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. 

We also need 6-8 keywords or phrases that you would use when searching online for books and articles on the same topic as your book. Please make these as specific as possible.
e.g. for a book titled Social Construction of Law: Potential and Limits’  this could be: Conceptual analysis; naturalized jurisprudence; normativity; social construction of law; social constructionism and legal theory
and for a Handbook titled ‘Handbook of Megacities and Megacity-regions’ this could be: Megacity-regions; Urbanization; Governance; urban Infrastructure; urban Sustainability; Urban environments; Climate change and cities.


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

Scholarly books must contain references to sources, and so you must ensure that all published works referred to in the text (including your own) are cited correctly according to a consistent, recognized citation style.


Please do not use reference management software in your Word document (e.g. Zotero, EndNote or other referencing system), as we will be unable to use your files and will need to ask you to resubmit your work.


References, citations and notes for law books (for other subject areas, please see below)

It is customary to use footnote citations in law, so a recognized footnote citation style should be used.

  • Please use a consistent style throughout your book. If your book is edited, please ensure your contributors know which style they should use.
  • We recommend using a reference style that you/your contributors will be familiar with such as OSCOLA or Bluebook. Please inform us on submission which style you have applied.
  • Please use the footnote function in Word to insert footnotes.
  • 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.
  • Any notes that are not direct citations should also be inserted as footnotes.


References, citations and notes for books in all subject areas except law

References to other publications should be organized using a simple reference system in the text, 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). The full citation should then be included in a bibliography or reference list. 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 a consistent style throughout your book. If your book is edited, please ensure your contributors know which style they should use. 
  • We recommend using a style that is already familiar to you/your contributors such as Harvard or APA. Please inform us on submission which style you have applied.
  • Any other notes should be inserted as endnotes. Please insert these using the endnote function in Word, and place them in a list at the end of each respective chapter, prior to the bibliography or reference list, 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. 

When submitting any lists, tables of contents, contributor information or references, please ensure that these are not formatted as ‘bookmark defined’ or linked files.

We prefer to avoid using LaTex files wherever possible, however if the amount of maths in your chapter or book means that you are considering using LaTex please contact your commissioning editor so that we can discuss how to proceed with this.

If you do use LaTex for your chapter we require a PDF version of the chapter to be submitted to us as well as the LaTex driver files, fonts and style files and images so that the data can be checked. Please export the style/font/image files in LaTex and the necessary files will then be saved to a separate folder. (;;; sty.tex).

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.

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.


Maths should be prepared using MathType or other Word Equation software and must be correct in your Word file. 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. Please send a PDF of your chapter with maths so this shows clearly how the maths should look. 

More Information

Figures, graphs, maps and photographs

Before including these, 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.


Figures, graphs, maps and photographs that you submit to us must adhere to the following criteria. This ensures that the images that we publish in our books are legible, professional and of high quality. 


We may have no option but to remove figures, graphs, maps and photographs that do not adhere to the 6 criteria below:


1. Do not copy and paste your figure into a Word document, instead provide them as a separate file in their original format.

  • Copying and pasting images into Word files immediately reduces their quality. 

2. They must be submitted as an EPS, PNG, PDF or JPEG file. We will also accept Excel documents, Powerpoint and Illustrator files.

  • We cannot accept any other formats, so please ensure that your figures, graphs, maps and photographs are saved accordingly


Acceptable formats for figures

Unacceptable formats for figures

High-resolution PDF








Figures that have been copied and pasted into a Word file

Low-resolution PDF

Any figures that are of poor quality or contain illegible text or labeling


3. They must be submitted in greyscale only and should be sharp, clear and legible.

  • Any colour coding should be distinguishable in shades of black, grey and white. Different patterns could also be used to distinguish between different sections.


4. They should be at least 300dpi (dots per inch).

  • The resolution of an image is critical to its quality in print. Images of at least 300dpi are considered high resolution and will look better in print. Please refer to the hyperlinked flowchart below for more information.


5. Their location in the chapters must be clearly indicated. All figures, graphs, maps and photographs must be given a title, number and caption.

  • Simply indicate a point in the chapters where the figure should appear. Most of our authors write ‘INSERT FIGURE x.x HERE’ in a large font. They must be numbered consecutively within chapters. The first number refers to the chapter number and the second to that figure's appearance within the chapter.


6. Photographs must not include recognisable faces of any person/persons unless prior permission has been obtained.

  • GDPR restrictions clearly state that reproducing the image of a person without their permission is against the law. As such, we cannot reproduce these photographs in our books.



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


Reading software

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 chapters 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


 Tables and boxes

Much like figures and photographs, the tables and boxes in your submitted chapter must adhere to our criteria. This ensures that the tables and boxes that we publish in our books are legible, professional and of high quality. 

We may have no option but to remove tables and boxes that do not adhere to our 5 criteria outlined below from your chapter. 


Tables and boxes must adhere to the following criteria: 


1. They must be set within the text where you want them to appear.

  • The easiest way of doing this is to create the table using the Word Insert>Table tools in your manuscript file.


2. They must be amendable and any text must be editable

  • Screenshots or images of tables/boxes that cannot be edited or manipulated will not be accepted.


3. They must be numbered consecutively within chapters and referred to within the text as Table 2.3, Box 4.1 etc.

  • This is our house style and we will amend your numbering to match this style.


4. They must have their own title and caption.

  • The title should summarise the content of the table. The caption can describe the table in more detail or reference any data
    that you consulted when creating the table if necessary.


5. They must not feature any shading

  • We advise use of bold or italic to highlight different key areas in table text, and avoid highlighting the whole cell/row/column
    as this can look cluttered or be difficult to read


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