McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction

McFarland Companions to Mystery Fiction is a scholarly book series which aims to contribute to the growing body of scholarship in the field of mystery fiction.

Submitting Proposals for the Series

McFarland seeks proposals for book-length works, welcoming a wide range of topics.  Each query should provide a thorough description of the project focusing on its unique qualities, relevance, and intended audience, and a brief summary of the presence or absence of similar books on the topic.  Full proposals should also include a draft introduction, sample entries, length estimate, and a resume or curriculum vitae.  Please send proposals to series editor Elizabeth Foxwell.

How to Prepare a Manuscript

To ensure that your book can be published in as little time as possible, and to keep our production flow smooth and steady, we need your help in delivering a manuscript that is ready for our editorial attention. Following are important tips and guidelines.

Parts of a manuscript

All manuscripts in the series should include the following pieces:

  • A title page and a table of contents. (Do not use your word processor’s bookmark feature to create the table of contents; it needs to be typed into the manuscript proper.)
  • A preface provides the reader with important information about the book itself, including a discussion of the subject and precise scope of coverage; its structure and function; the need for a companion, as well as the appropriate audiences for it; and the author’s background as it relates to the subject.
  • An introduction should focus on the subject-author’s place in literary tradition. It should not be labeled Chapter 1.
  • Intext citations and a selected bibliography. While most of our books employ Chicago-style endnotes, companions generally include parenthetical documentation, to be used by the reader in conjunction with a works cited list. For specific questions about either the documentation or works cited, refer to the latest edition of the MLA Stylebook.
  • A selected bibliography should include recently published criticism—that is, from the last 30 years—that users of the companion may find helpful in doing further research.

The manuscript package

The precise date of delivery matters less to McFarland than receiving a complete manuscript. Neither your series editor nor we can undertake further work until all outstanding items (including permissions) are in hand, so if in the weeks leading up to your deadline it becomes clear that one or more pieces will not arrive in time, ask for an extension.  When all required pieces are in hand and the manuscript package is sent, be sure to include everything in one package, including the following:

  • A CD or flash drive including the final, double-spaced version of the manuscript, composed in Times New Roman, with every page numbered in one continuous sequence. Any mainstream word processing program is acceptable, though if you use Works we need files to be saved in rich text format (rtf). Send the fewest files possible—one for everything is preferable—and name the files with your last name plus “manuscript.”

Review the text carefully, especially if you have used non-roman alphabet characters or diacritical marks. If these do not print in Times New Roman, we are more likely to have trouble with them during production. Hand correct any that did not print, and mention those pages in your cover letter.

Do not use your word processor’s bookmark feature (to create a table of contents, for instance).

  • All illustrations, which should be numbered, preferably in the order of their intended appearance in the book. If any are in digital form, name the files to reflect the numbering and your last name (for example, “17Smith,” not “veronicalake1943”). Do not embed digital illustration files in the manuscript. We do ask, however, that you type image placements into the manuscript, between paragraphs, like this: {place photo # here}. Note the curly brackets; they allow us to easily search for this instruction. All image files should be 300 dpi and at least 5 inches in one dimension. Tiffs are preferable to jpegs but either will work.

If you send original photographs, please use a grease pencil to write the photo number on the back. See our photo brochure, or click Guidelines for Photos under the Authors section of our website, for more information.

  • A caption list, numbered to match the illustrations and including any necessary credit lines. (Check your photo providers’ permissions; if they specify a particular credit line, please be sure you use exactly that wording.) The caption list should also indicate your preferred location, near relevant text (generally we do not group photographs) as typed in the manuscript.
  • Any permissions necessary for use of any element of the manuscript, such as photographs, interviews, or substantial quoting of published works. Be sure to include the full copy of all agreements. Some may have separate terms and conditions that are easily overlooked. If unsure of whether you need permission for an item, see our Permissions Guidelines in the Authors section of our website, or discuss the matter with your series editor before sending the manuscript.

Some important editorial notes

We are a scholarly publisher. If you are writing on a foreign topic or your manuscript contains foreign names, titles or quotations, you must handle the language competently, with correct spelling and diacritical marks.

Do not employ internal page references in your manuscript. They will be meaningless in an ebook. If you must refer to other parts of your manuscript internally, “see Chapter x” is appropriate.

If you have any URLs (website addresses) in your manuscript, do not enclose them in carats (< or >). Simply present them in a straightforward manner:

Schedule and proofs

Most manuscripts are published within about nine to fifteen months (often less, rarely more) from the time McFarland receives the final manuscript from your series editor. All projections are approximate. Variables exist at each step of the process.

Several months after delivery, you will be granted access to typeset page proofs. It is your responsibility to proofread the entire book and to index the proofs. Promptly! We may also request your help if last-minute editorial questions arise, but in general, your pre-publication responsibilities end once you have given us your corrections to the proofs and a satisfactory index. At that point the book may be only days from going to press.

If you have other questions

For anything pertaining to the manuscript, your best bet is to email series editor Elizabeth Foxwell.  For general information about the publisher, please refer to McFarland’s author resource center. For questions not covered there, please contact Gary Mitchem.