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Chapter 3: Book Proposal Guidelines

NASW Press publishes high-quality professional books of relevance to social workers and other professionals in social welfare and the human services. We welcome proposals for books on a variety of topics and seek submissions for several different types of publications. In general, NASW Press focuses on publishing books that contribute to the advancement of knowledge and practice in social work.

NASW Press publishes five major types of books:

  • scholarly works
  • textbooks
  • reference works
  • practice books
  • guide books
Authors are invited to submit proposals that fit any of these categories.
Scholarly Works

One of the foci of NASW Press is the publication of scholarly works that capture high-level expertise that contributes to the core knowledge of the profession. These works are based on sound theories supported by rigorous research applicable to education, practice, and policy.


NASW Press books are widely used as required and recommended reading in schools of social work. To be accepted, a proposal should demonstrate exacting scholarship, good writing, and the potential to fill an existing need in the field.

Reference Works

NASW Press is recognized as the premier publisher of social work reference works, including the highly regarded Social Work Dictionary and The Encyclopedia of Social Work (the 20th edition of which was co-published with Oxford University Press). We encourage proposals for other reference works, particularly those that would advance social work education and practice. To be accepted, proposed books must meet the highest standards of expertise and scholarship and be a significant contribution to our unparalleled reference works collection.

Practice Books

Designed for the busy professional, practice books are concise, evidenced-based, and accessible. The finished product should be relatively short and visually appealing. Strong preference will be given to manuscripts that are distinguished by innovation and creativity. “How-to” manuscripts are particularly well suited for this category.

Guide Books

NASW Press seeks proposals for pocket guides and study guides including, but not limited to, the areas of credentialing, licensing, and other standardized exams. Proposals for guide books must demonstrate a clear, strong potential for use and instruction.


To adequately review a book proposal, NASW Press needs succinct information about the book’s purpose, the target audience, and the author’s qualifications to write the book. For this reason, we ask all prospective authors to submit a completed NASW Press Book Proposal Packet (Word document). This brief packet includes questions about the book’s authors, content, and market, as well as detailed information about the required attachments (table of contents/outline, sample chapter, and curriculum vitae).

Please send one electronic copy, via e-mail, to Rachel Meyers ( Please type “Book Proposal Packet” in the subject line.

NASW will not review the following:

  • fiction or other materials intended for a general audience
  • dissertations or master’s theses*
  • curriculum guides for schools
  • “readers” or other collections of previously published materials
  • general conference proceedings.

*Doctoral dissertations or master’s theses must be reworked to meet the criteria for a book before they will be considered for publication.

Review Process

Proposals received at NASW Press are entered into our automated database, and an acknowledgment is emailed to the author. The Publisher and the Acquisitions Editor review all proposals to determine that they meet the basic criteria for the book program. The proposals are then reviewed by the Book Committee, which decides whether they merit formal review. The chair of the Book Committee and at least two reviewers read and rate proposals; they consider whether the proposal

  • demonstrates a contribution to social work knowledge
  • meets NASW Press standards for presentation
  • is consistent, the concept clear, and the documentation precise
  • is readable
  • appears to have a sufficient potential audience
  • contains timely material
  • is innovative, of professional significance, and of broad interest
  • has comparative materials available
  • contains subject matter relating to NASW priorities.
The Book Committee

The Book Committee articulates policy and reviews proposals. The chair and all members of the Book Committee must be published authors who are members in good standing of NASW. Book Committee members read and rate manuscripts, advise NASW Press staff on content, and make recommendations for publication. In addition, NASW Press invites published authors with strong subject expertise to review completed manuscripts.


If the proposal is accepted for publication, the author will receive the Book Committee’s feedback, which may include requests to adapt or change the manuscript as necessary. Should the author agree to revise and resubmit according to the reviewer’s comments, a binding contract will be extended.

Author Royalties

NASW Press pays competitive royalties to authors. The standard royalty schedule is as follows:

  • first 3,000 copies—10 percent of net sales
  • 3,001 to 6,000 copies—12.5 percent of net sales
  • over 6,000 copies—15 percent of net sales.

If there is more than one author or editor, royalties are divided on a percentage basis to be determined by the authors. Royalties are based on net annual sales and are paid within 90 days of the end of NASW’s fiscal year, which ends June 30. The Press does not pay royalties to authors of articles in a collective work of original articles.

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