Guidelines for Writing a Manuscript
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- Style Guide: Writing for NAEYC
- Being Accepted
- Sending Your Project Package
- Stages in Writing, Editing, and Proofing
- Obtaining Permissions
Over the years, NAEYC’s editors have developed a set of style rules and preferences we follow during the editing stages of production. Accommodating those preferences now, as you write, will simplify production and minimize the time and effort you may have to invest in reviewing edits and answering queries later.
NAEYC’s editorial style is based on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. NAEYC’s reference dictionary is Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
Our Style Guide covers
- Writing style
- Special treatment of words and terms
- Endnotes or footnotes
- Document formatting
Download all 5 of the Guidelines for Writing a Manuscript (PDF), including the Style Guide.
Congratulations on having your proposal accepted for publication!
We Each Have Responsibilities
The process from manuscript to book (or booklet or brochure) is a collaborative one between you as author and NAEYC as publisher. In that process we each have tasks to perform, responsibilities to meet, and decisions to make.
NAEYC as publisher:
- Sets the target publication release date; develops and monitors the publication schedule; updates you if NAEYC changes that release date or schedule.
- Assigns your project an editor to be a consistent, primary point of contact for you throughout production.
- Gives you prompt and constructive feedback, as well as quick and honest answers to questions.
- Provides substantive/content editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Provides indexing as needed.
- Makes the edited version of the manuscript available for your review and approval.
- Provides design and layout, illustration and photography (as needed), manufacturing, marketing, sales, and distribution.
- Helps you obtain permissions for material you want to reprint from other sources, including paying reasonable reprint fees.
- Provides you with complimentary copies of the finished publication and discounts on any future purchases of it (see your Author Agreement for details).
- If you transfer your copyright to NAEYC, defends against copyright infringements, processes permission requests, and handles requests from international publishers interested in publishing your book.
- Makes final decisions about: title of the publication; titles of chapters, parts, and subheads; overall editorial style; schedule; format, layout, design, and manufacturing; marketing, promotion, pricing, and sales; distribution and fulfillment; and finances and costs.
You as author(s):
- Review NAEYC’s Guidelines for Writing a Manuscript, of which Being Accepted is one part (the other four are Style Guide, Sending Your Project Package, Stages in Writing, Editing, and Proofing, and Obtaining Permissions).
- Sign and return NAEYC’s Author Agreement.
- Submit a project package that is ready for editing and production.
- Obtain written permission from the owners of any material you want to reprint from other sources OR clearly mark in your manuscript what materials need permission for their use so that NAEYC can assist in requesting it.
- Collaborate in revisions and copyediting that NAEYC deems necessary.
- Review the edited version of the manuscript provided.
- Meet deadlines set for making revisions, answering queries, and reviewing/approving edited material.
- If you do not transfer your copyright to NAEYC, defend against copyright infringements and process permission requests.
- Enjoy the satisfaction and reward of wide professional recognition for having made a significant contribution to the study and practice of early childhood education.
- Work with NAEYC to promote and publicize your book, including speaking and presenting at local, state, and national conference, and writing in journals, blogs, and social media about the topic covered in your book.
We are looking forward to working with you on this project!
- What Constitutes a Complete Project Package?
- Preparing Files
- Submitting Your Project Package
- Next Steps
If you submitted a partial manuscript during the proposal review stage, it is time to finish writing, incorporating any feedback we provided.
Even if you submitted an entire manuscript for review, the version of your manuscript that we accepted could still benefit from some reformatting (such as adding headings and subheadings) or minor rewriting to prepare it for editing and production.
Please review and follow the guidance below and in our Style Guide to prepare the complete project package that NAEYC needs to receive from you before production can begin.
We cannot begin the production of your project until we have a final, complete book package, which includes:
- Front matter: table of contents, preface (if any), author bios, acknowledgments (if any)
- Main narrative, all chapters
- Back matter: appendixes (if any), complete and accurate references list, additional resources (if any)
- All collateral materials: text, graphics (if any)
Other required items:
- Permissions information
- Author Agreement signed by each author
Collateral text includes any sidebars, vignettes, checklists, tips, text charts, tables, text figures, etc., that are asides and expansions on your main narrative. In a typical book, such text appears in boxes or is set apart on a separate page from the main narrative.
Collateral graphics includes any illustrations, diagrams, photographs, or children’s work. NAEYC can and often does provide its own illustrations and/or photographs from our extensive image library. Or you may submit appropriate photographs related to your book (please see the Photograph Submission Guidelines) or suggest a good source of appropriate artwork or photographs. As production proceeds, we can discuss options and ideas.
Indicate text, tables, figures, images, or graphics that you yourself did not create or do not own, so we can sort out permissions issues in your manuscript. Obtaining permission from their owners to include such material in your book is your responsibility as author. This includes material whether published (e.g., from books, websites) or unpublished (e.g., from conference or workshop handouts, PowerPoint presentations, children’s activities). If NAEYC decides to include this content in your book, we can help request those permissions, and we will pay reasonable reprint fees.
The what, why, and how of permissions--Obtaining Permissions--is covered in part four of these Guidelines for Writing a Manuscript.
Each author must sign and return NAEYC’s Author Agreement before we can begin work on the manuscript. The Agreement is a legally binding contract between you as author and NAEYC as publisher. If you have any concerns or questions, please discuss them with us.
Author bios and photos
Your book will include a short biography of each author and his or her picture. One short paragraph usually is enough to tell readers what background and expertise an author has brought to a project. Please send us a high resolution image, such as a TIF or a GIF, if possible (JPEG is also acceptable), as a separate file.
We do the bulk of our editorial work electronically. While a paper printout may be useful, we require electronic files containing your complete manuscript to begin editing and layout.
Preparing your main text
Save your main text narrative in one file (or a series of small files by chapter, if you prefer). Make sure all pages are numbered. If you are also sending a paper copy, make sure you include the filename(s) in the footer.
- If you are providing graphics with your manuscript, please send them as separate images. Don't incorporate or insert the images into your text file as “objects” or “pictures.” Also, please don't incorporate or insert collateral text items into your main text file as “text boxes.” Doing either makes the main text file unwieldy for us to open, edit, and save, and it can yield low-resolution images that reproduce poorly. Instead, follow the instructions in “Document Formatting” in our Style Guide.
Preparing your collateral text
Because they will be set apart in the layout, we need you to place the complete text of each sidebar, table, etc., in order of appearance at the end of the chapter in which it should appear. Label each item with a unique name (e.g., “Juan’s Story” or “Table_1_rev”) and flag where in the text you would like it to appear (e.g., [Insert Juan’s Story here]).
Preparing your graphics
If you are providing graphics, send us a digital graphics file (TIF, EPS, JPEG, GIF, PDF, etc.) of it. If you are going to submit graphics files, please first contact NAEYC for guidance on sizing, resolution, and preferred format. In general:
- A photocopy or output from a computer printer is not an “original” and will not reproduce well. Instead, send us the digital file (or photograph, if you used a film camera).
- For more about submitting photography, see NAEYC’s Photograph Submission Guidelines.
See our Style Guide for how to indicate in your main text where these graphics items should be placed in the book’s layout.
Preparing for permissions
So we can sort out and evaluate permissions issues in your manuscript, make sure to indicate any material you personally did not create—i.e., any text you did not author, tables of data you did not compile, photographs you did not take, illustrations you did not draw. Review and follow the instructions in our guide Obtaining Permissions.
Saving and printing
Keep one set of all the files for yourself, and send us your files on a thumb drive or as email attachments. Keep your copy handy in case we ask for a clarification during editing.
Before sending them, please scan all files using up-to-date virus protection software.
A complete project package includes the following:
- All manuscript files (text and graphics)—on a thumb drive or as email attachments
- Optional printouts—each labeled with the filename and its pages numbered
- Complete permissions information (see Obtaining Permissions)
- An Author Agreement signed by each author
After you send your files, check in with us to make sure we received everything. We want to make sure it made it through!
Writing a book is a major undertaking, and it’s natural to hope that once your manuscript is accepted, your work is done. Turning that manuscript into an NAEYC publication, however, is a collaboration between us that will require your time and attention through production.
After your project package arrives at NAEYC, we will examine it for completeness and ask you to address any gaps. We will read the entire manuscript closely to assess its readiness for editing. As editing progresses we may ask you to undertake some revisions, or NAEYC’s editors may undertake the revising themselves in coordination with you. We also will need you to review and approve proofs of various kinds as production proceeds.
For more about what you can expect during the stages of revision, copyediting, design/layout, proofreading, and printing, see Stages in Writing, Editing & Proofing.
Because NAEYC is a small press, we can move only so many projects through our publishing process at one time. Some accepted manuscripts we schedule for immediate editing/production, but most will be scheduled 12–18 months in advance. Once scheduled, a simple project might take just a few months to edit and put through production; more complex projects will take longer.
Each project is different, and once your individual project is scheduled we will give you a timetable for it specifically.
Below are the stages every manuscript goes through. How long each stage might last in your case will vary depending on the condition, length, and complexity of your manuscript; how many other projects NAEYC’s editors and production staff are juggling at the same time; and how responsive you are to queries, revisions, and proofs sent to you.
As part of submitting your proposal, you will have written some significant portion, perhaps all, of the manuscript and sent it for review by NAEYC’s editors and outside experts and peer reviewers. If your experience is typical, your proposal/manuscript may have gone through one or more cycles of review-revision-review before being accepted.
This stage ends when NAEYC accepts your proposal. . . . But that doesn’t mean that your manuscript is final. More editorial work is ahead.
Finishing Your Manuscript
If you submitted a partial manuscript with your proposal, you will finish writing it now, incorporating any feedback we sent you. Review and follow the guidance in Style Guide.
If you submitted a complete manuscript with your proposal, we still would like you to follow the guidance in Style Guide, so please revisit your manuscript now and do any needed revising and/or reformatting.
We prefer Microsoft Word, but can handle other word processing software.
Send a Complete Project Package
Follow the instructions in Sending Your Project Package. Incomplete packages result in delays until missing elements arrive.
- We prefer to receive electronic files (additional paper printouts are beneficial but not necessary).
- Each author must sign and return an Author Agreement.
Once it arrives in NAEYC’s Books Department, your manuscript is read closely to assess its readiness for production. We may have discussed with you ideas for enhancing the manuscript’s usefulness and impact, and there will be further discussion now—about what needs to be done and the schedule for completing the work.
- Revisions might include changes to the manuscript’s content, tone, or presentation; creation of some new text and/or vignettes, tables, charts, etc.; and/or inclusion of material from other sources.
- If we make substantial revisions, we will send you our revised version to review and approve. You might receive this version in sections as work progresses, or all at once.
- How long your manuscript is in this stage depends to a great degree on you or the maximum word count that your editor has shared with you.
The manuscript is copyedited for format, factual accuracy, and writing style, including correct and consistent grammar and punctuation, clarity, active voice, and the like.
NAEYC’s editorial style is based on The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.
Review of Editorial Work
How much and what kind of editorial work your manuscript requires will determine what kinds of edited material we ask you to review.
When we send you material to review:
- We will give you a heads-up before we send you materials so you can make time in your schedule to respond quickly.
- We will enclose instructions on how and by when to respond. If you have any questions about what we send you, please ask.
- Don’t just answer queries—read all of the text carefully for errors we may have missed.
- Please respect deadlines.
A Word on Editing
As an advocacy organization, NAEYC takes positions on issues regarding the care and education of young children. Those positions are expressed explicitly in our position statements and are expected to inform all of the Association’s work, including the publications it publishes. Readers look to NAEYC for professional materials that reflect the best current knowledge in the early childhood field, and that support the principles and practices that NAEYC advocates—e.g., developmentally appropriate practice.
NAEYC publications need to be written a clear and accessible writing style to meet the reading needs of a diverse audience that includes university faculty members, classroom teachers, college students, child care administrators and staff, and families. NAEYC thoroughly edits every manuscript it publishes to meet all these expectations.
Actual publication of an accepted project is always conditional on a final, edited manuscript that NAEYC judges to be complete and acceptable in form and in content.
- Form: Edits for correctness, accuracy, consistency, style, and format are our prerogative as publisher. But we’re glad to discuss our rationale if you see something in this regard that you find problematic.
- Content: Substantive changes to content call for more collaboration with you. But we always edit with a purpose. If you disagree with an editorial change, work with us to find a better one. Together we’re sure to come up with a solution we’re all satisfied with.
Design and Page Layout
While you and NAEYC’s editors are working on the text, NAEYC’s creative services staff are working on cover and interior design. Once editorial work is complete, the manuscript goes to page layout, to be formatted in the design NAEYC has developed. At this stage, any artwork, figures, tables, or other visual elements are incorporated into the layout. In planning the design, we may ask for your input and feedback.
- Material you wanted to to reprint from elsewhere will have to be omitted if written permission to reprint isn't in hand by this stage.
- In planning the design, we may ask for your input and feedback.
Page proofs are generated, and we check them carefully for problems or errors. We may also send you a set of page proofs to scrutinize. Typically, this is the last stage that might require your time and attention before the book is printed.
- Page proofs we send you may be accompanied by any remaining queries that we need you to answer. No rewriting can occur at this stage, only correction of errors.
We incorporate all corrections into the final layout.
The completed project is sent to the printer. The printer will send us a final printer's proof that NAEYC will check for errors.
When the printer sends us copies of the book, we send you your complimentary copies and begin shipping to waiting readers.
- Your Permissions Obligations as Author
- When Permissions Are Necessary
- When Permissions Are Not Necessary
- Understanding Creation, Ownership, Permissions
- NAEYC's Permission Policy
- How to Obtain Permissions
The great majority of the typical book manuscript is original material created by the author(s) for that particular project. Some authors want to incorporate “pre-existing” material—that is, text, tables/charts, figures/diagrams, photographs, or artwork that has already appeared elsewhere. Sometimes the material has already been published (e.g., in a book, on a Web site, etc.) and sometimes it has already been disseminated in an unpublished medium (e.g., in a conference session handout, as a PowerPoint presentation in a workshop, etc.).
If you propose including pre-existing material in your manuscript, its use must be legal, ethical, and conform to NAEYC’s permissions policies as described below.
- This guidance primarily addresses including pre-existing written material (i.e., narrative text, text tables, text figures, poetry, song lyrics, etc.) and pre-existing artwork.
- For more about photography permissions, see our Photograph Submission Guidelines.
As do most publishers, NAEYC’s Author Agreement asks you to assure us (“warrant”) that your entire manuscript is legal and ethical for NAEYC to publish. (1) In signing the Agreement you are asserting that the content of your manuscript is your own creation and you are its owner except for material owned by others that you possess the legal and ethical right to include.
The permissions issue always arises when you want to include another person’s material verbatim (i.e., exactly the same as the original) or in a form so similar to the original that readers won’t likely notice that it’s different (e.g., verbatim except for a few words or phrases).
Permission is also an issue if you want to include a lot of another person’s material—and the definition of “a lot” varies. For example, permission is always required if you want to include any portion of a poem regardless of length, or a part of someone’s artwork; it might be required if you want to include a couple of paragraphs from a journal article.
Moreover, while it definitely is always appropriate to credit the other person as the source of the included material in whatever form, credit is not necessarily sufficient to make the inclusion ethical or legal.
More on all this below in “Understanding Creation, Ownership, and Permissions.”
Permission is not required when you merely describe or discuss in your own words someone else’s ideas, concepts, or findings. For example, you might want to cite the person’s work in your text, but you do not need permission from Howard Gardner to write about “multiple intelligences” or from Vivian Gussin Paley to describe how to use “story acting” in the classroom.
However, you do want to be careful not to seem to appropriate another person’s unique and original ideas as being your own. Portraying someone else’s material as your own is not a permissions issue per se. It is plagiarism, which ethically and legally is much more serious. The safest route to avoiding plagiarism is to acknowledge the origin of the ideas, either by attribution informally in your text (e.g., “As conceptualized by Howard Gardner ...”) or formally with an in-text citation (e.g., “see Paley 1993”) and an entry in your references list.
You as an author can legally and ethically include pre-existing material in your NAEYC manuscript under three conditions: (1) You are the copyright owner of the material. (2) Your inclusion of the material is covered under the Fair Use doctrine. (3) The copyright owner of the material has granted explicit permission to include it in your book. Each of these is discussed below.
Allowed by Copyright Ownership
If you are the legal owner of the pre-existing material, you can include it in your NAEYC manuscript without worrying about permissions. From the moment a writer or artist fixes text or an image in a unique, permanent form (by writing it down, drawing it, photographing it, etc.), that person becomes the creator of that material, be it text, tables, figures/diagrams, artwork, photographs, etc. The creator typically also becomes the owner of the material at this moment of “fixing.” But the creator of the material is not always also the copyright owner of the material.… Even if you are the creator you are not the owner (a) if you signed over your rights to your material to another party, such as a publisher, or (b) if creating the material was a part of performing your job as an employee. If either (a) or (b) is true, your publisher or employer, respectively, is the legal owner of the material that you created. In either case, even if you were the creator, you will need to obtain permission from the copyright owner (your publisher or employer) to include that material in your NAEYC manuscript. The exception to this rule is if inclusion of the material is covered by the Fair Use doctrine.
Allowed by Fair Use
Even if you are not the copyright owner of the pre-existing material, you still can legally include it in your manuscript without worrying about permissions if inclusion meets the requirements of the “Fair Use” doctrine. The Fair Use doctrine of U.S. copyright law permits you to include—with proper attribution to the source, of course—limited portions of material owned by someone else without first having to obtain the copyright owner’s permission, under certain conditions. The law (2,3) sets out four factors to be considered in determining whether or not a particular inclusion is Fair Use: a. "Purpose and character of the use" - Inclusion of the pre-existing material for the purpose of commentary, criticism, teaching, scholarship, or research is more likely to be considered Fair Use. b. “Nature of the copyrighted work” - Was the original material a poem or song lyrics … PowerPoint slides … drawing or photograph … research report … scholarly article … email message? It is easier for factual, informational, published works to be considered for Fair Use than creative, fictional, or unpublished ones. c. “Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole” - Using an amount that is relatively small and that is less central to the work as a whole is more likely to qualify as Fair Use. Using an amount that is relatively large or that is the heart of the work is less likely to qualify as Fair Use. This factor relates closely to the nature of the work (above). d. “Effect of the use on the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” - A use that will make the original less valuable in the marketplace is less likely to be considered Fair Use. From this you can see that the answer to whether including pre-existing material in your manuscript is allowed under the Fair Use doctrine is, it depends. Ultimately, serious disagreements over Fair Use can be resolved only in the courts. To avoid that unpleasant prospect, publishers, colleges and universities, and other information distributors typically develop their own in-house policies. And NAEYC is among them, as described below in the section “NAEYC’s Permissions Policy.”
Allowed by Permission of the Owner
If you are not the copyright owner of the pre-existing material, and if inclusion is not covered under the Fair Use doctrine, then you must get explicit permission from the copyright owner of the pre-existing material before NAEYC will publish that material in your manuscript. How to obtain that explicit permission is described in the last section.
NAEYC has its own policy about where Fair Use ends and the need to obtain explicit permission from a copyright owner begins.
NAEYC always requires written permission before we will include any of the following pre-existing material owned by someone else:
- Text excerpt of more than 150 words
- Any table, figure, or chart
- Any photograph —Model releases are required
- Any work by children —Written permission from the child’s parent or guardian is required
- Any poetry or song lyrics not in the public domain—e.g., permission is required to reprint the lyrics of a song written by Raffi, but not for “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
The permission process detailed below is fairly straightforward. First, a request detailing your intended use of the pre-existing material as a part of your manuscript is sent to the copyright owner. A response can take a few weeks to several months, depending on the owner. The owner will either deny or grant permission, sometimes with stipulations and/or a permissions fee. Once the terms have been met, the written permission document becomes part of the manuscript’s permanent, legal documentation.
- Determine what pre-existing material in your manuscript requires permission. Do this as you write, or after the manuscript is complete. During editing, we will be thinking about this, too. Scan a copy of each original source material.
- Identify who owns the copyright for the material. For published material, a good place to begin looking for the identity of the owner is on a credits or copyright page in the original book or other publication that was your source for the material.
- Identify any material that you think might need a permission, including material that you think you might need permission to include.
- Share this information with your NAEYC editor and work with her or him to obtain all necessary permission.
- Help! … Contact NAEYC if you need help with permissions—to track down a copyright owner, for example.
1. This guide is offered for general reference only. It is not intended to substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney who is expert in the field of publishing and copyright law, should you have questions or concerns about your specific project.
2. Section 107, as quoted in U.S. Copyright Office Circular 92, “Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code."
3. For more on the Fair Use doctrine, visit the U.S. Copyright Office. Other good resources are The Chicago Manual of Style and The Copyright Book: A Practical Guide, by William S. Strong.
4. NAEYC usually supplies the photographs and often the illustrations or other artwork used in NAEYC’s publications. Authors are not responsible for obtaining permissions for such material that NAEYC provides. However, if you have photos or illustrations you want to submit for publication, review NAEYC’s Photograph Submission Guidelines.
5. Written permission from each child’s parent or guardian is required whenever you want to reprint any work by children or any photographs of children individually or as part of a group shot. These permissions from parents or guardians must be obtained by you; NAEYC cannot be responsible for making these personal contacts.
6. Whether pre-existing material you want to include in your book requires permissions, is covered under Fair Use, or belongs to you but has already been published elsewhere—whenever your manuscript includes reprinted material, we like to get a photocopy of the original. As part of standard editorial work on every manuscript during production, NAEYC editors will fact-check the accuracy of each reprinted selection (exact quote, adaptation of text, etc.) against this original.