SAE Book Author Guidelines

SAE authors must follow these guidelines when preparing manuscripts and artwork. Manuscripts that are not formatted according to the SAE guidelines will be returned to the author for revision.

General instructions
Manuscript length
Manuscript template
U.S. and S.I. units
Use of copyrighted material
Parts of a manuscript
Supplementary materials (e.g., videos, software, etc.)
SAE editorial style guidelines for authors

Top author mistakes to avoid

  • Non-use of Book template - be sure you use the SAE Book Template and paragraph styles. There are also instructions for applying the SAE template to your already existing files or you can start with the template directly if you are just beginning to write.
  • Inconsistency in terms - ensure specific terms are used consistently throughout the book (e.g., spelling, hyphenated vs. non-hyphenated, and one word vs. two words).
  • Equations - all equations should be created in MathType and exported as image files.
  • Figures
    • Consistency - ensure terminology, spelling, and capitalization within each figure is consistent.
    • Resolution - images should be a resolution of 300 dpi or better and at least 5 inches wide. Note: 72 dpi images from the web are not usable for book publishing.
  • Inconsistency within multi-authored books - the primary author of multi-authored books is responsible for ensuring all authors follow the author guidelines and styleguide.
  • Spellcheck - before submitting your final manuscript for editing, run spellcheck.

General instructions

  • Prepare your manuscript in Microsoft Word. Place each chapter and figure in its own separate electronic file, clearly labeled using the following file naming convention (your product manager can provide you with the product code for your book):
    Product code_ch_1
    Product code_fig_1.0
  • Upload your files to a secure filesharing site. Figures for each chapter should be compressed into a zip file before uploading. Your project coordinator will provide you with the address and details of how to do this.
  • For manuscripts containing many or complex equations, create a pdf file for each chapter to upload with your final manuscript for reference during editing and layout.
  • Interactive materials—Because SAE books are published in ebook format and in print, you are encouraged to provide interactive materials with your manuscript, such as sets of problems and solutions, video, databases, calculation of problems and solutions, and software that can accompany the book or be made interactive. Your product manager can give you more information about the suitability and formatting of such peripheral materials.

Click here for an overview of the SAE book publishing process.

SAE editorial style guidelines for authors
SAE loosely follows The Chicago Manual of Style, but all manuscripts may require slightly different writing styles and structures to best present the discussion about the topic. Refer to the SAE Editorial Style Guideline for Authors for guidance on preferred writing styles. That document also includes a list of suggested units, symbols, and abbreviations, as well a list of accepted spellings and general suggestions for improving the quality of writing.

Manuscript length
Your publishing agreement with SAE will stipulate a word or page count and number of figures and tables. As you write, pay close attention to the length of your manuscript. If you believe you will exceed the contracted length for your book by greater than 10%, contact your product manager immediately.

Manuscript template
To help you prepare your manuscript, SAE provides a Word template that specifies margins, line spacing, fonts, type sizes, and predefined styles that enables you to quickly apply formats for text, headings, figure captions, and more.

Click here for instructions for using the author template.

Acronyms may be used, but they must be defined and explained when first mentioned. For example,

The study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focused on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

When making acronyms plural, add 's' and no apostrophe to the acronym (e.g., CVTs, and not CVT's). An exception to this rule occurs if the omission of the apostrophe preceding the "s" creates confusion with the acronym.

U.S. and S.I. units
SAE is a global publisher, and many of our readers will be more familiar with S.I. units than U.S. units. Write your manuscript so that the U.S. units for measurements are used in the text, followed immediately by the conversion to S.I. units in parentheses. For example,

The vehicle traveled at 10 mph (16 km/h) before stopping.

Click here for common quantities, units, prefixes, and abbreviations of S.I. and U.S. units.

Use of copyrighted material
If you are using text, figures, tables, or any material from other books, papers, journals, websites, etc., you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder to include them in your book. It can take months to secure permission from other publishers to use previously published material, so start as soon as you know you are going to use these items in your book. Your manuscript will not be published until all permissions have been secured and paid for (if required). Some publishers require authors to use their forms or to submit a form electronically on their website. You can also use SAE's permission form.

Tips for obtaining permissions:

  • You may need to follow up with some publishers until you obtain permission.
  • Fill in the permission form completely, whether you are using SAE's form or that of the copyright holder.
  • Be specific about what figures for which you are seeking permission (name of book, year of publication, edition, author, figure number, page number, caption, etc.). Including a photocopy of the material you want to use can be helpful.
  • Include your name and contact information on the form so they know who to contact.
  • Direct the form to "Permissions Department" if you do not have a contact name.
  • Enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with your permission request.
  • Just because material can be found on the Internet does not mean it is automatically in the public domain. You need to be sure you have permission to use images and materials in your book that you find on the Internet.

An extensive amount of material and figures is available in the public domain, free of charge, and does not require permission to use. Talk to your product manager for suggestions about where to find materials in the public domain.

Parts of a manuscript
The following are typical parts of a book manuscript that authors provide. An asterisk indicates mandatory elements that authors must provide. These manuscript parts are presented in the same sequence in which they would appear in a book.

*Title page
*Table of contents
*Preface (not mandatory if an introduction is included)
*Introduction (not mandatory if a preface is included)
*Chapters, headings, and subheadings
Tables and table captions
Equations and formulae
*Figures and figure captions
Footnotes and endnotes
*About the authors
*Author photo(s)
Supplementary materials (e.g., videos, software)

Title page
This page lists the book title, subtitle (optional), and authors. The title should be brief and succinctly convey the topic covered by the book. An optional subtitle may be used to further clarify the title and contents of the book. Authors' names should be listed exactly as they wish to appear on the finished book, in terms of spelling and sequence (if there is more than one author). Do not include affiliations or degrees (e.g., Ph.D.).

You may dedicate the book to whomever or whatever you wish. A dedication typically starts with the word "To" and is only a line or two at most.

Table of contents
List chapter numbers and chapter titles in consecutive order and include up to four levels of subheadings from each chapter. You do not need to include page numbers--SAE will add them after the page layout is complete.

This one- to three-page statement is written by someone other than the author(s), typically a person with notoriety whose endorsement will add credibility to the book. The foreword should end with the name of the person who wrote it, followed by his or her affiliation or city, and the month and year.

This one- to two-page section tells readers why you wrote the book but does not go into detail about the background or history of the topic. Brief acknowledgments may be included near the end of the preface, or lengthy acknowledgments can be placed in a separate acknowledgments section.

Typically one to two pages, the acknowledgement is used to credit other persons or organizations for providing assistance during the writing of the manuscript.

An introduction contains material that should be read prior to reading the rest of the book, such as historical details or background on the topic as well as the intended audience for the book. The length varies, depending on the topic.

Chapters, headings and subheadings
The text of the manuscript should cover everything needed to help readers understand the information you wish to convey, and is typically broken into chapters. Chapters can be organized in various ways, depending on the topic. Please be aware that SAE will publish your book as an ebook, and readers will be able to buy single chapters of the ebook. Thus, when writing chapters, it is advisable to make each chapter able to be read as a standalone unit, as well as being a cohesive part of the book.

Number chapters consecutively throughout the book. Give each chapter a brief title that provides a clear idea of what that chapter will cover. Use a similar tone and writing style throughout all chapters. Chapter lengths may vary, but it is best to maintain consistency among them (e.g., one chapter should not be 100 pages and another only 10 pages). Use the Book Template to format all text.

Chapters may be subdivided by headings and subheadings. They also may include non-text material to support the discussion, such as tables, figures, and equations. These may be original content created by you or material taken from other sources, with appropriate permission granted from the other sources. (See Use of Copyrighted Material for information on how to obtain permissions). Non-text material should relate directly to the text, and be mentioned in the text. Large tables, figures, or equations may be better presented later in the book as Appendices rather than in the chapters.

Chapters may be subdivided by up to four levels of subheadings, particularly for technical material that requires lengthy discussion. Similar to chapter titles, headings and subheadings should be brief and should describe the discussion in that subsection, again using a similar writing style and tone. While numbered headings and subheadings are not required for your final book, they are required for the manuscript, this will aid in applying the correct text style during layout. Any heading or subheading numbers generally include the chapter number and indicate the level of that subheading (e.g., Chapter 6 may have subheadings 6.4.2 and 6.4.3). The Book Template will help you to format all headings and subheadings. If you would prefer your book does not have numbered headings, discuss this with your project manager. Heading numbers can be removed after text styles have been applied during layout.

Create tables using Word's table feature and embed them in the text right after they are first mentioned. If you do not use the table feature in Word, separate your data into columns by using tabs. Do not use spaces to align tabular material.

Number tables consecutively within each chapter and in a consistent style (e.g., Table 1.1, Table 1.2). When referring to tables in the text, use "Table #" (e.g., Table 1.1). Do not use extraneous formatting in tables, such as shading, color, or borders of varying thickness.

Set tables and table titles in 10-point Helvetica or Arial type. In the case of large tables, a smaller point size may be more appropriate (e.g., 9 point Helvetica or Arial).

Each table must be fully explained and cited in the text, and a caption or title must be included for each table as well. Table titles are placed above the table and with initial capital letters in 10-point Helvetica or Arial bold type. The title usually follows the number on the same line, separated by punctuation or by space and typographic distinction. For example,

Table 1.1 Approximate Values

If your table requires more than one page, the second page of the table should include the table number, followed by "(cont.)" on the same line as the table number (but without the table title), such as,

Table 1.1 (cont.)

Column headings must be in 10-point Helvetica or Arial bold type, initial capital letters, and centered within their cell at the top of the column.

Tables may also be provided as separate .tif or .eps files or hardcopy originals. However, hardcopies cannot be edited or styled to match the rest of the book.

Large tables may be placed in a separate Word file, with one table per file. A line in the text (similar to a figure caption but not to be printed in the final book) should indicate in the text where the table should be placed.

Equations and formulae
The equation editor in Word can be used to create simple equations. However, if your manuscript will contain many or complex equations, SAE requires that you purchase MathType software to create them ( SAE will reimiburse you for the cost of the software if your manuscript contains many equations. You will need to export upir equations as image files to be sure they reproduce accurately. Discuss this with your SAE book product manager before you create any equations for your manuscript. You will need to export your equations as image files to be sure they reproduce accurately. Contact your SAE book product developer for help exporting all of your equations to image files in one step.

Number all equations sequentially within each chapter, and include the chapter number as the first number of the equation (e.g., Eq. 3.1 for the first equation in Chapter 3). Center each equation on the line, and place the equation number in parentheses at the end of that line. For example,


Be sure to use the math parentheses, brackets, and slashes on the math software toolbars, rather than typing those characters from the keyboard. The text form of these keyboard characters will appear too small within the equation.

When referring to equations in the text, use "Eq. #" or "Eqs. # and #." The exception would be if "Eq. #" is the first word of the sentence. In that case, spell out the word in full as "Equation #."

Present lists in bulleted or numbered form. The first word of each item should have an initial capital letter. Use the SAE book template to format lists. Here are some other tips for presenting lists:

  • Do not put parentheses around the numbers at the beginning of numbered lists.
  • Do not use commas or semicolons at the end of listed items, and do not use the word "and," between items in the list.
  • Use a period at the end of each list item only if at least one of the items in the list is a complete sentence; otherwise, do not use any punctuation at the end of each list item. However, if one item is a complete sentence and uses punctuation such as a period at the end of that list item, then all items in the list should use that punctuation.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each item, even if it is an incomplete sentence.


  • General—Figures should relate to and illustrate concepts in the text. SAE does not provide artwork preparation services—you are responsible for obtaining publishable-quality figures.
  • Image quality—Provide .tif, .eps, or .jpg files with a resolution of 300 dpi or better. Note that 72 dpi .jpg files, which are often found on the Internet are not usable for book publishing. Also, any figures that are created in or put into PowerPoint automatically have their resolution reduced to 72 dpi so are not suitable for book publishing. Photographs must have a resolution of 300 dpi minimum. If you are scanning images, scan as close to 100% physical dimension as possible, at 300-dpi or better resolution.
  • Text labels on artwork—Text labels must be 10-point Helvetica or Arial type. However, if the artwork is large, 10-point type may be too small to read when the figure is reduced. Be sure that labels will be large enough to read if the figure has to be reduced to fit the page layout.
  • Sources of figures—You may create original artwork for your manuscript or you can use artwork from other sources. If the artwork is from another source, you must obtain written permission and pay any fees for use of that artwork. See Use of copyrighted material for guidance on obtaining permissions. If you use artwork from a web site, you must be sure that the resolution is 300 dpi or better. Material that appears on the Internet is not automatically in the public domain—you must obtain permission to use it in your book. There are many sources of artwork that are in the public domain and free of charge. Contact your SAE product manager for suggestions on where to obtain this type of artwork.
  • CAD files are acceptable if saved as .tif or .eps files.
  • Unacceptable formats—Avoid using photographs clipped from newspapers or magazines because they will not reproduce well. If you must use these kinds of images, bear in mind they will not appear very well in your book.
  • Color artwork—Color artwork is acceptable, but be sure the concept you are illustrating with the figure is not lost when the figure is reproduced in black and white.
  • Do not embed figures in the text. Rather, insert the figure caption in the text after the first paragraph that refers to that figure. Skip a line before and after the caption. Click here for detailed information about figure captions.
  • Size of figures—Figures should be at least 5 inches wide. Typically they will be reduced during layout. The larger size gives the book designer more to work with and helps ensure a quality end product.
  • Figure files—Place each figure in its own separate electronic file. Give the file a name that is based on the figure number (i.e., fig_3.1.eps). When uploading figures to the file sharing site, combine all figures for each chapter into one zip file.
  • Numbering figures—Number all figures in a consistent format throughout the book (e.g., "Fig. 1.1" and "Fig. 1.2").
  • Citing figures in text—Cite each figure in the text, and provide a unique and brief (e.g., one-line) caption. When referring to figures in the text, use "Fig. #" (e.g., Fig. 1.1). An exception would be if the "Fig." is the first word in the sentence (e.g., Figure 1.1 is a diagram...)

Figure captions
For figure captions, abbreviate "Fig.," capitalize the first letter of the first word of the caption, use lowercase letters for all other words of the caption (excluding proper nouns, acronyms, etc.), and end the caption with a period. For example:

Fig. 1.1 Cross section of a Wankel rotary engine.

Provide a credit line in parenthesis at the end of the caption for images you are using from other sources. In general, cite sources of copyrighted figures in parentheses after the caption, using the following style:

Fig. 1.1 Temporary clamping fasteners. (Courtesy ALCOA-Fastening Systems)
Fig. 2.1 F/A-18 Navy FBW attack fighter. (Ref. [2.1])

If the copyright holder has specified a credit line, you must use that exact line.

Footnotes and endnotes You may use footnotes or endnotes, but not both.

Footnotes—Number footnotes consecutively within each chapter, not throughout the entire manuscript. Each footnote may be numbered as a superscript when cited in the text (e.g., Chapter 1 information3). Or they may be numbered with alphabetic characters in the same format (e.g., Chapter 1 informationa). However, be sure the footnotes are not confused with the style you've chosen for citing references in the text. See References and bibliography for details about citing references in text. In the final layout, the footnote will be placed at the bottom of the page where it is cited. However, authors should place the footnote copy immediately following the paragraph in which the footnote number is cited.

Endnotes—Although used less commonly than footnotes, endnotes may be placed together in a separate section at the back of the manuscript. Endnotes may be bibliographic information or may further explain a concept in paragraph form. Number endnotes in the same way as footnotes (e.g., as a superscript with the chapter number as part of the footnote number [information1-4]).

References and bibliography
References—If you rely on text or other information from another source (e.g., concepts, quotes, or statistics from a book or magazine, a website, or a personal interview) you must cite that information as a reference. This gives credit to that source and allows interested readers to go to the source for more information. However, references are not substitutes for permission to use copyrighted material from other sources, such as figures or tables (see Use of copyrighted material).

  • Numbering references—Number references consecutively within each chapter, not throughout the entire book, and include the corresponding chapter number as part of the reference number (e.g., see Ref. 5-1).
  • References list—Include the list of references at the end of the respective chapter in which they are cited or in one large section for all the chapters near the end of the book.
  • Citing references in text—There are three primary ways to cite references in the text: (1) input the reference numbers as superscripts (e.g., text5-1), (2) enclose the reference numbers in square brackets (e.g., [5-1]), or (3) write out the reference number (e.g., Ref. 5-1). You can use any of these methods in your text, but select one style and use it throughout the text. All references that are cited in the text must be listed in the References section of the book (either at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book in a separate section), and vice versa. Do not use reference numbers in chapter titles, headings, or subheadings.
  • Reference formats—Below are some typical formats for references. If you use a different style for references, the format may be acceptable as long as it is used consistently throughout the manuscript.

    Books: Reference number. Author's Last name, Author's First Name or or initials. year of publication. title of book (in italics), edition (if other than the first). publisher: location of publisher. page number (abbreviated as "p." for single pages or "pp." for multiple pages).


    Boyne, Walter J. 1987. The Smithsonian Book of Flight. Smithsonian Books: Washington, DC. p. 195.

    Jones, J., et al. 1965. "Tires in the Modern Automobile." in The Workings of Cars, edited by A. Carr and Z. Ferrari. Imagination Publishing: New York. pp. 101-110.

    Journals: Reference number. Author's Last name, Author's First Name or Initials. year of publication. title of article (in quotes). name of journal (in italics) volume no., issue no.: page number (abbreviated as "p." for single pages or "pp." for multiple pages).


    Severs, G.C. and R.A. Fliess. 1899. "Cost/Ton Mile for Horses and for Electric Vehicles." Scientific American 81 (4): p. 50.

    Technical Papers: Reference number. Author's Last name, Author's first name or initials, year of publication. title of paper (in quotes). paper number. Publisher: location of publisher


    Tucker, L.E. 1972. "A Procedure for Designing Against Fatigue Failure of Notched Parts." SAE Paper No. 720265. SAE International: Warrendale, PA..

    Web Sites: Reference number, article name (in quotes). website name. website address. date accessed


    "Henry Ford," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed November 10, 2011.

    Interviews: Reference Number. Interviewed Person's Name, Interview with Author, Date.


    Smith, John, interview with author, January 3, 2009.

    Hardy, Oliver, personal communication with author, May 15, 1995.

  • Bibliography—Unlike references, a bibliography is a list of sources that have not been cited in the text but are pertinent to the book and might provide useful information to readers. Because these sources are not cited in the text, they can be listed alphabetically together in one section at the end of the manuscript.

Appendices are placed at the back of a manuscript and include material that is not essential to the chapters but may provide further information or clarification. Appendices may be written by you or taken from other sources with appropriate permissions obtained from those other sources (see Use of copyrighted material). If your manuscript contains two or more appendices, identify the appendices consecutively with upper-case letters (e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B).

SAE uses professional indexers to provide a back-of-the-book index, complete with cross references. The index is much more than a keywords list. Creation of the index is one of the last steps in the production process. If there are words you want to be sure are included in the index, you can provide them with your final manuscript materials.

About the author(s)
This section, typically one to two pages, provides readers with information about your background and qualifications to write the book, and those of your co-authors if applicable. It is written in paragraph style (not a resume) and includes information about work experience, formal education degrees, professional certifications and affiliations, and other professional accomplishments such as awards and professional memberships. Along with a writeup, please provide a photo of yourself to accompany the text and to use in promoting the book.

Supplementary materials (e.g., videos, software, etc.)
Peripheral materials such as videos, databases, and software are enhancements to books, especially SAE books available in ebook format that may include links to interactive materials. Extra material in the form of problems and solutions can also be useful. For more details about the requirements for peripheral materials, as well as their applicability to your manuscript, contact your product manager.