How to Submit a Proposal

UPDATE JUNE 2015. We are now accepting new proposals through July 27th!!!!!!!!

Proposals are due by Monday, July 27th (7.27.15) at 12:00am EST (that’s midnight). As of today, June 1st, the submission period is open.

Please read the submission guidelines carefully to ensure that your proposal will be considered. This open call is ONLY for those who are 100% positive that if their proposals are selected, they will be able to turn in FINAL manuscripts within 6-12 months of contract. That means the whole book (all 30,000 words of it) will be due between January and August 2016. Missed deadlines will result in cancellation of the contract. There will be other open calls for delivery dates beyond August 2016 within the next 2 years.

If you are ready to go and have the time over the next year to write a full book, please submit your proposal by 12:00am EST on Monday, July 27th, 2015. 

If you are a college or high school student and under the age of 22, please consider submitting to our Under 22 ONLY open call, details can be found here.

Submission Guidelines

If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit ALL of the following to 33proposals@gmail.com before 12:00am EST on July 27th, 2015. No exceptions. The word/page counts below are not exact but should point you in the right direction of what I’m looking for. Submissions that don’t include complete responses to the first 9 requirements below will not be considered.
Submit the content below in one single document as either .doc, .docx or .pdf. No .rtf files will be accepted. Please put your name, album and artist in the subject line of the email.

Proposal requirements:

1. Your professional CV/resume, including full contact details + a short biography (25-50 words).
2. A draft annotated table of contents for the book. This should include chapter titles and a brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter. If you plan on deviating from a chapter structure, please explain why in 500 words.
3. A draft introduction/opening chapter for the book, of around 2,000 words.
4. A concise description of the book (up to 250 words). This needs to be clear, informative and persuasive. It should be suitable for use as the book’s blurb. It should be written so that people who are unfamiliar with the album will understand what this book is about.
5. Your analysis of the most relevant competing books already published (or forthcoming) about the artist in question or the scene surrounding that artist – and how your book will differ. Are there any films or film projects in the works? 200 words or less.
6. At least 500 words about yourself and why you are qualified to write this book. Why are you the best person to do it? How you would help Bloomsbury Academic market your book? Please list websites/forums/listservs you’d contact directly; any artist involvement you might expect; any college-level courses on which you think your book could be used, and so on.
7. Which existing 33 1/3 books or other types of music writing you like or dislike. Why? 500-1000 words.
8. Describe the audience for your book. What are the fans like? Describe your target market. How large is this market? 200 words.
9. Please list the firm date on which you will deliver your complete and final manuscript and why you have chosen this date (Must be between January 2016 and August 2016).
10. Do you have any feedback? How is the series doing so far? What could we do better? Not required.

Upon submission you will receive an auto-reply message and you will be notified by email in 2-4 months if your proposal is selected.

If you have questions please post them as a comment on this post and they will be answered quickly. We are unable to respond to email queries.

Just in case you need a refresher, here are the first 106 books in the series and here are the ones currently contracted to come out in the next 3 years.

The following projects were contracted at some point but for various reasons are now cancelled.The following albums are now fair game:

Daniel Johnston-Hi, How Are You
Kate Bush-The Dreaming
Tori Amos-Boys for Pele
The Clash–London Calling
Wu Tang–Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)
Weezer-Pinkerton
Bjork-Biophilia
Pulp-This is Hardcore

If you are a member of the press and want to know more about the series or write about it, please visit our contact us page.

I hope the FAQ below will help and please ask additional questions in the comment form below this post.

I would like to preemptively thank all of you for taking the time to think about and draft these proposals. It is an immense joy and honor to read them.
xoxo Ally-Jane

FAQ

Q: How many proposals can I submit?
A: Only one proposal on one album per person will be accepted.
Q: How much will I be paid for writing a 33 ⅓?
A: Writing a 33 ⅓ will not make you rich. But it will bring you fame, glory and bragging rights. We are able to offer a small advance and a 10% royalty rate on each contract.
Q: My computer crashed at 2am last night and I lost everything, I’ve been putting the proposal back together but I’m not going to make it by 12:00am, can I have just 1 extra hour?
A: No. Please back up your work. In order for this process to work, it has to be fair for everyone.  Not a single proposal will be considered after 12:00am EST on July 27th.
Q: Do you have examples of successful pitches to share?
A: Yes, in our new textbook How To Write About Music there is a chapter titled “How To Pitch a 33 1/3″ that is worth reading.
Q: I submitted a proposal last time and it would be really helpful to hear some constructive criticism as to why it was rejected, can you quickly look at it and let me know what I can do better?
A: Very sorry but we just don’t have the time or resources to do that. While we carefully read every single proposal there are a multitude of reasons why many don’t get selected. This is not to discourage you from submitting again, but seriously consider extensive revisions.
Q: There is already a book in the series by the same artist as the one I’m proposing, will you consider two albums by the same artist?
A: Yes. There are two albums by Radiohead, two by the Beach Boys and two by The Rolling Stones in the series already.
Q: Why are so many of the books cancelled after they are signed up?
A: Because life gets in the way. There are many reasons some of the accepted proposals never become books. Some of the more common reasons: life change, health problems, artist refuses to cooperate/talk, there isn’t enough to say about the album. To try to circumvent this, 33 1/3 has a new publishing schedule in which contracts will be issued for books due within 12 months.

UPDATE JANUARY 2015

We are NOT currently accepting proposals.

For an update read: this.

The official open call will begin in late June 2015 with proposals due in August 2015. If you have a question, please carefully read the guidelines below or feel free to leave a comment. Unfortunately we are not able to respond to email queries due to the volume we receive. 

Update: July 2014

The submission window for this year is now closed and sadly we cannot accept your proposal. We hope to do another open call in Spring 2015 so please subscribe to this blog for updates. Remember that open calls are always announced on this blog so make sure you don’t miss the next one.

For more open call information and series updates please like us on facebook or follow us on twitter.

Open Call 2014 (now closed):

I have received hundreds of emails over the past year asking about this moment, and it is finally here.

I am happy to announce the next open call for proposals for the 33 1/3 series.

Proposals are due by Monday, March 3, 2014 (3.3.14) at 9:00 am EST. As of today, January 31st, the submission period is open.

Things are a bit different this time. Please read carefully to ensure that your proposal will be considered. This open call is ONLY for those who are 100% positive that if their proposals are selected, they will be able to turn in FINAL manuscripts within 8-12 months of contract. That means the whole book (all 30,000 words of it) will be due between January and June 2015. Missed deadlines will result in cancellation of the contract. There will be other open calls for delivery dates beyond June 2015 within the next year.

If you are ready to go and have the time over the next year to write a full book, please submit your proposal by 9:00am EST on March 3, 2014.

Submission Guidelines

If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit ALL of the following to 33proposals@gmail.combefore 9:00am EST on March 3, 2014. No exceptions. The word/page counts below are not exact but should point you in the right direction of what I’m looking for. Proposals that do not include complete responses to the first 9 requirements below will not be considered.
Submit the content below in one single document as either .doc, .docx or .pdf. No .rtf files will be accepted. Please put your name, album and artist in the subject line of the email.

Proposal requirements:

1. Your professional CV/resume, including full contact details + a short biography (25-50 words).
2. A draft annotated table of contents for the book. This should include chapter titles and a brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter. If you plan on deviating from a chapter structure, please explain why in 500 words.
3. A draft introduction/opening chapter for the book, of around 2,000 words.
4. A concise description of the book (up to 250 words).   This needs to be clear, informative and persuasive. It should be suitable for use as the book’s blurb. It should be written so that people who are unfamiliar with the album will understand what this book is about.
5. Your analysis of the most relevant competing books already published (or forthcoming) about the artist in question or the scene surrounding that artist – and how your book will differ. Are there any films or film projects in the works? 500 words.
6. At least 500 words about yourself and why you are qualified to write this book. How you would help Bloomsbury Academic market your book? Please list websites/forums/listservs you’d contact directly; any artist involvement you might expect; any college-level courses on which you think your book could be used, and so on.
7. Which existing 33 1/3 books or other types of music writing you like or dislike. Why? 500-1000 words.
8. Describe the audience for your book. What are the fans like? Describe your target market. How large is this market?
9. Please list the firm date on which you will deliver your complete and final manuscript and why you have chosen this date (Must be between July 2014 and June 2015). Please indicate if you will grant us permission to publish your proposal online and if you would like to remain anonymous or if you would like us to print your name.
10. Do you have any feedback? How is the series doing so far? What could we do better?

Upon submission you will receive an auto-reply message and you will be notified by email in 2-4 months if your proposal is selected.

If you have questions please post them as a comment on this post and they will be answered quickly.
Just in case you need a refresher, here are the first 89 books in the series and here are the ones currently contracted to come out in the next 3 years.
The following projects were contracted at some point but for various reasons are now cancelled.

The following albums are now fair game:
Tori Amos- Boys for Pele
The Clash – London Calling
Wu Tang – Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)
Weezer- Pinkerton
Bjork- Biophilia
Pulp- This is Hardcore

If you are a member of the press and want to know more about the series or write about it, please contact Tanya Leet (tanya.leet@bloomsbury.com) in the US and Charlotte Rose (Charlotte.rose@bloomsbury.com)  in the UK and Europe.

I hope the FAQ below will help and please ask additional questions in the comment form below this post. If you have a burning question that you are absolutely sure that no one else will want to hear the answer to, you can email me at ally.grossan@bloomsbury.com and I’ll do my best to respond.

I would like to preemptively thank all of you for taking the time to think about and draft these proposals. It is an immense joy and honor to read them.
xoxo Ally Jane

FAQ

Q: How much will I be paid for writing a 33 ⅓?
A: Writing a 33 ⅓ will not make you rich. But it will bring you fame, glory and bragging rights. We are able to offer small advances on a case-by-case basis and a 10% royalty rate on each contract.
Q: My computer crashed at 2am last night and I lost everything, I’ve been putting the proposal back together but I’m not going to make it by 9:00am, can I have just 1 extra hour?
A: No. Please back up your work. In order for this process to work, it has to be fair for everyone.  Not a single proposal will be considered after 9:00am EST on March 3rd.
Q: I submitted a proposal last time and it would be really helpful to hear some constructive criticism as to why it was rejected, can you quickly look at it and let me know what I can do better?
A: Very sorry but we just don’t have the time or resources to do that. While we carefully read every single proposal there are a multitude of reasons why many don’t get selected. This is not to discourage you from submitting again, but seriously consider extensive revisions.
Q: There is already a book in the series by the same artist as the one I’m proposing, will you consider two albums by the same artist?
A: Yes. There are two albums by the Beach Boys and two by The Rolling Stones in the series already.
Q: Why are so many of the books cancelled after they are signed up?
A: Because life gets in the way. There are many reasons some of the accepted proposals never become books. Some of the more common reasons: life change, health problems, artist refuses to cooperate/talk, there isn’t enough to say about the album. To try to circumvent this, 33 1/3 has a new publishing schedule in which contracts will be issued for books due within 12 months.

69 comments

  1. Pingback: 33 1/3 Series Update | 333sound

  2. Pingback: The 33 1/3 Author Q&A: Gillian Gaar | 333sound

  3. Leslie

    Thank you for offering this opportunity! I just have a quick question: You require a “firm date” for delivery of the manuscript, but that seems to be dependent on when a contract is offered, which can take 2-4 months after submission. Would it be acceptable to commit to something such as “six months from acceptance” (in item #9) instead of an actual date?

  4. Greg

    My last proposal made the “semi-final” round, but ultimately was not chosen. Since then, I’ve developed what I consider to be a much better approach to the same album. Worth a shot?

  5. CJ

    Could you please clarify what you mean when you say the deadline “Must be between July 2014 and June 2015″, specifically whether June 2015 is included in the writing period – can an author pick a deadline of June 30th 2015? Thanks.

  6. Perhaps a stupid question but when it says ‘professional CV / resume’ under #1 on the proposal requirements, you mean like a standard CV covering education / work experience (ie. what I do 9-5, Monday to Friday)? Or is this to be a ‘writing’-centric CV focusing on writing experience?

  7. Keef

    Is it ok if my sample chapter is under 2,000 words or would that count against me? No sense padding it to 2,000 if I can get to the point in 1,500, right?

  8. Keef

    Is it ok if my sample chapter is under 2,000 words? I don’t see much sense padding it out if I can get to the point in 1.500 words. Or will that count against me?

  9. dan

    Hi There, two (related) questions:
    -I am working on a proposal for a jazz record for the series… is that a non-starter? It is a record that, I would argue, deserves a place in the 331/3 series. And….
    -Can one submit a proposal for a book that is about two records that could be considered companion pieces?
    Thanks!

  10. On the CV when you ask for complete contact information, does that mean the names of editors you worked with, phone number and website? If so, what if the editors that you worked with are no longer there?

  11. Robert Carter

    Seconding the jazz question. The album I’m considering, while jazz, had an enormous impact on the rock world (and many of the artists in the series already).

  12. David H

    Hi,

    I am working diligently on a proposal is there a chance some one else has picked this album before the 3rd or is March 3rd the beginning of the consideration period ?

    Thanks !

  13. Can you expand a bit on what an “annotated table of contents” means? Right now for my draft, I have my chapter outline followed by a list of references and resources I intend on using. Is that right or do specific sources need to be cited in the draft table of contents? Also, what style do you follow or recommend – AMA? Thanks!

  14. J

    “Please indicate if you will grant us permission to publish your proposal online.” What will this involve, and why would you or the author want to do that? Will it affect the likelihood of the proposal being accepted?

  15. electricities

    I sent in my submission last night before deadline but realized I left something off my resume. Can I still send an updated file to replace the old one or is it too late, since the deadline for submission has passed?

  16. Michael W

    Would you be willing to establish a mailing list to let interested potential authors know next time a proposal window opens?

  17. Gerrod Harris

    Hello. I am an aspiring musician, and a university student studying music. I am really interested in writing a proposal for the next opportunity to have my idea published; however, I do not yet have a degree behind my name. Will this impede the likeliness of getting an approval of my proposition?

  18. Crystal

    I was wondering if you would consider albums that are rock-based soundtracks to a full show. Like, for example, the soundtrack to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” (That is not my actual idea)

  19. I was wondering if you would consider rock-based soundtracks to a show? Like, for example, the soundtrack to “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or something (Not my actual idea). But as long as all the songs were by the same artists?

  20. Diana

    In your FAQ’s, you give reasons why books are cancelled after they’re signed up – one reason being that the artist refuses to cooperate. In terms of submitting as strong a proposal as possible, do you recommend including agreements from the artist as regards interviews, discussion, etc. for the purposes of the proposed book? Thank you!

  21. Will W

    Do you have a policy when it comes to incorporating published materials (reviews or essays published on blogs, for instance) into a manuscript?

  22. Anna

    I am currently an undergrad student at my university and therefore do no possess a college degree or an established position as a writer. Is it still possible that my idea may be selected, or does the lack of experience outweigh my proposal. Thanks.

  23. Kristin

    I see that Pulp’s “This is Hardcore” has been cancelled…would you accept a proposal for a different Pulp album, say, “Different Class?”

  24. troy mercer

    iron maiden powerslave, one of the greatest and most complete albums ever made , a true masterpiece that everybody should know about

  25. Diane Ferri

    I see that Tori Amos’s Boys For Pele is available. Are other Tori Amos albums up for grabs as well or is that just the only one approved? I don’t see her on your list of published books.

  26. Is there a general guideline for how old an album should be? The one I’m considering was released last year and has been very well-received (actually, my own jaw hit the floor), but I wouldn’t want to seem like a PR nerd. I thought I should wait until after their next release, but carpe diem. Plus, who knows — maybe the next release would supersede my affinity for the other and the cycle would begin again. Thanks!

  27. Dominic Jones

    I noticed there are no soundtrack albums covered as yet and I was considering pitching one to you. Are there often complex rights issues involved when publishing books about these, or is their absence so far just due to someone not having been commissioned?

  28. Noah Axelrod

    I see that there is a book on Sleater-Kinney’s “Dig Me Out” currently in the works. I was interested in writing about another Sleater-Kinney album. I know there are multiple albums by the same artist within the series, but would there be an issue with two albums by the same band potentially so close together?

    • Noah Axelrod

      I was worried about the lack of response, but I have decided to go forward with the proposal. I love the series, by the way.

      • Hi Noah, Sorry for the delay. Your comment slipped through. The Sleater-Kinney book will be released in 2016 so I do think that another Sleater-Kinney album so close wouldn’t be the best idea.

  29. Fred

    Dear 33 1/3-Team,

    we are currently discussing to submit a proposal. One of the two albums we are interested in writing about is the main album by the key German artist. It would be easy to submit a convincing proposal for this album. Of course, the key market for such a book is huge – but central Europe. Due to that a German book would be commercially much more interesting than an English book about this album. Is the series open for such an approach? Otherwise, if not, we would focus on the other album, I guess. Thank you!

  30. Malcolm

    I’m perfectly comfortable writing prose, but I also have experience (and a passion for) graphic novels, and I’ve long believed that employing the graphic novel format into music criticism would add a very useful dimension when discussing songs, bands, and the like. Would you be interested in such a proposal? The word count would have to be adjusted, since creating artwork to the tune of 30,000 words is simply impossible given the time and budgetary limitations- so there is that. And there are probably other considerations that would require a custom approach, but in the end you would have the world’s first graphic critique of an album, which I believe would have both critical and commercial advantages. But I’m not sure if you guys want to jump into such uncharted waters with your series… do you?

    • Hi Malcolm. I’m not opposed to a graphic novel (you can see a sample of Marty Davis’s Black Flag graphic novel in the book “How To Write About Music,” but I’ve always felt that the small size wouldn’t do justice to the artwork.

      • malcolm

        It would probably be more in the feel of Jeffrey Brown’s work (in terms of size, not style) which uses the small format well; his books are about the same size as yours (you can scroll through this Amazon preview to get an idea:
        http://www.amazon.com/Unlikely-Jeffrey-Brown/dp/1891830414/ref=la_B001JP1WCU_1_19?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434466663&sr=1-19&refinements=p_82%3AB001JP1WCU#reader_1891830414

        Or, more likely, each page would be one or two panels maximum, depending on the content. And it would be more text-heavy than a typical comic book, while still using images to communicate some of the ideas. Assuming this actually improves the narrative, of course.

        My question, as I work my way through crafting a proposal, is about delivering something that can be accomplished in a year but still meets your requirements of being in-depth enough. Would it work to speak in terms of a page count rather than a word count?

        I realize I might be biting off more than I can chew here, but thanks for indulging me!

  31. Dear 33 1/3 editors:

    Before I get any deeper into my research for this proposal, I have two questions:

    1. Do you accept co-authored (two authors) books for the 33 1/3 series?
    2. Do you have any proposals on The Pretenders’ first album, Pretenders, or know of any in development?

    Thanks very much,

    Jim

  32. Pingback: Devo: More than a One Hit Wonder - An Interview with Evie Nagy, Author of Devo's Freedom of Choice (33 1/3 Book) - Grimy Goods

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