A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Call for Proposals for the 33 1/3 Series

Bloomsbury is thrilled to announce a call for new proposals for the acclaimed 33 1/3 book series, previously published by Continuum. (Bloomsbury acquired Continuum in July 2011).

The series – each volume of which focuses on one popular music album of the last several decades – started in September 2003 and has published 85 titles to date. Books in the series so far have taken a wide range of approaches, on subjects ranging from albums by the Kinks to James Brown, from Bob Dylan to Prince, from the Pixies to Public Enemy, and from the Beastie Boys to Celine Dion.

In these new proposals, we’ll be looking for original research, for stories in the history of popular music (recent or otherwise) that haven’t been told too often (if at all), and for perspectives that will broaden and develop the discipline of writing about music, as read by a global readership of music scholars and fans.

Proposals will be considered for books about any album that hasn’t already been covered in the series, or isn’t already under contract. (The Wikipedia page on the series can help with this.) Your choice of album is precisely that: yours. Titles in the series typically sell 4-5,000 copies or more: if you’re convinced that enough readers around the world would rush out to buy your book, then go ahead and persuade us!

All resulting books published in the series as a result of this call for proposals will be published under the Bloomsbury Academic imprint during 2013 and 2014. (All existing titles in the series will also be re-branded as Bloomsbury Academic titles, in due course.)


We will be accepting new proposals between the dates of March 19th and April 30th, 2012. Nothing sooner, nothing later.

Interested authors should send in one proposal, about one album. Multiple submissions cannot be accepted.

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

33proposals@gmail.com

The subject line of your email must use this format: “Proposal for Madonna’s Ray of Light”. (That’s an example only, of course…)

Only proposals sent to 33proposals@gmail.com will be considered – no exceptions! Any questions about the proposal process should be posted to the comments section of the 33 1/3 blog , or on the wall of the series facebook page: we will answer them there.

All proposals will receive an automated reply, acknowledging receipt. Once the window closes at the end of April, we will need around 3 months before our publishing decisions are made: everybody will be notified in person at that point.

Word count on the books signed up will be between 30,000 and 40,000. No exceptions allowed.

There will be royalties payable on all print and electronic editions of your book, as well as foreign rights deals, etc – but no advances will be paid against those royalties.


Your proposal must contain all of the following in order to be considered:

1. Your professional CV/resume, including full contact details;
2. A draft annotated table of contents for the book and an approximate date of completion;
3. A draft introduction/opening chapter for the book, of around 2,000 words;
4. Your analysis of the most relevant competing books already published about the artist in question or the scene surrounding that artist – and how your book will differ;
5. A one-page sheet of how you would help Bloomsbury Academic market your book – 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;
6. Up to 1,000 words on which book, or parts of books, already published in the series you would aim to emulate on some level;

You should attach all of this in a readable format to your email as a PDF or .doc or .docx file – if you could include it all as one full document rather than several attachments, we would appreciate that enormously.

Finally, please do share this call for proposals on message boards, listservs, facebook, twitter, blogs, and with any interested colleagues – thank you. We look forward to receiving and reading your proposal!

David Barker PhD
Publishing Director, Bloomsbury Academic US
www.33third.blogspot.com
www.facebook.com/33.3books

150 comments:

Jans said...

I've been waiting a long, long time for this. Very excited!

kayley said...

I've been waiting a long time, too. Would be honored if my proposal is chosen!

Dave M. said...

If a planned title was commissioned and later cancelled, should we consider that title now to be fair game?

David said...

Dave: Yes, totally fair game, in that instance.

Anonymous said...

Would a compilation album be valid if it presented previously released materal in a genre that was only named and invented decades later, thus necessitating the release of the VA comp?

David said...

Anon: yes, a compilation album along those lines would be 100% valid!

Aurora said...

Hey David,

How rigidly academic does the text have to be? Hopefully, because we're talking about rock music here, there is a bit of flexibility to the definition in this instance.

Justyn said...

Are different albums by artists who have already been covered being accepted?

David said...

Aurora: we certainly don't want to kill off the creative edge of the series but we'll be taking a more rigorous approach this time around. And yes, I know that's a fudged answer :)

Justyn: Yes, they are!

wendy said...

David, can you shed some further light on #6 - does the question assume a proposer has read the majority of the books in the series? Not really clear on the intent of the question. Thanks.

David said...

Wendy: No, it would be a perfectly valid response to #6 simply to say that you haven't read any of them, or that you've only read two, and thought they were both terrible. (Although an explanation why would be helpful, there!) It's really an attempt to give us a sense of how you think your book might fit in the context of the series, or how it might take the series in a somewhat different direction. But again - no penalty whatsoever for those people who aren't familiar with the books at all.

alexburnsdisinformation said...

My past, rejected proposal, in case it helps people:

http://alexburns.net/Files/33-3RejectedProposal-AlexBurns.pdf

Good luck David --- love the series!

Thomas Volt said...

Can the book have two authors?

and are electronic music albums accepted?

Jeff Sanchez said...

David, At one time there was a London Calling book under contract- I'm guessing it was never written. I am still shopping my Sandinista proposal around, and I'll definitely submit in March.

David said...

Thomas: Yes, and yes.

Jeff: Yup, I've 99% given up on the London Calling book ever appearing. Either way, we'd still be open to proposals on other Clash albums.

Anonymous said...

The authors have to be established writers?

David said...

Anon: Not necessarily established writers. While a solid track record of publication might help, we're prepared to be blown away by any kind of proposal...

Anonymous said...

Would you accept two proposals from one author?

Laura said...

"...or isn’t already under contract."

How do we know what is already under contract but has not been published yet? I have a few ideas but it would be good to know what's already being covered if we can only do one submission.

John Mark said...

@Laura
Check the "Forthcoming Titles" section on the Wikipedia page for books under contract: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/33%E2%85%93

@Anonymous
Sorry, one proposal, one album!

Laura said...

I should clarify: is the Forthcoming list at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry complete?

Laura said...

Great, thanks!

John Mark said...

Yes, the Wikipedia is complete. Which is to say, until we sign up any more books, the list will not get longer...though some books may fall off the current list in the future (as David mentioned above with London Calling).

Ronald said...

For professional CV/resume...Is this like a work resume that includes companies we've worked for and schools attended? or are you looking for something different?

rebecca said...

In regards to requirement #3, does it have to be from the opening chapter or can the sample be from any part of the book?

Also for #4. If there are no other books written directly on the chosen artist, do you mean to find a competing book in that particular genre? And can that "competing" book be a previous 33 1/3 book?

David said...

Ronald: Yes, a regular old resume/CV, if possible. I realise that 95% of it may not be remotely relevant to this exercise, but if it gives a sense of your writing history, etc, that would be helpful.

Rebecca: On #3, it would be most helpful to us to see how each prospective author might start her book - makes it more of a level playing field, somehow. And on #4 - it may be that there are genuinely no competing books at all, in which case that's fine; and a previous 33 1/3 book can definitely count, for this section.

Anonymous said...

If you appeared as a player (but not songwriter) on a seminal record, and have intimate knowledge of the time/process/etc of the recording, would this submission by accepted, or is this considered a conflict of interest?

Laura said...

Would a proposal by three authors be acceptable?

rich said...

I don't know if I'm putting too much stock in the word "annotated" and am allowing it to confuse me. But what is the difference (or is there a difference) between "annotated table of contents" and just "table of contents"?

David said...

Anon: No conflict of interest there - we'd certainly consider such a proposal.

Laura: Yes, although it might cause some fun creative challenges for our cover designer...

Rich: Fair point. I guess, rather than just a list of chapter titles, a short paragraph about the proposed contents of each chapter could be helpful.

Aurora said...

David, fetishesque question not having to do with any of this really: will the cover design be the same under BA or be redone?

David said...

Aurora: The covers will be exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

hello, would you consider a record of field recordings for the series? thanks

David said...

Anon: Yes, we would consider that.

Pat said...

David, would you consider a book that is a revision of an article I've already published in an academic journal? (There shouldn't be any problem getting permissions from the journal.)

David said...

Pat: yes, we'd certainly consider such a project for the series.

Mark Ambrose Harris said...

Hi

Two questions:

1)If a proposal is accepted, is there an approximate timeline of when the manuscript would have to be handed in?

2)In looking through a bunch of my 33&1/3s, it seems like there are multiple citation methods. Some books have footnotes, some have citations directly in the text, etc... If a proposal is accepted, is there a preferred method of citation/documentation?

Thanks in advance for your time.

Colin said...

David,

As I glanced through the titles on the Wikipedia page, I noticed no multi-authored titled. (As I said, only glanced so please forgive if this was an oversight on my part).

In addition, my past rejected submission was a multi-authored (two of us) proposal. (sniffle... no hard feelings... sniffle)

Is there an adversity toward co-authored 33 1/3 books?

Just curious, because my new idea would also be a proposed collaboration between a colleague and me.

Thanks in advance.

-Colin

PS. Is someone from 33 1/3 going to be at PCA/ACA? I always try to pick up a handful of new ones each year.

Anonymous said...

I know one doesn't writ ethis sort of book to make loads of money... but what is the royalties situation if the proposal is chosen, published and sells well?

Anonymous said...

David,

Given the new emphasis on an academic approach to the series, are you envisioning musical/music-theory analysis, with examples in notation, as an integral part the books?

Thanks,
Josh

David said...

Mark: (1) I'd love it if most of these new ones could be written within 6-12 months of a contract being offered and signed. (2)You're quite right, we've traditionally let this vary along with the tone of the books, in the past; moving forward, we'll probably just go with Chicago style.

Colin: Nothing against co-authored proposals, at all! We did sign one up, a while back (on Outkast), but it never saw the light of day. And PCA/ACA: yes, we'll have a booth there, with plenty of 33 1/3 titles for sale.

Anon: I haven't pinned down a final royalty structure yet, but it will be based on net receipts, and we'll offer a staggered royalty so that the more the book sells, the higher the rate will go.

Josh: Not necessarily! It would be fair to say that we'll be more open to that type of analysis than we have been previously but we still want the books to be as readable as possible for people both inside and outside of academia.

Leor said...

Would you consider a pitch about an album that's a compilation release collecting material previously only available on EPs or seven-inches?

nabeel said...

Can it be a soundtrack album that isn't only the work of one artist i.e. a compilation? In other words, departing from the auteurism of the series to some degree?

Matt said...

David,

I am admittedly (and embarrassingly) unfamiliar with the series, but it looks geared more towards a 'rock' sensibility (pardon the gross overgeneralization). Are proposals on seminal jazz albums of the 1960s encouraged as well?

Also, as a first year PhD student, my CV is rather thin. How important is publication history?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The fact that no advances are being paid is shameful. I had expected the series to be a little more respectful towards its authors.

keith said...

Would it be worthwile to re-submit a proposal that was not accepted for the last call? Also, are multiple submissions acceptable?

David said...

Leor: Yes, we would certainly consider such an album.

Nabeel: Yes, a soundtrack album along those lines would be perfectly valid.

Matt: Both good questions! I've gone back and forth on the jazz question but always end up with the same answer - that there should be a separate series of books about seminal jazz recordings. And I'm not sure that our (admittedly limited) skills as a publisher would do justice to that. Regarding publication history: it's a factor, of course. But if we get a proposal that blows us away from a writer with a limited track record, we'll still be very excited about it.

Anon: your opinion has been respectfully noted.

Keith: Multiple submissions aren't acceptable, I'm afraid. As for re-submitting, that's a tricky one. We did end up turning down a raft of excellent proposals last time around, admittedly. So if you're still gung-ho about that particular album and you're confident of turning in a strong proposal under the new guidelines, then yes - go for it!

Ray said...

I've already written something in approximately the 33 1/3 length and style, but have been giving it away under Creative Commons online since 2006 and selling it on the Kindle store since last year.

I had a previous deal with a UK publishing house which fell through when they were acquired by Macmillan (here's my book still listed at the Waterstones website).

Would you consider this for the series, or have I blown my chance by making it available through other routes?

nabeel said...

Thanks David

Anonymous said...

It strays far from the established form, but would a submission in an illustrated comic book style be accepted?

Bryan Reed said...

How soon after the proposal deadline will authors be notified whether the proposal has been accepted or rejected?

Thanks!

David said...

Ray: I think if it's already been available via the Kindle format, we'd have to rule it out - sorry about that.

Anon: We'd certainly accept such a proposal, yes; and if it blows us away, then you never know...

Bryan: As it says above, we'll do everything we can to get the decisions made within 3 months of the deadline closing - it's possible we might be able to work faster than that.

Anonymous said...

How many words roughly should part #4 be? 500-1,000? Other parts were specified, but this one was not.

David said...

Anon: good point. Probably just a sentence or two about each competing title that you list. (Clearly if you're proposing a book about the Beatles, this section will be longer than if you're proposing a book about Fat Larry's Band...)

Anonymous said...

so for #4, you would rather see several titles with brief descriptions...as opposed to a couple of titles with lengthy descriptions?

should we put a cover page on our proposal that precedes #1?

will all of your decision notifications to authors be sent out at once, or will they be done on a rolling basis at slightly different times?

Jake said...

Would a title that deals with two albums, released in the same year by the same band and with a similar aesthetic thrust, be considered? or is the series focused on single albums?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

How relevant to the decision will be the assumed sales factor of a given album? One of the things I love about the series is its willingness to publish books on way more outre albums, but I've also noticed that (Celine Dion aside) the best sellers have been within a relatively narrow window of albums with a certain aesthetic appeal... conversely, a lot of the bottom sellers seem to be well outside this range..

The reason I ask, and if it's inappropriate, that's fine, is that the last batch of accepted proposals definitely seemed to be albums with built in audience acceptance... Of course, that was at the depths of the economic crash...

Anyway, I'm just wondering if you're able to speak to the relevance of an obscure submission versus one that is less so in the general publishing scheme?

Thanks!

David said...

Anon: for #4, it depends on the number of directly competing titles on the market. If there are only one or two, then some in-depth analysis would be prudent; if there are several, then a sentence or two on each would be fine. No need for a cover page. Decision notifications: I think we'll try to do these all at once, if at all possible.

Jake: single albums only, please (although fair enough to "write around" the album, to some extent).

Anon: My inclination this time around is to mix it up as much as possible although of course there's always pressure to publish the titles that we believe will sell the most. It's a juggling act, and one we haven't always pulled off...

Anonymous said...

Past volumes in the series have either blended fact and fiction, or been outright fiction (MUSIC FROM BIG PINK by John Niven). I can't tell from your announcement whether or not you're still open to these kinds of proposals, or if you're moving away from these creative approaches to more academic approaches. Thanks.

David said...

Anon: Yes, we're still open to these approaches. It's just that they'll need to be truly thrilling/exciting to make it through the process, I suspect...

Charles said...

Any ideas on how long we should be imagining our proposed books to be. I'm guessing that the word count varies as I have some books in the series that are much longer than others. Any specific range we should know about?

Charles said...

Ignore my question! Found the answer right in front of my face (which is why I couldn't see it of course.)

Mike said...

Are the proposals meant to be limited to the six key ingredients only? Ordinarily, I'd expect to submit a summary proposal of at least several pages - making the case for it presenting "perspectives that will broaden and develop the discipline of writing about music," etc (from para. 3 of the call for proposals), and then include the six listed items. As I read it here, though, it seems like you want only the six items. Is that right? If so, then is it safe to assume that the draft introduction is essentially the "pitch" for the substance of the book? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

David, I know you've stated the royalty rate hasn't yet been determined, but are there any reasonable assumptions that might be made. For example, will the royalty rate run any higher than it might have in the past to make up for the lack of advance? Is there any sort of ballpark range to help writers determine whether writing a book — or even a proposal — is worth the time spent on the gamble?

Also, what are the terms of copyright/ownership Bloomsbury is purchasing?

What guarantee is there that, once contracted, the book written will ever be published? It seems like without any financial investment in the author, Bloomsbury doesn't have much skin in the game, so to speak... How are you ensuring good-faith with the selected writers?

Anonymous said...

may i suggest collecting cosmo lee's track by track analysis of the first four metallica albums into a 33 1/3

http://www.invisibleoranges.com/tag/metallica-the-first-four-albums/

David said...

Mike: Yes, that's a fair assumption, about the draft Intro. Ideally we'd ask for more but it doesn't seem fair to ask people for more when it's entirely possible that we'll receive 200-300 proposals and will only be able to publish 15-20 of them. If we're intrigued by a proposal and want to find out more, we may get back to individual authors at that point.

Anon #1: I can't see that the royalty rate will go any higher than what it's always been on these, which is 10% of net receipts. I'll try to build in some kind of staggered royalty so that the rate goes up after a certain number of sales. Copyright: our contracts all contain, before Clause 1, the phrase "Author is the author of, and owner of the copyright in, the work provisionally entitled..." Good faith: we're nice people. If we sign a contract to work together, we assume that the author will deliver his/her side of the deal, we'll absolutely do the same. Works a treat, every time.

Anon #2: I will check that out!

lunt435 said...

dear dave,

i am not a native speaker, my english is quite good though (i believe). i'm sure i could write a great text for the series. would the possible need for extra proof reading / editing on your end be a problem?

and also: what is the situation with foreign rights? since some of my research for the porposed text would be german language interviews and german is my first language, it would be a reasonably modest job for me to produce a german version of the text. would i be able to sell that directly to a german publisher or would bloomsbury's contract extend to the german version as well?

Peg A said...

I got some very positive feedback on a proposal I submitted in the last round (thanks Dave!) but was told the "marketing guys" (okay maybe that was not the term used) were not sold on it because they thought it might not sell enough copies. Should I try again, re-tweaking to suggest why it is in fact a viable idea?

Anonymous said...

David, My agent believes she should submit my proposal (as she does my work with other publishers), but I don't see how to do that given the carefully choreographed submission procedures. Can an agent submit on behalf of a client?

Anonymous said...

Hi David. Would it be okay to do a reisussue of a collection of short albums/eps, since this is how said artist gained more exposure?

Anonymous said...

From the same anonymous: hi again! I should clarify that the "reissue" here is not a reissue of a previously issued compilation but, rather, the first time that three hard-to-find albums were issued as a set. Thanks for any light you can shed on this!

Anonymous said...

Two questions, David:

1. Is there any way for you to elaborate on how the royalties work? My understanding is that since there's no advance to recoup, the writer would get royalties starting with the very first copy that sells, correct? Also, does "10% net receipts" mean the author will receive 10% of all sales? Just trying to get an idea. Say the author sold 5,000 copies. How much money would that give them in royalties?

2. Will oral histories be considered for publication? My apologies if there's already been a 33 1/3 oral history published that I haven't read.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

In #5 you list "any artist involvement you might expect." Can you give some examples of what that involvement might look like?

David said...

Lunt435: No, that would not be a problem, if the proposal is good enough. Foreign rights: Bloomsbury would want to keep these if at all possible, although such matters can be sometimes negotiated at contract stage.

Peg: it's a question we're asked often and there's no easy answer to it! If the project is one you're passionate about, and you feel confident you can persuade us of its viability then yes, please do submit a revised version of it.

Anon #1: yes, an agent can submit your proposal on your behalf, as long as it conforms to the guidelines we've set out.

Anon #2: A collection of short albums/EPs seems to be stretching it a bit, I think. Best to stick to coherent album "units" if possible.

Anon #3: On royalties - yes, no advance means that the author starts earning royalties from day one. (Not literally: we send out statements and checks twice a year.) 10% of net receipts means that the author receives 10% of what we receive from any account that buys the book (Amazon, B&N, any independent book or music stores, etc). If your book is $14.95, we typically give between 40% and 50% discount to those places - so we'd receive roughly $8.00 on each sale. You'd get 10% of that. On oral histories: yes, totally acceptable!

Anonymous said...

#5 lists "any artist involvement you might expect." Can you give some past examples of artist involvement?

Unknown said...

I have kind of a strange question. I'm wondering if you will be reading .doc proposals in Word, or in Google Docs. Google Docs changes my formatting for some reason, so I'm wondering if I should prepare a version to be read in Google Docs or Word.

Anonymous said...

The newest album on the list is Radiohead's Kid A (2000). Would you discourage people to write about particular albums releasedafter a certain year (something in 2003 vs. 2008)?

Anonymous said...

When is it strategically better to submit?

David said...

Anon #1: Some of our authors have had helpful input and interviews from their subjects - various members, for example, of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Ween, Portishead, the Magnetic Fields and others have been receptive to these projects. Does it necessarily make a difference to the quality of the book? No - but it is helpful to us during the proposal evaluation process, to see if an author has those contacts, or is even interested in such an angle.

Unknown: I'll be reading them in Word.

Anon #2: Certainly don't discourage proposals on recent albums. Something from Jan 2012 might be a hard sell, but something from 2008 or 2009? Not a problem.

Anon #3: Excellent question! Statistical analysis suggests that a proposal sent in on the 23rd day of the window has the best chance of being accepted.

Anonymous said...

April 11th it is! ;]

Anonymous said...

Just my 2c to the "collection of eps" thought (as I may know what album you're asking about) - I suspect something like "The Three EPs" by The Beta Band might fly, since it's better known as an album than as a set of singles - while "Press Barman To Open Old Wounds" is not, since the singles (as individual singles) were well known for some time before the compilation.

David can disagree with me if I'm off base here... but, from the sounds of his answers, anything worth doing would be considered...

(And after that High Fidelity scene - how could The Three EPs be turned down? LOL)

Ronnie, Jr. said...

Reading the comments, the series seems to be shifting slightly toward an academic orientation. Are there specific 33 1/3 titles (of those already published) that are closer in spirit to the new direction?

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Would a proposal about, say, "Music for 18 Musicians" be considered?

Thanks!

-Ben

Anonymous said...

does requirement #5 on marketing have to be just a single page, or can it be more?

Anonymous said...

hello. does the 'professional CV' have to include full list of publications and names of two referees, as well?
thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi, David -

Can you offer any insights into the criteria used to narrow down the initial mass of submissions into the top-100, and then the short list? Glancing through the titles of the 597 albums that were proposed three years ago, it seems there were some very well known albums that were not chosen, so that tells me that the popularity of an album is not necessarily an important factor. Does the author need a particular "angle" to stand out, or are you equally open to straightforward critical / historical examinations, as long as another book hasn't already covered that material? Thanks!

Michael said...

Hi David,

Let's say the introduction of our finished book would be longer than 2,000 words. In that case, which is more important to you at the proposal stage: seeing a complete and fully fleshed-out introduction, or seeing something more condensed that hits your stated word count?

Anonymous said...

Slightly concerned by the references to previous books which "never saw the light of day". (OutKast, Clash). Obviously, if the authors didn't deliver, that's one thing. But if that failure to materialise was down to Continuum then that's worrying. With no advance being paid, an author has no compensation were Bloomsbury to change their mind about publishing a book for whatever reason. Bloomsbury have nothing to lose if they renege on the deal. Whereas an author could feasibly spend months writing a 40,000 word in good faith, for absolutely nothing at all. What's all Bloomsbury's Potter dollars being spent on?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great opportunity! I have one quick query: will the contents of the books be text only or can photographs be incorporated too?

Ronnie, Jr. said...

Would it be ok to write about albums that are 1)long out-of-print, and 2) bootlegs?

Anonymous said...

Questions:

1. For a book which would include a fair number of musical examples, how can we be assured that Bloomsbury would acquire the proper copyright permissions (if the text would be meaningless without the examples)?

2. Would the associated cost of obtaining copyright permissions in any way affect the author's royalties?

3. How do musical examples affect the overal desired word count? In other words, is the goal for a certain printed page count (so more musical examples would require fewer words of text) or a certain word count (so more musical examples would require a higher page count)?

Anonymous said...

David,

Thanks for taking so much time to field anonymous questions. It's much appreciated.

Would you consider a live mix that includes several artist?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FabricLive.37

While it was released as an album, I don't believe any other book in 33 1/3 has approached such a format. But the influence of the mix on the development of dubstep is substantial.

Anonymous said...

9:17 anon said he glanced through the 597 proposed titles from a few years ago. Where can one find that list? And if "my" album is on that list, does it necessarily follow that you're not interested in the album, or that you simply weren't interested in that particular proposal?

David said...

Sorry for being so slow to respond to the latest comments and questions, everybody. I'll do my best to cover it all in a round-up now, working backwards:

The list of 597 titles is in the archive on this blog, in January 2009. And it could well be that we thought the album in question would be a great fit for the series, but that particular proposal about it simply wasn't good enough.

A multi-artist live mix? Yes we'll consider that, as long as you make the argument for it as persuasively as you can!

Musical examples: permissions clearances (and payments, if appropriate) are the responsibility of the author. We have in the past helped out with paying for lyrics permissions but in general it's safe to assume that there's a very minimal budget for any such fees.

Out of print/bootlegs: If you, and we, think there's a good readership for such a book, then yes!

Photos can be included, certainly. Typically these work best if they're images that have not been widely circulated before, and that can be sourced directly from the photographer or band/artist in question. Stock photos of Madonna or Pink Floyd, for example, are not worth including or paying for.

Michael: a fully fleshed-out introduction, in that case, would be fine.

The criteria used to whittle these down: it really is a mix of factors. The album itself, of course; the artist; the angle proposed by the author; the qualifications of the author; the persuasiveness of the writing; the amount of material already in print on that particular subject/scene; all of which is then liberally sprinkled with instinct and guesswork. We don't always get it right, in hindsight, but we do try our hardest.

Professional CV: no need for referees: just as much pertinent information about you as you see fit to include.

Marketing: this could be more, if you like!

Music for 18 Musicians: I worry that that probably stretches the remit of the series a bit too far...

As for the slightly more academic direction, this is something of an experiment. We're under new ownership (Bloomsbury Academic, as opposed to Continuum)and there is a desire to see a little more rigour in the series. So, would we sign up the PJ Harvey or Pogues books now? I suspect not. But books like those on the Ramones, Television, the Beastie Boys, James Brown, Public Enemy - absolutely.

Feel free to shout with any more questions, I'll try to answer them more promptly this time :)

Anonymous said...

David, with the scope of this series, are you looking for more 'classic', older albums?

I guess what I'm getting at is which would be a more appealing proposal -- a book on a classic prog rock album for which there is a great wealth of knowledge already, but no 33 1/3 book, or a book on an album in an emerging genre for which there is very little published?

Mark Ambrose Harris said...

Question:

If we do indeed have direct contact with the album's artist, is there a need to prove this? As in, are we expected to ask the artist for something along the lines of a letter of recommendation?

Thanks again.

David said...

Anon: Again, that's a tricky one! The albums certainly don't have to be older. Or, indeed, "classic". Either of the candidates you suggest could work well - although I'd say that if you're proposing a book on an album/artist that has been written about in book form extensively, you'll need to make a strong case that you have something new to add.

Mark: No, we trust you!

Jason M. Rubin said...

Do you handle permissions vis a vis quoting lyrics?

Anonymous said...

I love the PJ Harvey and Black Sabbath books and have wanted to get the Pogues one too and was going to see if I could come up with something fact and fiction plus included drawing, painting and photos too for proposal I was going to send in for an instrumental band called Dirty Three, is this pointless now seeing your above comments about more academic direction? Being an Aussie band too am I wasting my time because you've only one you've done before is the biggest Aussie band of all-time AC/DC.

Anonymous said...

Hello - in terms of marketing evaluation: if a proposed 33 1/3 book touches on similar issues as a forthcoming or recent volume in the Sound Studies series published by Continuum, or any other forthcoming music anthology/book on Bloomsbury, is this a case against the 33 1/3 book?
Are there any ways of knowing more of forthcoming music/sound-related volumes scheduled for publication in the next year or two?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Barker,

Quick question regarding the upcoming submission period—-how critical is it that the draft introduction be around 2000 words? I have written a very strong and tight intro for my proposed 33 1/3 title but it clocks it at only around 1300 words. However, it gets the point across perfectly. The real meat-n-taters will come in the main body of the book. If the intro doesn’t hit 2000 words, will that negatively affect the strength of my proposal? Please advise. Thank you.

Jason

Jake said...

Hi David,

I think most of the 33 1/3 books tend to stay in the anglosaxon rock tradition. For instance, it would be okay to write about a German krautrock band, but writing about an Italian pop singer from the 1970s might not seem to fit the series. If said singer (say Franco Battiato) has a notorious sociopolitical relevance, given your new "academic" orientation, do we have more chances to convince you? In such case, is the fact that the album might not be available in the US a problem?

Thanks a lot.

David said...

Jason: as a rule we ask authors to deal with lyric permissions but if you're having difficulties getting a response, or it's someone we've dealt with before (Dylan's management, for example) we're happy to step in and take care of that.

Anon #1: nothing at all against Aus/NZ artists. With regard to the more "academic" direction - I guess the safest thing for me to say is that we'll consider all proposals, but the more unconventional ones, this time around, will have to absolutely blow us away in terms of their quality. If we get something truly brilliant, I'll want to publish it.

Anon #2: No, that wouldn't count against it. We published a collection of academic essays about Kraftwerk a few months ago, for example: if we receive a strong 33 1/3 proposal about a Kraftwerk album, that would have a very good chance of being picked.

Jake: You're right about the Anglo-Saxon tradition, I guess. It's not an aesthetic choice, but more of a sales/marketing one. It's a balancing act: I'd love the series to be as diverse as possible, but I really hate the idea of publishing one of these books that might end up selling fewer than, say, 1000 copies worldwide. We wouldn't view US availability as a definite dealbreaker for an album, but it would have to be taken into account...

Anonymous said...

i guess you did publish the one on the hawaiian guy.

Anonymous said...

I have an idea but am not sure I can fully realize it by the deadline. Can you say when the next call for submissions will be? Will it be annually? Thanks.

David said...

Next call for submissions: I'd love it to be annually but at this point I have absolutely no idea...we'll have to see how it goes.

Aurora said...

Hey, very cool to see Dirty Three get mentioned...saw them in Melbourne on Friday night and THEY ROCK.

Anonymous said...

Hello. Do you have any guidelines or requests for formatting the text of the proposal?
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Have many been sent in so far?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I've looked at some examples in the book series and, at an average of just over 100 half-sized pages each, they seem to be more like 20,000 words than 30,000 words.
Has the publisher changed its policy on word count for the series, or did I count wrongly?

Anonymous said...

When you ask for a CV/resume as part of the proposal, do you mean a one-page document or a longer (nearly exhaustive) academic-style c.v.? As an academic, I have a multi-page c.v.; is that okay, or would you prefer a one-page document? (Just want to be sure of the cultural conventions here; two countries separated by a common language and all that.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking questions here!

If the project for this round is to do more academic or academic-ish books, will the books be peer-reviewed by external readers (after vetting by series editors, of course)?

That would make a difference to academic authors who would like to include this publication on their CV as a scholarly publication (since Bloomsbury Academic is an academic publisher).

Also it would allow academic authors to get more assistance from their schools regarding publication subventions to pay rights for photos, lyrics, and such.

David said...

Anon #1: formatting - no particular guidelines, just make it as presentable as you can and we'll manage!

Anon #2: no sign of any avalanche so far, we're getting 2 or 3 each day...

Anon #3: You're right, there are some quite tiny ones that come in around 24-25,000 words. But a lot of the volumes (especially more recently) have been 40,000 words and up. We're aiming to make the new volumes more consistent, length-wise, and neither too slim nor too chunky. Hence, the new word count guide.

Terry Edwards said...

If it helps allay any fears/concerns about the merits of the 33 1/3rd series - either artistically or contractually - I was fortunate enough to have my proposal for "One Step Beyond" by Madness accepted a few years ago. I received help & advice from David when I needed it, was given enough rope with which to hang myself when I felt like it, and was able to negotiate the contract with a great deal of ease in 'plain English'. I contacted one or two of the already published authors for a little advice before embarking on my book and they too had nothing but good experiences to share. Good luck one and all.

Anonymous said...

Any sign of an avalanche so far? :P

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

How "annotated" should the table of contents be? My avarage at the moment is around 90 words per chapter. Is this excessive and will it count against a proposal?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering our questions! Can you shed some light on exactly how much detail you're looking for on the outline? Should we include a bullet list of everything we're thinking of including in that chapter, just a few highlights, something in between?

Wendy said...

David, any need to present the components in the order shown in the call for proposals? Or can I start with the narrative?

David said...

Terry: Hi! And thanks.

Anon#1: No sign of any avalanche so far, we're still in the double digits in terms of proposals received, halfway through the window. Which is fine by me!

Anon#2: 90 words per chapter sounds good, and certainly won't count against you.

Anon #3: definitely no need to include everything you're thinking of for each chapter. Something in between, just whatever feels right to you, and that you think will give us the best flavour of what you're aiming for.

Wendy: Starting with the narrative is fine, as long as you then include all the other bits!

Anonymous said...

hello, i believe somebody else posted a similar question a while ago but there was no reply: how long is the CV supposed to be? if i list selected articles, publications, talks etc i have four pages. do you prefer reading something shorter, more like a two-page summary/outline of activities? or is it ok to list things in more detail? thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

Just a few questions...

1) In the move to a more academic minded collection books for this installment, how would you feel about a proposal that has as its main focus an important compilation, but one that also engages with the film and artistic movements surrounding it,in depth ? it could be pitched in multiple venues! : )

2) In the same (academic) vein, would it be helpful to include a tentative bibliography with the proposal?

Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Would you publish a book on the Anthology of American Folk Music (compiled by Harry Smith)?

Anonymous said...

do you read the proposals on a rolling basis, or do you wait for them all to come in before making decisions?

how many so far?

thanks! this is such a great series

Sara said...

Perhaps this is an unnecessary question, but thought I'd ask.

If the first chapter/section of the book is longer than 2000 words (say, 5000 words), should it be included in its entirety for cohesion, or are you simply assessing for style, etc., and will request additional pages if deemed necessary to properly judge the proposal?

I'm assuming to follow the established rules, but an intro may be shorter than a chapter, and just want you the reader to be happy!

Thank you in advance!

Sara said...

If the first section/chapter of the book is longer than 2000 words (e.g. 5000 words), should we just include the approximate word count, or the entire chapter for cohesion?

Thank you in advance!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

It mentions in your summary that all proposals will receive an automated reply, but I am still awaiting a response after submitting my proposal weeks ago. Should I resubmit my work or is this normal?

Sara said...

David--

Probably a silly question (as I should just follow the directions), but for the excerpt, if the chapter is longer than 2000 words (say 5000 words), should we just include the first 2000 and not the entire chapter for cohesion?

I'm assuming that you are just interested in getting a feel for the writing style/tone of the work and if you need more to assess you would ask?

Thanks in advance!

David said...

Anon #1: honestly no preference re length of CV - we're not judging that either way, just wanting to get a sense of what you've done, etc.

Anon #2: (1) - yes, that sounds interesting! (2) no need for a bibliography, but if you want to include it, we'll read it!

Anon #3: That's a perfectly valid album to submit a proposal for, yes.

Anon #4: I tend to wait until they're all in before reading them. Once we see how many we end up with, we can best decide how to evaluate them...Not too many so far - certainly looks manageable.

Sara: Feel free to send in the entire chapter. It won't be counted against you.

Anon #5: I think the first 3 proposals came in before we'd remembered to set up the auto-reply. Maybe send a quick follow-up email to the gmail account, and I'll confirm (or not) that we have your proposal?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Would you expect the annotated table of contents to include an estimated word count for each chapter?

Thanks

the hanged man said...

I understand jazz is out. What about comedy albums? Firesign Theatre would be a good subject, but let me know if I'd be better off submitting something else. (Not "Something Else" by The Kinks, though now that I think about it...)

Anonymous said...

Only ten days left!

Have many been sent in?

Any sure-fire winners in there so far?

John Mark said...

@Anonymous 1: I don't think there would be a need to estimate word count at the end of each chapter synopsis.

@The Hanged Man: Comedy albums will be considered, sure.

@Anonymous 2: David has been at a conference and then on vacation this week, so I'm totally in the dark about the quantity/quality of submissions. I suppose we'll know soon enough!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Couple of questions:

1. I have nigh-on 1300 words in my annotated table of contents. At about 250-300 words per chapter overview is this going overboard?

2. Does our proposal have to utilise the Chicago referencing style? If it doesn't will this count against us, as I have never used this form of citation before?

Thank you.

Walker said...

Would you seriously consider a proposal from a candidate who is still an undergrad?

Wendy said...

Hopefully this is my last question - how much time do you typically give authors to complete a book?

Anonymous said...

Hi,

It may take until right down to the wire for me to complete/submit my proposal. As a UK residence, would my absolute cut off be midnight GMT on 30th April?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Fo marketing section of proposal should we specify actual taught courses at colleges, or just a general list of disciplines our book might be suitable for?

John Mark said...

Anonymous 1: I think that's fine re: your annotated ToC. And I don't think Chicago/non-Chicago referencing makes too much of a difference in the proposal stage.

Walker: Yes, we certainly would!

Wendy: We are shooting to publish these books between 2013 and 2014, so that would put us at about a year to a year and a half for manuscript delivery.

Anonymous 2: Try to get it in on time, but there will be some wiggle room when it comes down to the hour. I wouldn't stress about that too much.

Jeff said...

This might seem like an arbitrary question, but would you prefer all six elements of the proposal presented in the order that they're printed above? (i.e. CV first, etc.)

David said...

Anon - on the marketing section, any specifics would be hugely appreciated, but I don't see this section being too much of a tie-breaker!

Jeff - Yes, if you could, that would be great. (Although again, it won't be held against you if you don't do it like that. While we're trying to keep things as orderly as possible, it's the quality of the ideas and the writing that will win out...)

Anonymous said...

Would it be a faux pas to include a brief 'supplementary materials' section at the end of one's proposal - for any 'hard sell' points which may not fit amid the proscribed six elements?

Anonymous said...

Once they're all in, will you put up the full list of which albums everyone submitted, as in previous years?

John Mark said...

Anon1: Sure, feel free to include any supplementary materials you feel necessary. But do try to keep it succinct!

Anon2: Yes, we'll put up a list of submissions once we've had a little time to process...

Anonymous said...

Can the sample actually be two parts? A short preface, and then the introduction?

Polishing it up, but I feel the sample reads best when divided.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Regarding section 4: Do you want us to stick strictly to competing books -- or is it helpful to discuss how this book will differ from general critical reception (magazines, blogs, journals, etc). Thanks!

Superbizzee said...

Hi, David...

I wanted to submit a proposal for an album that I saw on the January 2009 long list, but didn't make the short list - Shuggie Otis' Inspiration Information. Would it be a waste of time to submit one for it in this round? Just checking to see if it was a scenario where you just weren't moved by the other proposal or if you just didn't think a book on that album would work for 33 1/3.

Anonymous said...

Hello - I know you say there will be "wiggle room" on the exact hour of the cutoff, but ... if sending from the U.S., are you thinking midnight on April 30, or afternoon of April 30 translating to midnight in the U.K.? Or ... er ... perhaps you are allowing for eight hours of wiggle room!

Jim Cherry said...

Hello Dr. Barker,
I was wondering if its all right to send the proposal in an .RTF file?

Jim Cherry

Jason Persse said...

So disappointed to learn about today's deadline...this morning. Any idea as to when the next submission window will be?

Anonymous said...

My chosen artist is already represented by a different album. I see the Rolling Stones have two entries, so I see that such duplication is not firmly ruled out. But in any case, to what extent (if any) does it become a longer shot if the series has already covered the artist via a different album? Thanks.