Music Word Media solicits manuscripts from experts, practitioners, and critics in music of all kinds for publication in a range of innovative electronic formats as well as in print.
The values we espouse in our editorial program are outlined in this post on the past and future of making books about music. If you’re interested in the potential digital books have to engage readers, read this musing by Peter Meyers.
Music Word Media Listening Guides Series
For this series in development we seek authors of short guides for non-experts of about 10,000 words each. Topics may focus on a work, genre, composer, performer, ensemble, scene, style, school, idea, or other unit of organization or analysis. Readers are assumed to know something about some kind of music and to be open to learning more about unfamiliar genres. The guides’ purpose is to orient the reader and direct attention to key knowledge or insights that enhance, deepen, or broaden the listening experience. They are designed to be interactive and media-rich, including still images, video, and audio. For an example see Sarah Caissie Provost’s The Brill Building.
Music Show & Tell App Series (working title)
Another series, on a concept inspired by the BBC/British Museum History of the World in 100 Objects, presents more narrowly-focused publications on various times, places, genres, and media. The publications may present and discuss one or more documents, events, ideas, arguments, processes, environments, or systems; or they may cross cultural boundaries to be organized around broad humanistic themes (e.g. Song, Dance, Ritual, Technology, Character, Emotion …).
Our Custos imprint publishes serious writings about music for a broad readership: professional and amateur musicians, scholars, students, and attentive listeners. Authors include critics, scholars, and other experts on music of all sorts, in literate and oral traditions. Submissions are peer-reviewed to establish that they
- contribute new knowledge or insight, or make interesting specialist knowledge more widely accessible
- meet readers where they are, as members of an intelligent but not necessarily expert or musically-trained audience
- lend themselves to development in digital formats that offer multimedia and interactivity, or have the potential to provide large amounts of material at a more reasonable retail price than print.
As well as original works of criticism, history, biography, or analysis we welcome submissions of
- scholarly monographs,
- translations of works previously published in languages other than English
- edited collections of essays.
All proposals are vetted for quality, marketability, and potential for multimedia development. Scholarly proposals under consideration for the Custos imprint are reviewed by one or more subject experts. Review of proposals generally takes 4-8 weeks.
On acceptance of your proposal we draft a contract specifying when you will deliver a completed manuscript, with each chapter or section as a separate Word file and non-text materials as individual files. Reviewers’ reports may suggest revisions; when these and any changes requested by Custos editors have been completed, your manuscript is copyedited and returned to you for checking. After copyediting, production editors prepare your book for publication either in print, as an electronic edition, app, or other format as specified in your contract. You have the opportunity to proofread your manuscript after it is prepared for production and before it is published. We ask authors to complete an extensive questionnaire as a basis for our marketing plan for each title.
For complete and detailed guidelines on writing about music, please consult How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style, second edition, before submitting materials to us for review or publication. General remarks on manuscript preparation, and few specific points on music, are addressed in our Manuscript Style Guidelines.
We are happy to hear from authors, illustrators, or literary agents with publication proposals for children’s books that feature or teach about music.