Tips for authors
Submitting a Manuscript
Know your journal. Acquaint yourself with the scope and limits of a journal's subject field
before you submit your manuscript.
Consult the submission procedures outlined in the latest copy of the journal. If the editor
requires three copies of a manuscript, send them. Observe stated word or page limits. Most
editors will respond to telephone inquiries. Many journals, on request, will provide guidelines
for the preparation of manuscripts.
Look at the footnote form employed by the journal to which you are submitting your manuscript
and model your notes accordingly.
Double space your entire manuscript, including text, block quotations, tables, and notes.
Use endnotes rather than footnotes.
Many historical journals practice double-blind peer review. Authors should therefore take steps
to preserve their anonymity. The author's name and affiliation should appear only on a separate
title page. Do not place your name on the first page of the manuscript or in the running heads.
Do not reveal your identity in the notes through the use of the first person (such as, "In my
recent article in the Journal of American History, I concluded that this hypothesis was
Do not send your manuscript to more than one editor at a time. Historical journals frown on
If submitting illustrations with your essay, send photocopies, not original photographs or
Most historical journals do not accept material that has appeared in substantially the same form
elsewhere or is about to do so.
Always include a cover letter in which you outline the substance and significance of your work.
What makes your research different from everyone else's? You should also identify anyone who
has critiqued your manuscript. If the editors know who has read the work, they will not have to
waste time asking someone to comment on an essay only to have that person decline because he
or she has already read it.
Include in your cover letter your full physical address, phone number, FAX number, and e-mail
If you want your materials returned to you, enclose sufficient postage.
Be patient. The solicitation of qualified outside readers and the gathering of evaluations often
takes two to three months and sometimes more.
It is the author's responsibility to obtain the necessary permissions to quote or cite copyrighted or
manuscript materials or to reproduce illustrations. As a courtesy, provide copies of the
permission letters to the editor.
Tables are expensive to set, and some journals require authors who cannot provide camera-ready
copy of their tables to pay for composition. Clarify this point with your editor to prevent
Once a manuscript has been set in type, do not try to rewrite it. Changes at this stage are very
expensive. Correct only errors in fact, grammar, usage, and spelling.
Most history journals do not accept unsolicited book reviews or requests by potential reviewers
to review a particular title.
Always include the page numbers of quotations from the work under review and the title and
page numbers from other works. The reference will allow editors to check for accuracy even if
the journal does not footnote reviews.
Be prompt. The historical profession is a small one. Authors and reviewers who are continually
late get reputations among editors.
If for personal or professional reasons you cannot complete an assignment, return the review
copy at the earliest possible date so that the editor may find another reviewer. Remember that
tenures and promotions are often affected by having one's book reviewed.
If you decline an invitation to review, editors welcome suggestions for
Compiled for the Conference of Historical Journals by Sara B. Bearss, former associate editor of the
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, with the assistance of Roger D. Adelson, editor of
The Historian; John C. Inscoe, editor of the Georgia Historical Quarterly; Nelson D. Lankford,
Virginius Dabney Editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography; and Michael
McGiffert, editor, Ann Gross, managing editor, and John E. Selby, book review editor, of the
William and Mary Quarterly. These guidelines were published in Perspectives: American
Historical Association Newsletter 33, no. 8 (November 1995): 19.
For more information on the Conference of Historical Journals,
contact Secretary-Treasurer Jeannie M. Whayne at
or write her in care of the Department of History, Old Main 416,
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701.