Would you like to write a book?

You may be interested to know that, as of RIGHT NOW, we’re accepting proposals for future 33 1/3 books, to be published in 2010 and 2011. Please read the information below carefully – I’ve tried to outline the process as clearly as possible.

You can send in one proposal, about one album. Multiple submissions will not be accepted. Draconian, but true!

The “one book per band/artist” rule no longer exists. Therefore, we’ll consider proposals for books about any album that hasn’t already been covered in the series, or isn’t already under contract.

You can find a list of titles already published in the series here, and the books listed as “Coming 2008” and “Titles Announced for 2008 and 2009” are also off-limits. On the “Unknown Status” list, none of these are under contract any more (some of them never were!), with the exception of the books about Kate Bush, Lucinda Williams, and the Clash. So, just to be clear – if you send in a proposal for a book about Pink Flag or Loveless, it’ll be ignored. But if you send in a proposal for a book about The Basement Tapes or Chinese Democracy or Kid A, we’ll absolutely consider it.

The deadline for submission of proposals is midnight on Dec 31st. So you have until the last minute of 2008 (New York time). Any proposals received after that time (and I’ll be watching – drunk, but watching) will not be accepted.

If you have written a book for this series already: we love you, but we’d like to give others a chance. Spreading the wealth, kinda.

If you have submitted a proposal before, but have been turned down, you’re very welcome to have another go.

Regarding your choice of album: this is entirely up to you. I don’t, sadly, have the time to answer emails asking “would album X stand a better chance than album Y?” – so use your best judgment here. My advice would be this: we are looking to sell some books. That’s the bottom line. If you are absolutely convinced that we could sell 4,000 or 5,000 copies of a book about your chosen album, then go for it.

All proposals must be submitted via email. The address for submissions is as follows:


The subject line of your email must use this format: “Proposal for Big Country’s The Crossing”. (This will really help me keep it all organised: thank you in advance.)

Please don’t send proposals to my regular work email. And if you have any questions about this process, ask them in the comments section below. We’ll do our best to answer them.

Your proposal should take the form of a Word document attachment. Don’t include it in the body of your email.

All proposals that we get at the yahoo account will be acknowledged within a few days of receipt – except towards the end of December, when I may be offline for a little while. I’ll acknowledge those ones as soon as I’m able.


All proposals need to include these simple things:

Your name and contact details;

An outline (up to 2000 words) of how you would approach your album of choice. (This is key. Don’t assume, just because you’ve chosen a no-brainer record, that you don’t have to convince us about it. The best proposals have a real clarity to them, a purposeful angle, and a sense of determination. Why do you love the record? What’s fascinating about it? Why will thousands of people want to read about it? In this section, include any details as to whether you would contact the band/artist in question, or other people connected to the record in some way. Artist involvement isn’t essential, but it can certainly help.)

Up to 500 words about yourself, outlining why you’re qualified to write about this record;

A couple of paragraphs on how you would help us promote your book: we do everything we can, but an active author makes a huge difference;

And finally, which book in the series would you hope to emulate, in terms of style and content?


A few more random details…

Absolutely anyone can submit a proposal, except for authors already under contract for the series. You don’t need to be a professional music writer or a legendary rock flautist to be considered.

Will we accept proposals about compilation albums? Yes. About live albums? Yes. About jazz albums? No. (Nothing personal!) About an album that hasn’t been recorded yet? Go ahead, convince us.

The books themselves are between 25,000 and 35,000 words. Almost invariably, this sounds easier than it is. So please only submit a proposal if you’re serious about writing one of these, and if you’re able to commit to it.

Also: I’d advise against doing this for the money. We can’t pay very much – there’s a modest advance against royalties. But if your book ends up selling nicely, you’ll get some decent pocket money for several years to come, and we try to supplement that with translation deals, audiobook deals, etc.

This is hard to predict, but I’d hope to have a yes/no decision for everyone who sends us a proposal by some point in March. It really depends on how many we receive.

Last time around (in early 2007), we received about 450 proposals, and ended up offering contracts to about 20 of them. So the odds aren’t great, when you think about it. If you bruise easily, you might want to think twice about trying this. On the other hand – go for it – it’s fun!

I sincerely hope this covers everything. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section to this post, and we’ll do our best to answer them. As we discovered previously, this system isn’t perfect, but we’ll do everything we can to make it fair, and as open as possible.

Oh, and if you want to share this posting on message boards, facebook, other blogs, go ahead and link to it. Thanks!


  1. Just wondered what version of Word you’ve got? I just sent mine in Word 2007 format, but am worried that you won’t be able to open it and I’ll find that out too late!Cheers,Erik Stein.

  2. I sent in my proposal two minutes before the deadline and had an error message come back saying that 33 Yahoo address had fatal errors. Perhaps you got the proposal, I hope you did but if you didn’t what would you suggest I do?I can prove that the email was sent before the deadline.

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