How to Submit a Proposal

Submission Guidelines

Update: We have been accepting submissions up until this point on a rolling basis. We’ll continue to do so until October 20th, 2017. So if you would like to submit a proposal, please send before that date! If you’ve been working on a proposal but won’t be able to submit by then, not to worry – we will be announcing a new open call for submissions soon. So please keep an eye out for that!

If you would like to submit a proposal for a 33 ⅓ volume, please submit all of the following to 333submissions@gmail.com.

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. 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 1-page table of contents for the book with chapter titles and light annotation if desired.

5. Your professional CV/resume, including full contact details and 200 word bio.

6. A 1-page marketing plan (with comparable titles and suggestions for finding an audience).

7.  The amount of time it will take you to complete your manuscript.

Upon submission you will receive an auto-reply message. Unfortunately we are not able to respond to each submission individually, but we will reach out to you as soon as we can if we would like to move forward with a project.

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

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.

FAQ
Q: Do you have examples of successful pitches to share?
A: Yes, in our 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.

112 Thoughts to “How to Submit a Proposal”

  1. How come no Roxy Music? Their first album is a dream to write about.

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  3. I will be submitting a proposal, if they are still being accepted.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. The reason I ask is because I’m moving to a different state in a few weeks.
    u2fifa.com

  7. trisquith

    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?

  8. John

    How long does it typically take before a response is received to a submission?

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  9. Dan

    If I submission was recently made with the old format, should it be resubmitted using the new format?

  10. 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 🙂

    1. So I guess you’re not going tell us?

  11. Hi, should the professional resume/CV and short biography be 25-50 words in total? Or is it the resume, and then a short biog of 25-50 words? Thanks.

  12. Craig

    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. Yes that’s correct! No cut-off date.

    2. 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

  13. I’m wondering the same as Ben Winch. Has there been an answer?

  14. 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.

  15. […] if you read Bloomsbury’s submission guidelines, you’ll see these books are no casual matter. It takes something like 4,200 words just to […]

  16. 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.

  17. Mark

    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?

    1. Hi Mark, we will contact you via email.

  18. John Nugent

    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.

    JN

  19. Mike

    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

    1. Hi Mike, wrote you back Monday night. Not a problem.

  20. Do you have a preferred font and font size for the proposal file? If so, which?

    1. shotofcompassion

      We’re down to the wire now. Good luck to you.

  21. 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!

  22. Should a submission email include the submission as text within the email, in addition to the file attachment, or only the attached file?

    1. Just the attached file please.

  23. 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.”

  24. roninscribe

    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).

  25. GL

    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)?

    1. Happy to discuss once the book is selected however I usually discourage the use of images because of the small format.

  26. 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?

    1. A proposal was submitted to the open call but was not selected so the album is still open for inclusion in the series.

  27. Raven

    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.

  28. […] choose one and if you run it by the editors, I mean they’ll always answer questions. In fact, the open call for new proposals just went out last week.. Whenever people are like, “Would you rather see a book about this album […]

  29. Anna

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

  30. 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

      1. Fabulous, thank you, just what I needed.

  31. J Lau

    If I finalist for a propsoal a couple years ago, can I resubmit the same idea?

    1. J Lau

      *If I was a…

  32. 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?

    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. 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!

  33. 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!

    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.

  34. 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?

    1. 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.

      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.

  35. 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?

    1. I’m not opposed to a soundtrack being covered in the series.

  36. 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!

    1. There’s no rule about the age of an album.

  37. 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.

    1. Hi Diane. Tori has not been covered in the series yet. I mention these albums specifically because they were under contract at some point.

  38. troy mercer

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

  39. 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?”

    1. And also for “This is Hardcore”

  40. 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.

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  41. 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?

  42. Αppreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

  43. 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!

  44. 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?

  45. 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)

  46. 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?

  47. Quiana

    Man I wish I knew about this sooner. I have an 2 ideas that I doubt people will write about! :/

  48. Michael W

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

    1. Yes! You can start by subscribing to this blog or emailing 333sound@bloomsbury.com to sign up to our newsletter.

  49. 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?

  50. For the submissions, do you want a 2000 word 1st chapter, or a 2000 word intro? Or both, combined? Or chapter example. Confused. Thanks

    1. The first 2000 words of the book.

  51. 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?

    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.

  52. 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!

    1. The table of contents should be chapter titles and a 50-500 word summary of each chapter. AMA style is fine.

  53. 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 !

    1. It’s often the case that two people submit proposals for the same album. March 3rd is the deadline to submit a proposal.

  54. 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).

  55. 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?

  56. 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!

  57. 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?

  58. 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?

  59. Are we allowed to submit two proposals during this round?

  60. 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?

  61. 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.

  62. I have 3 documents (resume, book into, everything else). Can I send them attached to one email, or do you want these all merged into one document?

  63. VS

    How many proposals are approved after each open call?

  64. Greg

    Can you give any sense of preferred genres? Is there a lesser interest in classic rock, say, than more recent indie rock?

  65. 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?

  66. Would you like full references and bibliographies to the texts we reference to be included in the proposal?

    1. Full references and bibliographies if you have them. Thanks!

  67. 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?

    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.

      1. Leslie

        Perfect! Thank you for the fast response. I’m really looking forward to submitting a proposal soon!

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  68. Would you consider a slight left turn in the series? I write a, not entirely serious, blog about my album collection and I am trying to figure out how to turn it into a book.

    http://300albums.wordpress.com/

  69. When’s the next proposal window for 2013?

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