Information for Prospective Authors

Titles   |   About   |   Information for Prospective Authors   |   Awards   |   Staff

Submitting a Proposal

The Asia Center Publications Program welcomes submissions of original scholarly studies on both premodern and modern Asia in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. Traditionally, most of the publications have involved China, Japan, or Korea. Currently, works that touch on Southeast Asia, as well as works on East Asia in transnational perspective, will also be considered.

The Publications Program currently publishes books in three series: the Harvard East Asian Monographs Series, the Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, and the Harvard Contemporary China Series. These series feature books by individual authors, with occasional edited volumes published. Edited and conference volumes, however, will be considered for publication only if the editors of the volume provide a subsidy sufficient to cover the costs of editing and production. The Publications Program will consider translations of literary works only if the translation is embedded within a work of scholarly analysis. Finally, we welcome proposals for Asian-language textbooks and collections of readings intended for classroom.

The initial book proposal submission should consist of four items—please send these files as one single PDF file, with the items in the following order:

  • A description of the book, such as a prospectus,
  • The table of contents with chapter summaries, if not included in the prospectus,
  • Two sample chapters, one of which may be the introduction if available,
  • The author’s CV.

Cover letters should include the following information:

  • The approximate length of the manuscript in total number of words (please note a limit of 130,000 words inclusive of bibliography and notes),
  • The anticipated number and type of tables, figures, illustrations, and maps,
  • The current status of the manuscript and the expected date of completion,
  • Any elements that will require special handling or typesetting.

Submitted materials will be reviewed and circulated among the members of the Asia Center Publications Committees. This stage generally takes a few weeks. If the decision is favorable, the author will be invited to submit the complete manuscript for review. Do not send a copy of the complete manuscript until invited.

Book proposals related to China may be sent to Qin Higley, Editor, at

Book proposals related to Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia may be sent to the Publications Program director at

We will endeavor to confirm receipt of your materials. If you do not hear from us within 8 weeks, please follow up.


Preparing the Manuscript for Review

The Publications Program needs two hard copies and one electronic version of the manuscript, which should include all elements in the book except the dedication, acknowledgments, and index. The former would best be submitted as single-sided sheets secured with rubber bands; the latter should come as a single Word or PDF file. Please adhere to the following guidelines when preparing a manuscript:

  • Use a large size of type (11 or 12 points)
  • Leave one-inch margins on all sides
  • Double space the text proper. Set-off block quotations and footnotes can be single spaced
  • Include page numbers. Consecutive numbering of the pages throughout the manuscript is best; if each chapter is paginated separately, the running heads should indicate the chapter as well as the page number
  • At the review stage, footnotes are preferable to endnotes and are more likely to be read


The Review Process

The Publications Program generally commissions two reports on each manuscript considered for publication. If the reports are favorable, the author is shown copies (sans information that might identify the reviewer) and asked to respond to the readers’ comments. The reports and the author’s response, together with the book’s introductory chapter, are then sent to the members of the Publications Executive Committee, who will discuss and vote on the project.

Prospective authors should expect the review to take a minimum of three to four months; it may well take longer. Be advised that the Publications Program cannot guarantee that the review process will be quick or that the reports will recommend publication, nor do favorable reports necessarily mean that the Publications Executive Committee will vote to accept the manuscript for publication in its series.


Harvard University's Asia-Related Resources