As you write your book or chapter 

Getting started on your manuscript may seem like a daunting task, but our friendly editorial and production teams are here to support you.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions as you write your manuscript.

A well-prepared manuscript will avoid unnecessary delays after submission. The guidelines below aim to provide clear instructions for authors, editors and chapter contributors to help them prepare their manuscripts to our house-style and avoid inconsistencies that will cause delays and additional costs in production.


Copyright and other legal issues

There are some important legal requirements to be aware of as you prepare your manuscript.

In addition to obtaining copyright permission for third party material (even if it is your own work that has been previously published) issues to be aware of include

  • Libel and defamation
  • Privacy /data protection (particularly the relatively new GDPR legislation that applies)
  • Plagiarism and self plagiarism

We ask that you carefully review our online guide Copyright and other legal issues: Your essential guide before you begin writing.  Editors should also share the guide with contributing authors.

Please note, missing copyright permissions (for both print and ebook formats) are the most common cause of delay to publication once a manuscript is submitted to us.

How to maximize your readership

It is vital that your book and chapter titles, abstracts and keywords include the key terms that your readers will use in literature searches.  This will help researchers find your work and increase readership and citations.

Readers and researchers using websites, search engines and online databases often first discover a chapter of a book before discovering the book itself.  It is therefore important that each chapter title is understandable in isolation.   For example, it is better to have ‘Introduction to Small Business Economics’ than merely ‘Introduction’ as the book’s first chapter.  A good chapter title is concise and gives a clear indication of what the chapter is about.

We require an abstract of up to 150 words and a list of up to 6 keywords/terms for each chapter with your final script. This information is included in your book’s metadata. This impacts on the visibility and discoverability of books and chapters online. Please supply these as one single document entitled ‘Abstracts and Key Words’. Please do not include them in the chapter files themselves. 

For edited books

Editors and contributors should ensure that each chapter has complete metadata.  Otherwise the book may not be accepted for indexes such as Google Scholar, Scopus, Clarivate and others.  Chapter metadata includes:-

  • Chapter title 
  • Abstract (required)
  • Key words (required)
  • All book and chapter author names and affiliations in a consistent format across chapters (required)
  • ORCID author identification numbers for all authors of each chapter (recommended)

References, citations & notes

Ensure that all published works referred to in the text (including your own) are included in the list of references or bibliography and vice versa.

Scholarly books must contain references to sources and be included either in an alphabetical bibliography at the end of the book or in an alphabetical list of references at the end of the chapter after any chapter endnotes.  

References to other publications should be organized using a simple reference system in the text, for example, quoting the author’s name, original year of publication, year of publication of edition consulted (where applicable), and page number (e.g., Smith [1776] 1976, p. 81). This can then be expanded in the bibliography or list of references.

The style for citations should be consistent. We suggest using a style that you and/or your contributors will already be familiar with such as Harvard or APA for social science books and OSCOLA or Bluebook for law books. Please inform us on submission which style you have applied. 

In-text references should use et al. if there are three or more authors/editors. If there is more than one reference with the same first author and date of publication, label each one a, b, c and so on.

  • Please use endnotes unless you are writing a law book where the custom is to use footnotes. Each chapter in the book should follow the same style and notes should be inserted using the Footnote or Endnote function in Word. 
  • Please place endnotes at the end of each respective chapter, prior to the ‘References’ and titled ‘Notes’.
  • Arabic numbers must be used for note numbering. Notes belonging to any figures and tables in the text should be set separately, using subscript, not as part of the general notes.

Basic formatting guidelines

We edit and proofread manuscript files onscreen. Therefore please keep the documents as clear and simple as possible and do not format the files yourself.

Please supply Microsoft Word files for your book. 

Ensure all heading levels – chapter titles, main and subheadings – are clear. Indicate the sub-heading hierarchy by inserting <a>, <b>, <c>, etc., in angled brackets.

Avoid more than three levels of sub-headings in any chapter. 

headingsheadingswithtext 1

Please do not send any lists, tables of contents, contributor information or references as ‘bookmark defined’ or linked files.

House style guide

The main points of style to which we prefer our books to conform are outlined here but we are happy to accept any reasonable consistent style. We would stress the three ‘c’s as criteria in all cases of doubt: common usage, consistency and, above all, clarity. Remember that direct quotations should not be changed to conform to our house style but should appear as in the original publication. 

Please note: unless you include instructions with your submission we will edit for consistency within chapters, rather than between chapters.


ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS should be written out in full for the first time of use within each chapter, with the abbreviation/acronym in brackets, and the acronym thereafter. If you wish to include a list of acronyms and abbreviations in the prelims you will need to submit this with the final manuscript on submission. Acronyms and abbreviations consisting of capital initial letters should be expressed without full stops – GNP, USA.

FULL STOPS are not needed after headings (including table headings), subheadings, figure captions, figure numbers, table numbers or section numbers.

ITALICS should be used sparingly for emphasis. Italic type should be used for the titles of films and television programmes and also ships (for example, HMS Ark Royal). Song and poem titles, however, should appear in Roman type, within quotation marks.

LISTS should use numbers (1, 2, 3 and so on) for major lists and letters (a, b, c) for lists within major lists.

MATHS should be prepared using MathType. Distinguish carefully between superior and subscript characters and use italic type for any characters to be set in italic. Equations should be numbered consecutively within chapters. 

PARENTHESES (round brackets) should be used for simple interpolations, with square brackets used for editorial notes or interpolations in quotations (for example, [sic]).

PAROCHIALISMS such as ‘in this country’ or ‘this year’ should be replaced with the country name or specific year.

QUOTATIONS/EXTRACTS must be an exact reproduction of the original in both spelling and punctuation even if this conflicts with the style in the rest of the book. Use single quotes for extracts in the text of less than 50 words in length and double quotes for quotes within quotes. For extracts exceeding 50 words in length material should be indented from the left margin, with space above and below and quotation marks omitted. Any notes or editorial comment within the extract should appear in square brackets and any omissions should be indicated by an ellipsis. Ensure that opening quotation marks are distinguished from closing quotation marks.

SPELLING should be standardized in an authored book. It is helpful if you can supply a separate list of decisions made about spellings. Our house style is British English (e.g. colour) with -ize endings but if you have a preference to use US English (e.g. color) please inform us when you deliver your manuscript files. Where different contributors use different spelling conventions we edit for in-chapter consistency only. Formal names of institutions, for example, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or World Trade Organization, should not be changed to fit your chosen style.

SYMBOLS and special characters, such as Greek letters, Chinese symbols, logical and mathematical signs etc., should be submitted as both pdf and Word files. Please check the pdf carefully, before submission, to ensure that the maths and/or characters are displayed as intended. The pdf file will be referred to in case of any issue with how these characters are displayed in the Word file.

Figures and photographs

Before including figures or photographs, please think about what each is adding to the reader’s understanding of the material (particularly if you have taken photos yourself). A photograph that does not look entirely professional can cheapen the look and feel of the book. Over-use of figures and photos can be distracting to the overall message. 

Please refer to the Elgar copyright policy carefully regarding figures and photographs. Permission may be required.

Important notes:

  • Please supply the original source files used to create the figures or photos. Do not embed in the Word file as this reduces the file quality and size. Ideally these should be EPS, PNG or PDF files.
  • Make a note within each chapter file to indicate where each figure should appear.
  • Figures should be created in black and white only and should be sharp, clear and legible and with the minimum line weight greater than hairline. If the original figure is in colour it needs to be converted to grayscale in order to improve the contrast.
  • Figures should be a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch). The image size should be c1600 x 2600 pixels and 1200 dpi for line drawings.
  • Photographs should be of a high resolution (at least 300 dpi, but 600 dpi is preferred) and black and white. 
  • All figures should have their own caption. Figures should be numbered consecutively within each chapter, for example the first figure in Chapter 2 will be Figure 2.1 with 2A.1, 2A.2 being used in appendices. In the text refer to Figure 2.1, Figure 3.2, etc., as opposed to its caption.

Partially sighted or blind readers may use screen reading software to read the text of our books and will not be able to interpret figures or photos. If the figure is not explained adequately in the body text of the chapter please provide a short description of the figure that we can embed behind the figure in the ebook version as Alt Text.

Tables and boxes

Before including tables and boxes, please do think about what each is adding to the reader’s understanding of the material. Over-use of tables and boxes can be distracting to the overall message. 

Please refer to the Elgar copyright policy carefully regarding tables and boxes. Permission will be required for reuse.

Important notes:

  • Tables and boxes should be set within the text, approximately where you want them to appear.
  • Tables should be set out clearly using only horizontal lines/rules and minimal vertical lines/rules.
  • Tables and boxes should be numbered consecutively within chapters in the same way as figures and referred to within the text as Table 2.3, Box 4.1, etc. 
  • All tables and boxes should have their own caption. They should be numbered consecutively within each chapter, for example the first table in Chapter 2 will be Table 2.1 with 2A.1, 2A.2 being used in appendices. In the text refer to Table 2.1, Table 3.2, etc., as opposed to its caption.
  • Do not merge table cells.
  • Do not add shading to tables.

Samples of accepted tables can be found here 


Legal tables

These are only required for law practitioner titles and law textbooks, and not for research focused books.

If you wish to include legal tables please inform us when you submit your manuscript.  Please also check your contract to find out who is responsible for preparing the tables. If it is you, then please submit the list together with your final manuscript. You will be required to insert the correct page numbers once the manuscript has been typeset.


If you are contracted to prepare the index yourself, please do so using the Indexing tool in Word and provide the Index files at submission stage. Please contact your commissioning editor if you have any queries about this.

Indexing in Word

Additional information for contributors to multi-authored books