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 before 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 ( in the US and Charlotte Rose (  in the UK and Europe.

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


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 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.

0 thoughts on “OPEN CALL FOR PROPOSALS 2014”

  1. That’s highly ageist. Singling out under-22s for a book contract alone is grossly discriminatory. I realize you have that power, but still, it lacks class and professionalism.

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  6. Are you looking for works of exclusively academic criticism or will works that include fictional narratives (like the volumes on Music from Big Pink or Fear of Music) be considered as well?

  7. Will the 10% net be negotiable? Eg. moving to 12.5% net after 5,000 copies sold, etc.?

    When you say there will be advances on a case-by-case basis, does that mean some will get no advances?
    And what will the conditions be for obtaining an advance? Eg. only to established authors, or authors in financial difficulties, etc.

    Is the deal for north American rights where the author gets to keep the rest of the world rights?
    Or is it for worldwide rights?

  8. curious how you all feel about writing about spoken word or poetry albums? (specifically am interested in writing about giorno poetry systems if that helps)

  9. Would Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual be too pop and mainstream for the series or would it be considered if proposed? Thanks!

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  11. A quick question regarding part 2 of the proposal package…the “brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter.” Does that mean 50-500 words per chapter (which I what I have been putting together), or 50-500 words for the entire table of contents?

  12. A quick question regarding part 2 of the proposal package…the “brief 50-500 word summary of each chapter” discussed. Are you looking for 50-500 words per chapter, or 50-500 words overall on the table of contents?

  13. Hi – I’m thinking about submitting a proposal about a live album (Talking Heads’ ‘The Name of This Band is Talking Heads’)? Is this permissible seeing it is essentially comprised of songs from other albums (I particularly want to about the live aspect of their work). Thanks.

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  16. with number six: “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.”

    is it 500 words about myself, and then the marketing info (word count?), or is the whole qualifications/marketing info thing 500 words?

  17. I notice that 3 albums are the subjects of books which have I have never seen selected through the open call for proposals; Pulp’s this is hardcore, Can’s Tago Mago and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light.

    Whils t I have no difficulty with a book being published without having been seleccted from the general submissions, it would be interesting if Bloomsbury were to say what the criteria were for selecting these books outside the general call for proposals.

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    1. Tread carefully. It depends where it was published and how long the piece was. If you wrote a short 1,000 word essay on the album, it’s perfectly fine to expand upon that for a 33 1/3.

        1. Carefully explain how the book project will expand upon the previously published piece. It would be helpful to know the impact of the piece as is it might indicate how the larger project will be received.

  20. Hello,

    Will you accept collaborative proposals—i.e., a proposed 33 1/3 book researched and written by two people?


      1. For a collaborative proposal, do you want 500 words total for number six or 500 each? Same goes, I guess, for the second part of number one.

  21. the concept for this series was great and a handful of good to great books got written, but overall, there’s been a lot of junk, the quality control is terrible. I think it’s time they knock it on the head and the “Proposal requirements” are kind of laughable, if they really had their finger on the pulse, they should be able to find the right writers to go with the right albums, rather than this Craiglist type ‘wanted posting’

    1. I think it’s a really great series overall, but I do agree with the point about it being an open call for ANYONE to submit…

      It would make more sense if they had a separate submitting thing for people who are published/established music writers and then a different address for those who are not already published writers.
      In the same way that most publishers look at submissions from agents first and then the rest later.

      It seems odd that a music writer who has published several books and who has an agent, and has spent their life and career doing it would have to do all the resume stuff and be filed in with the people with no previous experience.

      I think it would help the 33 1/3 series gain a better reputation if they went with some more established people (and of course if someone who is unpublished writes an incredible proposal, that’s fair too), and I think it would significantly raise the quality control.

      1. You should only submit to this open call if you can deliver a manuscript between January and June 2015. Bloomsbury plans to have another open call between September 2014 and June 2015 but we can’t confirm exactly when.

  22. 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.

    What about more than two books on the same artist? Could this question be rephrased as “is there any limit on how many books per artist you’ll consider?”

  23. Quick question about prepping the proposal: one of the books that would be relevant as a comparative to the one I am proposing is a 33 1/3 book that has yet to be published. Is there a way I can contact the author to let me see a draft of the book (particularly those chapters that are relevant to my book), or is it not worth checking in with a yet-to-be-published book?

    1. Yes, it’s definitely worth checking the author or publisher of a comparative book that has yet to be published. If you don’t get a response, simply list all the information you have, even if you have only heard a rumor. It’s important for Bloomsbury to know if a very similar book is due to published or a film is to be made.

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