How to Submit a Proposal

Writing for the 33 ⅓ series

The 33 ⅓ submission window is currently closed! Our open call typically runs once a year, please check back again next year.

We are accepting proposals for our Genre series, so if you’d like to submit one, please see below.

Be sure to follow the submission guidelines below, and only submit if you are able to complete your 30,000 word manuscript within 6-12 months from acceptance. We’ll work out individual timelines for books, and some may have longer deadlines, but we’ll need an initial commitment to a fairly quick turnaround. If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit all of the following to

Submit the content below in a single document as a Word doc or pdf. No Google Docs, please. Important: Please use this exact format for both the subject line of your e-mail and the name of your document: Artist name, album name, your initials.

Once the submission window closes, it will take us a couple of months to sift through proposals. We will alert the authors of successful proposals through e-mail, as well as post the final list to the blog. For a full list of albums already covered in the series, please see our list of published and forthcoming books here on our website.

Writing for the Genre: A 33 ⅓ series

The Genre submission window is currently open!

Genre: A 33 ⅓ Series is a series of short books that guide you through the musical sub-genres that have intrigued, perplexed, or provoked you. Like the original, critically-acclaimed 33 ⅓ series, every book in the Genre series takes a unique approach and the series collectively offers a host of new perspectives, song recommendations, little-known tidbits, personal stories, and above all, ways of thinking about music. Existing books in the series can be found here.

If you would like to submit a proposal for the series, please follow the proposal submission guidelines for the 33 ⅓ series (though note that Genre books are 40,000 words). E-mail your proposal to

Proposal Requirements:

  1. 2-3 pages that describe the book.
  2. A concise description of the book (up to 200 words).
  3. A 5-page sample from anywhere in the book.
  4. A one-line description of the book summing up its scope and content.
  5. 3 short points that emphasize the unique aspects of your proposed book.
  6. A 1-page table of contents for the book with chapter titles and light annotation if desired.
  7. Your professional CV/resume including full contact details and 200 word bio.
  8. A 1-page marketing plan (with comparable titles and suggestions for finding an audience).
  9. The amount of time it will take you to complete your manuscript.

Writing for any of the 33 ⅓ Global series

The Global submission window is currently open!

Since the formation of the original 33 ⅓ series, several spin-off series have also launched, including: 33 ⅓ Brazil, 33 ⅓ Japan, 33 ⅓ Oceania, 33 ⅓ Europe, and 33 ⅓ South Asia. Like the original series, these global strands are devoted to in-depth examination of the most important albums from around the world.

If you would like to submit a proposal, please follow the directions for the academic proposal submission process found on this page.


Q: I would really like some advice on which album to write on, or constructive criticism on my proposal. Can I write to you about this?
A: We’re very sorry but we just don’t have the time or resources to do that.

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, two by David Bowie, and two by The Rolling Stones in the series already. However, it’s important to justify the addition of a second album from an artist for inclusion in the series.

Q: I submitted a proposal previously that didn’t make it. Can I re-submit?
A: We ask that you do not re-submit proposals. However, feel free to submit one on a different album.

Q: Can I submit multiple proposals?
A: Just one proposal per person per open call, please!

Can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

118 thoughts on “How to Submit a Proposal”

    1. Hello! We’ll likely open up the proposal window again in January. We announce here, on our socials and via our email newsletter too!

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  2. In the wake of David Bowie’s death, have you found there’s been an uptick in submissions for his albums? If so, would you be willing to share which ones are currently under consideration? I’m in the early stages of putting together a proposal for Lodger, but before I get too deep into research it would be useful to know if it’s essentially a fool’s errand right now. Thanks!

  3. shotofcompassion

    One thing that I hope the editors clarify is whether or not the series is still considering non-academic proposals. I have always liked that the 33 1/3 series welcomes a variety of approaches. There are ‘Making Of’ books like “69 Love Songs” and “Chocolate and Cheese.” There are literary approaches like “Master of Reality,” “Meat is Murder,” and Let it Be.” And, of course, there are the academic/analytical titles like “Let’s Talk About Love” and “Dangerous.”

    While I respect Carl Wilson’s writing, his “Let’s Talk About Love” was actually one of my least favorite titles in the series so far — simply because I found it too academic for my personal tastes. Luckily, 33 1/3 has always had many other styles that did more closely match my tastes. However, in the three interviews with the new editors so far, all seem to favor Wilson’s approach and to lean toward future proposals having a clear “argument.” But “69 Love Songs” and “Let it Be” couldn’t really be said to have made an argument per se and “Chocolate and Cheese” and “Master of Reality” weren’t overtly that interested in analyzing where those albums fit into the social landscape or taking a particular stance.

    This isn’t meant as snark. I’m genuinely curious to hear the new editorial staff make a statement about this because it will greatly determine my future interest in the series and, more importantly to me as a writer, whether or not I submit.

  4. Is there a policy against any portions of a 33 1/3 book publishing elsewhere prior to publication? If a segment has already been published in a magazine or website, would that disqualify the proposal?

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  5. So when are you going to tell everyone? what you got this time around? and what you going to publish in the near future? Your readers would like to know! Cheers 🙂

  6. I’m wondering the same as Greg and Ben Winch as indicated above, regarding the “rolling basis” of proposal reviews,and in addition, if the 2017 print schedule is finalized (I’ve seen what’s on the docket for 2016 through 2018 at this point). Posting inquiry here as I see others are interested. Thanks!

    1. This is a very rich and interesting article written by Michelle Byamugisha who also happens to be my niece. I am so proud of you, you’re quite becoming a writer. Well done! Rossste&nbtp; &nbep;0 likes

  7. Hi,
    I see it now says above “Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis.” Does that mean there’s no cut-off date this year, and that I can just submit at any time? I just want to be absolutely sure.

    Thanks for your time.

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  9. How do you let people know whether their proposal has been selected or rejected? The reason I ask is because I’m moving to a different state in a few weeks. So if it’s by mail, I wanted to know who I should send my new address to, as the one on the proposal is no longer good.

  10. How do you let people know whether their proposal has been accepted/rejected? The reason I ask is because I’m moving to a new state, so if it is by mail, who should I send my new address to?

  11. Great Books. I now know how much time and effort a proposal involves. I think any of the following would be great additions to the series.

    Kate Bush – Hounds of Love ( Including exceptional B sides )
    Talk Talk – The Spirit of Eden
    Peter Murphy – Love Hysteria
    Derrick May – Innovator (1991 Version)
    Pigeonhed (1993)
    The Young Gods – Only Heaven
    The God Machine – One Last Laugh In a Place of Dying
    Carl Crack – Black Ark
    Spiritualized – Pure Phase
    Trashmonk – Mona Lisa Overdrive
    Saul Williams – Amethyst Rock Star

    Good Luck with all current projects.


  12. Hello. I sent my submission this evening (@10pm). Didn’t get an auto reply. Checked email a few times and got a bounce back from AT&T (my provider) saying that the email wasn’t delivered. This came around 10:45 and I saw at about 11 when I sat down to work. I quickly saved the PDF down to a smaller size (wondering if the file size was an issue—sometimes is with AT&T) and resent it.
    I just now (11:08) received an auto reply saying that it was too late.
    Is there anyway this can still be accepted?
    As I’m sure you know, there was an awful lot of time put into this and to now have it not accepted because of $!@(#$^*#-ing AT&T seems unfair

    Thank you for the consideration

  13. Quick question for you. I’m slimming down my introduction’s word count. But I think it’s still a bit too beefy. What’s the upper end of the word count you’d be willing to allow….? Thank you!

  14. Ha, allow me to be pedantic by posting from the dreaded Wikipedia 🙂

    In the United States and Canada, digital clocks and computers commonly display 12 a.m. right at midnight. While that phrase may be used practically, it helps to understand that any particular time is actually an instant. The “a.m.” shown on clock displays refers to the 12-hour period following the instant of midnight, not to the instant itself, so that, when a clock displays “12:00 a.m.”, (the instant of) midnight has already passed and the period before noon of a new day has begun. In other words, 11:59 p.m. shows until midnight; at the instant of midnight, it changes to 12:00. Simultaneously, the p.m. changes to a.m., though, strictly speaking, a.m. does not apply to the instant of midnight which separates p.m. and a.m. In 24-hour time notation, “0:00” and “0:00:00” refer to midnight at the start of a given date. Some styles, such as ISO 8601, allow 24:00 to refer to the end of a day. Noon is 12:00:00.

    So the exact moment of 12:00:00 midnight belongs to the day before. The first moment after that, for example 12:00:01, belongs to the day after.

    That is of course a question separate from anything that anyone means when they say “midnight.”

  15. Just to ask the obvious dumb question regarding the proposal deadline: does 12:00AM EST on Mon July 27 mean we have all day Monday to finish up (I can use it)? Or is it due essentially midnight Sunday (i.e., first thing Monday morning)?

    1. Not dumb at all…actually my original post was misleading. It’s been corrected now: Proposals are due by Monday, July 27th (7.27.15) at 11:59pm EST (that’s midnight at the end of the day Monday).

  16. Is there any money/infrastructure for image reproductions, or is your image policy the same as most academic publishers (for which it’s the author’s responsibility to secure and pay for image rights)?

  17. Just to clarify, a proposal was submitted in 2014 for Titus Andronicus – The Monitor. I think that I might have a strong proposal for this album/book, but was wondering if this is still contracted, and if not, what killed the proposal?

  18. Do all of the items in the proposal have to be arranged in the exact order as listed here (i.e, cv/resume and bio first, then introduction, etc) or does it matter as long as all nine items are included in the packet?

    1. As far as order goes…I’d really like it if you stuck to the order listed in the guidelines (I’m reading a lot of these remember), however if there’s a creative reason not to I’ll still accept it.

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  20. If I pitch an idea and it gets rejected may I repitch the same/similar idea in the undergraduate submission calling?

  21. 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,


  22. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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:

        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!

  23. 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!

    1. Hi Fred. We’re an English language series. Though we do occasionally do translations. But I’m not opposed to an English book about a German artist.

  24. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  25. 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?

  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. 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.

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

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

  30. 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.

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

  32. 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!

  33. 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?

  34. 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)

  35. 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?

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

  37. 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?

  38. “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?

    1. Your answer to this question will in NO way affect the likelihood of your proposal being accepted. It’s possible we’ll share some of the winning proposals online.

  39. 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!

  40. 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 !

  41. 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).

  42. 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?

  43. 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?

  44. 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?

  45. 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?

  46. 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?

  47. 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.

  48. 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?

  49. 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?

    1. Good question. Yes, stating “6 months from signature of contract” would be fine. As mentioned above the window for manuscript delivery dates is January to June 2015.

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