Publish with the Press
 

Selection Process

The Press welcomes unsolicited manuscript proposals. Before submitting any materials, though, we strongly encourage authors to read through the description of our mission statement, browse our catalogs, peruse our subject and series listings, look through the lists of recent publications and consult any other material on this site that will give a sense of the scope of our editorial direction. Note that the Press does not publish fiction, and poetry is only accepted through submissions to the bi-annual Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize. If you still have any questions about whether your work would be appropriate for the Press, please send an email to hkupress@hku.hk.

The Press’s acquisitions editors work as a collaborative team but focus on different areas. Submissions should be made to the editor most appropriate to the manuscript’s subject area:

Eric Mok
Eric Mok, acquisitions editor for the humanities and history
Susie Han
Susie Han, Ph.D., acquisitions editor for the professional disciplines (law, education, and medicine), language study, and the social sciences

If you are unsure who would be the right editor, please send a query to hkupress@hku.hk requesting guidance.

Before sending a complete manuscript to the Press, authors are advised to submit a detailed proposal so the Press can assess its potential fit with our editorial direction. Since every book is unique, there is no single formula for making a proposal. Authors should feel free to send all the information that they feel would be helpful to make an appropriate determination about their work. (Please note that authors should not expect unsolicited materials sent through the post to be returned.) Nevertheless, a typical book inquiry might include the following:

  • a statement of the argument or purpose of the manuscript, explaining how it will add to the existing literature on the topic
  • a table of contents, including a brief synopsis of each chapter
  • a sample chapter, if available
  • a word count of the project (including bibliography, notes, etc.) and details of other elements of the manuscript, such as illustrations, maps, or tables
  • a description of the projected audience, or market, for the book
  • an analysis of competing books (if any exist) and a brief explanation of the uniqueness of the proposed book
  • a curriculum vitae and/or other material describing the author’s background and expertise in the area

Peer Review

Publication by Hong Kong University Press depends on approval by its editorial board (known as the University Press Committee), which is comprised of faculty and staff from the university. The decision to publish is based on reports commissioned by the acquisitions editor asking experts in the field to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the work. If your acquisitions editor feels your manuscript would be a good fit with the Press, we will ask you to submit a complete manuscript to send out for peer review (pending a positive internal review). You may make suggestions about who you think would be good reviewers; if there are people you think would be inappropriate, you can also let your acquisitions editor know (and why). The time required for the peer review process can vary depending on a number of factors, but an author should expect it to take at least 3 months. Once the reports are received, the acquisitions editor will share them with the author and discuss what the next step should be.

The vast majority of manuscripts are put under contract after the complete manuscript goes through the peer review process and is subsequently approved for publication by the editorial board, but there are some cases when the Press can make an earlier contractual commitment. In these cases, publication is still contingent on the board’s approval, based on reviews of the finished manuscript.

Production Process

After a publication contract has been finalized, the author will be given guidance on how to prepare a final manuscript, including our style guide (English, 中文), and a checklist for submitting a final manuscript for copyediting. Once an author submits a final, complete manuscript that meets these requirements, the project will be passed on to the Press’s managing editor, who oversees the copyediting and production process. At this point, an author could also pass on ideas about possible cover designs to the acquisitions editor.

The copyediting, typesetting, and printing schedule will be available to the author on-line through the Press’s author portal. Authors are encouraged to consult this resource frequently to keep informed about their manuscript’s progress. In general, printed books will be available 10–12 months after the copyediting process starts.

The main purpose of copyediting is to help the work conform to the norms of book publishing and the expectations of the book’s projected audience. Insofar as possible, the copyeditor will try to help the author achieve consistency and clarity throughout, but the author will always bear full responsibility for every aspect of the final publication. Note that making changes to the text after this point is both expensive and likely to introduce errors. Therefore, after carefully reviewing the copyedited manuscript, the version you return will be considered final. The author will next see page proof of the work. It is important for you to review the page proof carefully, alerting the Press to any problems. The Press will do all it can to ensure an error-free final product, but the task of proofreading is the author’s responsibility. If the finished book is to have an index, the author uses the page proof to create it (or hires a professional indexer to do the job) according to the Press’s guidelines and submits it when returning the page proof.

After Publication

During the production process, the marketing department will make contact with the author to develop plans for marketing the book. The author will be asked to complete a marketing form to guide the Press on such issues as where to send review copies, whether the book would be a good candidate for any book prizes, and so on. Perhaps the most important component of the marketing program is the descriptive copy used for the book. Your acquisitions editor will work with you—incorporating input from the marketing and copyediting departments—to come up with the most compelling way of presenting your work.

The Press’s books are available worldwide, ensuring our authors the widest possible readership. Like the university as a whole, the Press sees its position in Greater China as a distinct advantage and works hard to get all of the Press’s publications into the hands of mainland readers. The most effective way of doing this is to sell translation rights to mainland publishers, which is the primary goal of our rights department. Authors with any leads about publishers who might be interested in issuing translations of their work (whether for the China market or in any other language) should pass this information to their acquisitions editor.

Despite all the Press’s marketing activity, no one can ever promote a book better than its author. Social media, blogs, op ed pieces, and even scholarly articles are all excellent ways of letting potential readers know about the book. If an author is able to arrange any kind of book talk or other event, the Press can support either by working with a local bookstore to sell books on site or by providing flyers allowing participants to purchase copies. As long as the book is in print, the author will receive annual statements reporting cumulative sales.