The SAE book publishing process

Step 1: The proposal
The first step in publishing your book with SAE is to provide us with your book proposal. Your proposal will receive a preliminary screening to determine if it fits within the scope of SAE's book publishing program. From there it will undergo two reviews: one to assess its technical strength, which will be completed by subject-matter experts, and another to assess the economic and market feasibility of the proposal, which will be completed by SAE staff. The reviews generally take 6-12 months to complete.

After the reviews are completed, you will be informed of whether or not your proposal is accepted. If your proposal is accepted, you will be offered a publishing agreement.

Step 2: Publishing agreement
SAE uses a standard publishing industry publishing agreement. You will receive a copy of the agreement for your records once it has been executed (signed by you and SAE). Once the agreement is executed, you will receive comments from the technical reviewers, and additional information to help during the writing process. Contracted books are also assigned a budget so that funds can be released for artwork, royalties, and other production expenses.

Step 3: Writing your book
It generally takes several months to a year to write a book, but it depends on your project's complexity, size, how experienced a writer you are, how much you have already written, and how much time you regularly devote to the project. Most successful book authors report that they are able to complete manuscripts through a disciplined approach of setting aside time to write regularly, even if it is a small amount of time. SAE will work with you to set up a schedule for completion of the various chapters and parts of your book. Your project manager will contact you regularly to see how you are progressing and provide assistance.

The size of your book will have been determined at the proposal stage, and the word count included in the publishing agreement. Authors must stay within that word count; more lengthy manuscripts will require additional production costs, which may not be able to be offset by a higher list price. Generally, manuscripts are 1000,000 to 2000,000 words long, including front matter and appendices. A finished SAE book page usually has around 400 words per page.

Your product manager is always available during the writing process to answer questions, obtain previously published SAE materials for your use, find individuals who can review chapters as you write, and generally help keep your project moving.

Click here for author guidelines.

Step 4: Getting permission to reprint material
It can take months to secure permission from other publishers to use previously published material (figures, photos, tables, etc.), so start as soon as you know you are going to use such material in your book because you are responsible for this task. Complete and send a permission form to each publisher from whom you wish to obtain permission. You may need to follow up with them one or more times until you obtain permission. Some publishers require authors to use their forms, and many offer online forms on their websites. Your manuscript will not be published until all permissions have been secured and paid for (if required).

Tips for obtaining 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 figure 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.

Step 5: Submitting your draft chapters
As you write your manuscript, format them per the author guidelines and submit them according to schedule. Your project manager will provide instructions for using a file-sharing website to submit your text and images. You will receive feedback regarding the format and quality of images, as well as suggestions for strengthening the writing of the manuscript.

Once you have uploaded all your draft chapters, text, and images, the entire draft manuscript will be sent for technical review by subject-matter experts. These are often the same individuals who reviewed your proposal, but not necessarily. After all reviews are in, your project manager will send you the reviewers' comments.

Step 6: Submitting your final manuscript
You should consider all reviewers' comments, especially those echoed by more than one reviewer and incorporate those that will strengthen the manuscript. You must address all file format and quality issues conveyed by your project manager.

Upload your final manuscript after you are completely satisfied with the text, and after all figures and tables are finalized and all permissions are received.

More details about submitting your manuscript are available in the author guidelines.

Click here for a checklist to use in submitting your final manuscript

Step 7: Publishing
It generally takes 6-9 months to publish the average manuscript once SAE receives it in publishable form. When the project manager receives your manuscript, it is checked for completeness and that it adheres to the author guidelines. Final manuscripts that are incomplete or do not adhere to the author guidelines are returned to the author for rework.

Once a manuscript is ready for production, the project manager meets with production and promotion staff to discuss the features of the manuscript, set production schedules, and discuss potential markets for the book and promotion activities. You will be advised of key dates once the production schedule is set.

An editor then begins to edit your manuscript and you will have an opportunity to review the edited text files and address any questions from the editor and make minor corrections. After the text is finalized, an artist lays out the text and graphics and a designer creates the cover.

You will also be given an opportunity to see what the cover of the book will look like, and may be asked to comment on the image that is selected to be used in the cover design from a technical (not graphic design) standpoint.

The laid-out book is sent for indexing. Production files are prepared and printed books and ebooks are made available. SAE books are sent for copyright and accession to the Library of Congress.

Details about the publishing process are available in the author guidelines.

More information
We'll be glad to discuss SAE's book publishing program in more detail with you. Contact us at:
Phone: 724-776-4841
Fax: 724-776-9765
Mail: SAE International
Book Publishing
400 Commonwealth Drive
Warrendale, PA 15096-0001