University of Rochester Press Author Guidelines

This guide aims to help you to deliver a finished manuscript that will conform to our specifications and standards. We ask you to read this document before beginning any work on your book, and to keep it at hand for reference during the writing and revising processes.

Our indexing guidelines are available as a separate guide on our website.

Delivery Requirements

The presentation of the material is the critical first stage in the successful production of the book, and your assistance in following this guide will enable us to deal with your book as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Electronic Text Files

Provide on a CD or flash drive your final text saved as Microsoft Word files. Your text must be complete, including everything that will appear in the published book, except for your index:

  • front matter (title page, dedication, epigraph, contents, list of illustrations, preface, acknowledgments, list of abbreviations)
  • introduction
  • chapters (do not include “interludes” of any kind between chapters)
  • back matter (appendixes, bibliography)
  • tables
  • captions

Each chapter should be saved as an individual Word file. Your front matter, introduction, appendixes, bibliography, tables, and captions should also be saved in individual Word files.

The Word files should be labeled according to their part name. For example, the front matter file should be labeled “front matter”; introduction, “introduction”; chapters, “chapter 1,” “chapter 2,” etc.; appendixes, “appendix A,” “appendix B,” etc.; bibliography, “bibliography”; and captions, “captions.”

The introduction should not be given a chapter number. Do not call an introductory section a “prelude,” “overture,” or “prologue.” Do not call a concluding section a “postlude,” “coda,” or “epilogue.”


Tables should be saved in separate Microsoft Word files and labeled according to their table number. For example, table 2.1 should be labeled “table 2.1.” Under no circumstances should tables be embedded in chapter files.

Rows and columns in your tables must be created using Word’s table tool. Each entry in the tables must be in its own discrete Word table cell. Please do not use tabs, spaces, or paragraph breaks to create rows and columns or to separate entries.


Provide your illustrations in individual electronic files. The files should be saved as Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) files and labeled according to their figure numbers (see below for how to label and number your illustrations). Figure 4.5, for example, should be saved in a file labeled “figure 4.5.” Under no circumstances should any illustrations be embedded in text files. All illustrations, along with any necessary permissions documentation, must be submitted with your text files on your delivery date.

List of Special Characters

If your manuscript contains words that use a non-Latin alphabet, any unusual characters, musical symbols, or codes, provide a list of them.

Permissions Documentation

Provide copies of all permissions and permissions correspondence for any previously published copyrighted material that you wish to reproduce in your book, whether textual or illustrative. If a permissions document is for an illustration, label it with the figure number.

Book Blurb and Biographical Summary

When you submit your materials to the Press, please include a brief descriptive blurb and bio that can be used in advertising the book. 

The blurb should be no more than 100–150 words, written in simple and direct language comprehensible to an educated nonspecialist such as a book buyer or acquisitions librarian. It should tell the significance of the topic, then what your book does and why this is important.

  • Do not try to describe the book in its entirety—this blurb should be a brief outline of the book only.
  • Avoid jargon: the blurb must be comprehensible to someone outside your field.
  • Whet the interest of a reader such as a sales agent, librarian, or wholesale book buyer.
  • Be concise and persuasive.

The bio should be one sentence that includes your academic affiliation and, if desired, one or two relevant and recent publications.


Page layout

Pages should be letter size (8.5 x 11 inches) and have one inch margins all around.


Text should be double spaced, including notes, bibliography, and extracts. All text—even chapter titles, subheads, and notes—should appear in Times New Roman font at twelve point size. Do not use boldface or capitalize all the letters in a word. Avoid underlining.

Paragraphs and Block Quotations

Use the indentation function in the paragraph formatting window to indent paragraphs a half inch. Do not insert tabs or spaces to achieve indentation. For block quotes, please indent by a half inch with left justification only (generally quotations with less than one hundred words should not be blocked). For poetry quotes, arrange the lines just as you want them to appear (but double-spaced). 


Do not assign Microsoft Word “styles” to format subheads, block quotations, paragraph indents, etc. Use the default style, called “normal.”


If a chapter is subdivided, identify subheads by typing <1> immediately before the subhead. If a subsection is further subdivided, so that there are two levels of subheads, identify the second level subheads with <2>. A third level, though discouraged,
is identified with the code <3>. For example:

<3>T. S. Eliot


Insert notes using Microsoft Word’s automatic notes feature. Never key in note numbers manually.


Because tables and illustrations are not to be embedded in your text files, insert in the text files callouts that indicate where each table and illustration should be placed when the manuscript is typeset. A callout should be placed on its own line following the paragraph in which the table or illustration is first referenced and should be surrounded by two angled brackets: <<Figure 1.1 about here>>.


Style guide. We follow The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2010), on virtually all matters of style, punctuation, capitalization, and hyphenation. We therefore require US-style punctuation (e.g., use double quotations marks, and single quotation marks for quotations within quotations, and place commas and periods inside quotation marks).


We use Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, latest edition. We therefore require US spellings.

Style Preferences

Here are a few style preferences to pay attention to in particular:

  • Use the serial comma.
  • Use month-day-year dates. So not “23 June 2011” but “June 23, 2011.” Note that in running text a comma follows the year.
  • Use en dashes rather than hyphens in between number spans. So not “23-29” but “23–29.”
  • Truncate the last number in page ranges as follows: 1–5, 43–44 (do not truncate when the last number is only two digits), 100–102 (do not truncate when the first number is a multiple of 100), 106–7 (don’t repeat the 0), 131–38, 188–213.
  • Use ellipses to indicate omissions from quoted passages. In general do not bracket ellipses. If ellipses appear in the original quotation, please explain this in the note citation (e.g., “ellipses in original”).
  • Spell out whole numbers from zero through one hundred and round multiples of these (i.e., whenever a number one through one hundred is followed by “hundred,” “thousand,” “hundred thousand,” or “million.” For example:

            one hundred
            nine thousand
            fifty-four thousand
            three hundred thousand


If many numbers appear within the same paragraph or short section, use numerals, even if they should be spelled out according to the rule above. Also in a sentence or paragraph with many numbers, if you should use numerals for one number in a category, use numerals for other numbers in that category. For example:

            Three books are ready for publication—one with 250 pages and two with 300 pages.

Documentation System

Notes and Bibliography

We require the Chicago notes-bibliography system, whereby source citations are given in notes and supplemented with a bibliography. Note citations and bibliography entries must be styled according to The Chicago Manual of Style. For more information on this system, including how to style note citations and bibliography
entries for various kinds of publications, see chapter 14 of The Chicago Manual of Style. For a free online guide to Chicago-style citations, visit:

End-of-Book or End-of-Chapter Notes

Unless an arrangement has been made with the Press, all notes in a single-author book will appear at the end of the book. In a work of collected essays, notes are placed at the end of each chapter.

Full Bibliography or Selected Bibliography

A single-author book should provide a full bibliography, which includes all of the sources cited in the notes. In a full bibliography, published sources (books, essays, articles, etc.) should be listed in one alphabetized list, not divided up into sections (e.g., primary texts and secondary texts). We prefer that a work of collected essays include a selected bibliography. A selected bibliography should include a short headnote explaining the principles of selection.

Single-Author Book—Full Bibliography

If there is a full bibliography, the note citations then should be shortened—even on first reference—so as to not duplicate the source information already listed in the bibliography. Readers can consult the bibliography for publication details and other information.

Here is an example of a bibliography entry for a book, a journal article, and an essay in a work of collected essays:

Geier, Alfred. Plato’s Erotic Thought: The Tree of the Unknown. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002.

Johnson, Barbara. “Melville’s Fist: The Execution of Billy Budd.” Studies in Romanticism 18, no. 4 (1979): 567–99.

Puri, Michael J. “Adorno’s Ravel.” In Unmasking Ravel: New Perspectives on the Music, edited by Peter Kaminsky, 63–82. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011.

Shortened note citations should include only enough information so that the reader can find the full entry in the bibliography: author last name, a shortened title (typically only the main title, not the subtitle), and the pages being referenced. For example:

1 Geier, Plato’s Erotic Thought, 23–26.

2 Johnson, “Melville’s Fist,” 576.

3 Puri, “Adorno’s Ravel,” 72–73.

Full names are included in the note citations only when authors with the same last name need to be distinguished from each other.

Single-Author Book—Selected Bibliography

If the bibliography includes only a selected list of the published works cited in the notes, a full citation must be given in a note on the first reference to the source:

1 Alfred Geier, Plato’s Erotic Thought: The Tree of the Unknown (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002), 23–26.

2 Barbara Johnson, “Melville’s Fist: The Execution of Billy Budd,” Studies in Romanticism 18, no. 4 (1979): 576.

3 Michael J. Puri, “Adorno’s Ravel,” in Unmasking Ravel: New Perspectives on the Music, ed. Peter Kaminsky (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2011), 72–73.

Subsequent citations should be shortened.

Work of Collected Essays

For a work of collected essays, each essay should contain full source information, so that the essay can stand alone, independent of the bibliography, full or selected. A full citation must therefore be given in a note on the first reference to a source in each essay. Shortened citations should be used for that source for the reminder
of the essay.



Illustrations, often called figures, include photographs, paintings, charts, maps, line drawings, musical examples, or anything represented by means of an image rather than text. Illustrations should never be embedded in your Microsoft Word files. Callouts for each illustration should be inserted in your Word files to indicate their placement in the text.

Labeling and Numbering

All illustrations, other than musical examples, should be called a “figure” and given a figure number. Musical examples should be called an “example” and given an example number. 

We prefer double numeration, whereby a figure is numbered by chapter and its order within each chapter. For example, the fourth figure in chapter 3 should be numbered “figure 3.4.” If your book contains both figures and musical examples, number musical examples independent of figures. For example, the second musical example in chapter 3, even if multiple figures precede it, should be labeled “example 3.2.”

In few cases figures can be numbered in one continuous sequence: figure 1, figure 2, figure 3, etc.


Prepare a file in MS Word format that includes all of your captions. A caption should contain the figure number, a short description of the illustration, and a credit line. For example:

       Figure 1.5. Pablo Picasso, Women of Algiers, oil on canvas, 1955. Coll. Victor M. Ganz. © 2009 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reproduced with permission from Scala / Art Resource, New York.

Under no circumstances should your caption or figure number appear on your illustration.

Electronic Files and Resolution

Illustrations files should be submitted in TIFF format with a minimum of 300 dots per inch (dpi) at the physical size it will appear in the book. So if an image is going to be 4.5 inches wide on the page (our standard text block is 4.5 x 7 inches), the digital image must have 300dpi at 4.5 inches wide. Bear in mind that dpi and physical size are inversely related: for any given digital image, if we increase the physical size we will decrease the dpi, and vice versa. So if an image is submitted with 300dpi but at a physical size of 1 inch wide, when we increase the physical size so that it can be seen on the page, the dpi will drop below 300dpi, rendering the file unusable. We will reject image files that do not have 300dpi.


For photographs, please try to obtain first-generation, museum-quality scans. In most cases a scan of a second-generation image (e.g., a scan of an image in a book) will have poor image quality. Please note that we cannot improve upon the quality of an image, and we will reject images that are markedly blurry, distorted, pixilated, or contain moiré patterns. If you must scan a second-generation image, please use the descreen feature on your scanner.

Camera-Ready Artwork

Line art, maps, and musical examples must be professionally drafted in camera-ready form. Musical examples should have 600dpi.


We do accept first-generation prints (photographs or original printed artwork), which we can scan. Please label them with a Post-it note on the back for identification purposes.


Author’s Responsibilities

You are responsible for obtaining permission to use any material under copyright and to pay any required fees.

Rights Needed

Please obtain nonexclusive world rights in all languages and for all editions of your book, including hardback, paperback, and electronic editions.

Electronic Rights

Please make sure that all licenses from rights holders expressly grant electronic rights. The electronic rights must not be limited to a set number of years. Instead please obtain rights for “the life of the book.” If the rights holder is not willing to license rights for the life of the book, please contact your editor.

Sample Letters

We have sample permissions forms that you may use to request permission if the rights holder does not have their own form. You should request that all permission letters be sent to you. Send us photocopies of the letters and any statements defining conditions of use. Retain the originals for your files.

Copyright and Public Domain

Material created by other people, including images or text, is under copyright, unless copyright has expired and the material is in the public domain.

  • Material published in the United States before 1923 is in the public domain.
  • Material published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 falls under a complicated system of registration and renewal; you need to check carefully.
  • Material published between 1964 and 1977 has an automatic extension of 28 + 67 years.
  • Material created after January 1, 1978, is in copyright for the life of the author + 70 years. Joint works (opera: composer and librettist) date from the life of the longest-lived contributor. Corporate works are different.

Fair Use

The doctrine of fair use is an exception to the copyright law that allows you to quote short extracts from a work without permission from the owner. The law, though, does not explicitly define the boundaries between copyright infringement and fair use.
Instead, it uses four factors in considering each use: 

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

As a rule of thumb, prose extracts of not more than two hundred words and poetry extracts of not more than a few lines (depending on the length of the poem) will fall under fair use. But you generally need permission when using music, art (including figures), photos, tables in books, sound recordings, computer software, etc., even a short excerpt.

Manuscript (unpublished) materials remain under copyright. If they are held in an archive, you will need permission from both the archive and the holder of the literary rights. In the case of letters, it is the author who retains copyright, not the recipient.

Bear in mind that fair use can be difficult to prove, so do not make claims frivolously.

Visit the following website for more information on fair use:

More information. Check with your university copyright experts or the library, who may be able to help. We are not trained in copyright law and therefore cannot guarantee that the answer we give is correct, though we can try to point you in the right direction. The following sites have helpful outlines for US copyright law:

For rules concerning copyright law in other countries, consult the Berne Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC).