixels (and 14 to 16 is much better and hardly any more expensive) (b) that you always have the image quality set at the highest setting, (c) that it has an excellent screen that you can see even in sunlight; otherwise, you cannot properly check the pictures just captured.

In addition, buy a camera that has an interactive screen so that if you change the settings (such as F-stop, ISO etc) on the camera, the screen will immediately reflect what sort of a photo you will be taking. This last piece of advice is very important, or you will not have really good feedback. (Only since 2010 have digital cameras with reasonable prices featuring these screens come onto the market.) 

Also get a camera that can simultaneously shoot in JPEG and in RAW format. Remember that a 10-megapixel camera will only just suffice for a full-page image on an 8.5x11 inch sheet, and only then if the image is taken in portrait format. An image for a two-page spread (17x11 inches) needs a camera of 14 megapixels. Many digital cameras make pictures of 5 to 8 megapixels in size, which is sufficient for an image of about the size of a postcard but not much bigger. Remember that film or digital SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras have much better lenses, higher shutter speeds, and, in general, create much better pictures than small pocket cameras. In addition, only SLR (and some intermediate in size) cameras normally have the ability to shoot in RAW format, which is needed for top-quality pictures. However, nowadays there are new intermediate-size cameras that fall between a pocket camera and a full-size SLR, such as the Canon Powershot or Coolpix series, the Fuji 100 series,  Panasonic Lumix series etc., and they do make very good photos. They also shoot RAW and JPEG images simultaneously and have an interactive, good-quality screen.

In short, whether you shoot film or digital, the quality of the camera and the technical adeptness of the person who operates it remain paramount. In the film era, Instamatic, Polaroid, and other non-35mm cameras made mediocre pictures at best. The same is true for the small digital pocket cameras.  Get rid of them and buy yourself a good, intermediate or SLR digital camera for about $400 to $700. Luckily, the era of the small, low-quality digital camera is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Do not use a low-quality digital camera if you want good pictures in your book!

 

Initial Submission of an Unsolicited Manuscript for Consideration

If you are considering submitting a manuscript (MS) to Safari Press, please read the information on this sheet carefully.  Make sure the following points are included when you submit your MS to us. (This will help you get your book published by either us or other publishers.)

1. Cover letter that includes the subject matter and scope of book.

2. Approximate number of words.

3. Complete table of contents, annotated if you are submitting sample chapters and not a complete MS.

4. Author information (full name, address, phone, and fax numbers).  Any other relevant background information on you. This might include a list of books you have previously published.

5. Manuscripts should have photos or appropriate artwork. Send us the approximate number of photos you can provide . We like to have 10 photos for every 7,500 words. Submit a list of pictures or illustrations you intend to use or a general idea of what kind of images you have available. Better yet, make good, clear Xerox copies of your photos and send these in with the text. Be sure to include whether they are b/w photos, color photos, slides, digital images, or drawings. Tell us how many you have of each. As a general rule, we like to have at least 1 picture/illustration per 750 words. Do not send any original art or photos unless there is an agreement to publish.

Normally, only MS over 60,000 words (we prefer 75,000) will be considered. We make exceptions for guidebooks and “how-to” books. (Almost all word-processing programs have a “word count” feature.)

While we will review a sample of chapters, we prefer the whole MS. Send only completed sample chapters or a complete MS.

 

How to Submit

Initial submission must be in hard copy (on paper) for all MSS from North America. We accept paper printouts on 8.5x11-inch paper or the A4 (210mm x 297mm) format; however, please set up your electronic files for 8.5x11 inches (letter-page size). Once accepted, your MS must be sent to us on a disk or CD, and it must be in Microsoft Windows for the PC or MAC.  Leave at least one-inch (25-millimeter) margins all around, and use the space in the footer to NUMBER ALL PAGES.  We prefer you to use Courier New (font) in size 12.

 

MS Submission from Outside North America

We recognize the cost of courier services is high; therefore, people outside the continental United States can send us a CD or DVD via standard airmail or set up a We Transfer if you want to go entirely digital.  Please adhere to all other guidelines as listed here in this document. If you want to send us images on a CD or via We Transfer for initial evaluation, you may do so as well.

 

Return of Unsolicited Manuscripts

Please note that MSS cannot be returned. Please do not send a self-addressed envelope for returns either. (The cost of postage is greater than the cost of a ream of paper.)

 

Manuscripts That Have Been Accepted for Publication by Safari Press

Once your MS has been accepted, it is imperative that you follow the following guidelines completely. Any divergence from the guidelines will result in your MS being sent back to you. 

 

1)      Send the MS on diskette or CD in Microsoft Word (only) for the PC or MAC.  No other typesetting programs will be accepted! Please do not submit a MS in a graphics layout program such as InDesign or Quark Express. Please do not e-mail the MS to us; there are all sorts of problems with e-mailed MSS. Space prevents us from listing them all. In case you cannot submit a MS any way other than via e-mail, please contact us first for instructions before sending. If you use a Macintosh computer and are unsure how to submit your MS in PC format, please contact us. Please do not use a word processing program to generate a table of contents, index, or photo-locators as the automatic links will disappear when the book is edited.  

 Spacing: When typing your MS, do not hit the Enter Key at the end of a sentence.  The Word program will automatically wrap sentences. Every time you use the “Enter” key, you create hidden paragraph marks in the MS that we have to eliminate. (We spend an inordinate amount of time stripping paragraph marks from manuscripts. In most cases, we will return the MS to you and ask you to do the work. Believe us, it is time consuming!  Save yourself hours of work; let the program wrap the sentence!) Place two spaces between each sentence and two paragraph returns after each paragraph. Double space the entire MS.

 Fractions: Type out the entire fraction as in the following example “the shotgun has a 2 1 / 2-inch chamber.” Place a space between each digit and the slash. Some word processors will make “2 1/2” into “2½” if the numbers are typed without spaces in between them. We find that the typesetting program does not translate these reduced-size fractions, which makes for mistakes in the typeset version.

 

2)      All original photographs and illustrations must be numbered (Use a Sharpie!) according to our system and with captions that have been numbered according to our system. See #9 below for details on how to submit images and captions.

Do not send color photocopies or computer printouts. Due to the production process of publishing, please appreciate that we will need to keep your images until the book is published. We realize that your original photos are important to you, and we will handle them with the utmost care and return them.

 

3)      All tables. If your MS contains data with extensive tables, please use MS Excel to input your information. If your tables are already prepared in MS Word, please contact us if you are not sure what to do.

 

4)      All frontal material: dedication, table of contents, foreword*, acknowledgments, introduction**, photo of author for frontispiece, which must be portrait in orientation, not landscape.

 *A foreword is written by someone other than the author or the editor, and it is usually someone who is well known in the field. The author’s own statement about the work is called the preface.

 **An introduction is written by the author and includes material that is relevant to the text but needs to be read before the body of the text begins. For example, it can include an account of the historical background of the subject of the book. In general, an introduction sets the stage for the reader and explains why the author would write on this particular subject and how the story came to be.

 We will also need another photo, which can be either portrait or landscape in orientation, and a short, 400-word synopsis of your hunting/professional life for the dust jacket. If you need help composing your autobiography, we can send you someguidelines; alternatively, you could look at previous dust jackets produced by Safari Press to see what kind of information previous authors submitted for their dust jackets.

 All these pieces must be submitted when you submit your MS.

 

5)      Bibliography. If you want to include a bibliography, it must be complete. What does this mean? Your bibliography must include the first and last name of the author, the complete title, where the book was published, name of the publisher, and year the book was published. If you submit an article from a magazine/journal, you need to include the author(s)’ name(s), the title of the article (in quotation marks), the name of the journal (in italics), the volume of the journal, and the date of that particular journal.

 

6)      Index. An index cannot be created until the book is typeset. At the point of submission, you only need to indicate that you would like an index for your book. Since an index is costly to create, make sure you understand who is responsible for paying for it.  See your contract.

 

7)      Title and subtitle: Your book must have a short, catchy title that gives a general sense about the book’s topic and a subtitle that is specific to the content.  Please give us your suggestions.

 

8)      Chapter titles and numbering: With very few exceptions each chapter must have a title.  Please make the chapter titles concise and have them reflect the topic of the chapter. 

Number your chapters clearly so that they may be put in the correct order.  It is a must to make a separate document for each chapter. Do not send us a single file that is 400 pages long! (If such a file corrupts, weeks of work are lost!) It is important that you follow our system for coding your chapters:  For chapter 1 by Ernest Hemingway, the label would read: EHCH01.  This is EH (Ernest Hemingway), CH01 (Chapter 1).

Please note that photos and captions will also use this system. If you follow our system, the photos and captions will match their appropriate chapters, and there will be less chance that we will put the wrong picture in the wrong chapter. It is up to you to help us get this straight. Please understand that our staff does not have a window into your mind. We won’t know what you want us to do unless you label the various pieces you are submitting in a manner that we can understand. Follow our system so that we can place the pictures/captions in their appropriate chapters.

 

9)       Photos and artwork are extremely important. Choosing the Right ImageThe first rule is always send the best image, no matter if it is a slide, black and white, color photo, or digital image. If you have a good slide but a bad digital image of the same picture, send the good slide and keep the bad digital photo! Do not send the same picture in two formats. Select your pictures with quality and variety of images in mind. A good, sharp, well-balanced image via ANY media is ALWAYS preferred over a bad, out-of-focus image from ANY media. The second rule is that we need one image for every 750 words.

If you have line drawings, advertisements, or other art that you want to submit, always send the original. Color copies or digital printouts from color printers and color Xerox machines are not acceptable.  We will return your MS should you send us Xerox copies of photos.  

OK, so you have both excellent photos and slides—what do we prefer? All other things being equal, slides reproduce better than anything else. Next to slides we prefer photos.  We DO NOT want negatives UNLESS you can also send photos from the negatives. Why? It is impossible to see the quality of the image from only a negative; therefore, it will be impossible for us to choose your best images.

Do not send dozens and dozens of pictures with a note “please select the best.” We are not nearly as qualified as the author in selecting the best picture, and we will invariably not use the pictures you want! In addition, it will be very time-consuming, frustrating, and costly if this happens once the MS has been typeset.

Marking photos and artwork: USE A SHARPIE to mark your photos! We cannot tell you how many countless good pictures we have received over the years that were ruined from ink smudges and marks all over them! All ballpoints, felt tips, or fountain pens have ink that takes hours to dry on photo paper and even then will smudge. The result is ink smudging on the face of the next photo when the photos get stacked.  We have also seen that the wrong type of pen can cause photos to stick together. USE A SHARPIE! We will provide a Sharpie free to any author with a contract!

Also, if you are taking your photos out of a scrapbook or photo album, be sure all glue or tape has been removed from the back so that your images will not stick together. If this is not practical, place a small piece of paper against the back of the photo as backing. DO NOT SUBMIT A SCRAPBOOK!

Code each picture and caption according to our system! Once you have the right number of images, mark the back of each physical photo and slide with our code. Name each digital picture with our code. The code for identifying a picture is similar to the code for identifying a chapter. It is crucial that you follow this system: For picture 1 in chapter 1 by Ernest Hemingway, the label would read: EHCH0101. This is EH (Ernest Hemingway), CH01 (Chapter 1), 01 (picture 1). USE A SHARPIE!  We will provide a Sharpie free to all authors with a contract! Also, write with light pressure in order not to damage the emulsion on the photograph.

DO NOT SCAN YOUR OWN PHOTOS! Please DO NOT attempt to scan your own photos to be sent on a CD. However appealing this may sound, the quality of the image (for all sorts of reasons) is always poorer than when scanned by a high-grade scanner, which is what we use. Our photos are scanned by professionals who use professional scanning machines that render the quality of an image five to eight times better than a regular scanner attached to a home PC.

Captions: Place the captions in a separate computer file entitled “Captions,” and number the caption with the same number as the photo to which it corresponds. Again, for picture 1 in chapter 1 by Ernest Hemingway, the label would read: EHCH0101. This is EH (Ernest Hemingway), CH01 (Chapter 1), 01 (picture 1). Allow one blank line between each caption.

If you are submitting photos via various media, do not submit separate Word documents for captions for each medium. Submit your captions in ONE FILE, and place each caption under the chapter in which it should appear. For example, your caption file should have Chapter 1 as the first header, and under that header you should list each of the CODED captions. Your caption file will look something like this:

 

Chapter 1

EHCH0101: The quick brown fox jumped into the hole just as the hunter arrived. (S)

EHCH0102: The hunter and his brother arrived first. (D)

EHCH0103: The alpine nest was nearly impossible to reach without using ropes. (P)

 

Chapter 2

EHCH0201: The quick brown fox jumped into the hole just as the hunter arrived. (S)

EHCH0202: The hunter and his brother arrived first. (D)

EHCH0203: The alpine nest was nearly impossible to reach without using ropes. (P)

 

If you are submitting photos via various media, place a (D) behind the caption of a digital photo, a (P) for a physical photo, and an (S) for a slide.

If you do not follow this system, the production crew will not know what you want us to do. Anything that becomes harder to do means there will be more mistakes.  

Photo Placement in Text: Do not mark the page number where each photo is to go in the MS! Remember that the MS must be edited and then typeset; consequently, the typeset version will look nothing like the raw material submitted by the author. So, if the author labels a picture or slide to go on page 240 of his original raw text, that information is absolutely useless to us since the typeset/edited version will not remotely reflect the author’s original page 240.

How to indicate a particular placement in a chapter for a picture: Determine where you want a particular photograph to be placed in the text. Then type the code of the photograph directly into the manuscript; use square brackets to set it off.  For example, by typing [Place photo EHCH0101 here], you are telling us where you want photo 1 to appear chapter 1.

No matter what happens to the text in typesetting, and no matter how it is rearranged, the photo-locator note will stay with the correct text. Even if chapter 1 later becomes chapter 9, the photo will still end up where it should. This will ensure that your photos go with the text you intend and that your Kenya photos don’t end up in a chapter on Tanzania. 

 

Return of Materials

All original photos, artwork, maps, etc., that are submitted for a contracted MS will be returned via registered mail. All nonoriginal materials such as disks, CDs, printouts, color copies, and so on cannot be returned.

   

Conclusion

Finally, we are not nearly as grumpy as this paper sounds!  Please believe us when we say that these few pages reflect the cumulative experiences of decades of publishing. By sharing this, we hope to help you avoid the most common mistakes made in writing a book. The instructions are not very difficult to follow, and you will have a better book for it.