Melbourne Publishing Group


Melbourne Publishing Group has an exclusive publishing program under its Circa imprint, which features some of the best general and academic non-fiction books in Australia. To submit a proposal for possible publication, please email or write to us with the following information:

> A brief outline of your project, describing its subject and scope.

> Details of any illustrations, photos or other images to be used.

> Your view of the potential market and readership for the work.

> Brief details about your background and experience in the subject.

We will advise you as soon as we can about whether your project is suitable for inclusion in the Circa program and whether we are interested in taking your proposal further. We may then ask to see part or all of the manuscript and we may ask other questions about the potential market.

If and when your project is accepted for publication, the manuscript and other material for it should be prepared in accordance with the Circa ‘house’ style outlined below. 

> Our style

Publishing houses often tie themselves in all kinds of knots trying to tell authors exactly how to write and prepare their manuscripts. We don’t do that. We try to keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, but we do have some basic guidelines for you to follow when you are preparing and submitting work to us.

First, we recommend you equip yourself with a copy of the latest (sixth) edition of the Commonwealth of Australia Style Manual, published by Wiley Australia, and available from booksellers everywhere (Pb $44.95, ISBN 978-0-7016-3648-7 ).


The Style Manual is useful not just for the specific advice it gives on editorial matters but also for the information it provides about many other aspects of the publishing process. We’ll be happy if you stick with the advice given in the Style Manual when writing your text but, generally, we want work submitted to us to be consistent throughout in terms of spelling and in the way numbers and dates are presented.

Having said that, we have a few ‘house’ preferences, mainly because we have found authors do like some guidance on certain variable elements. These preferences are minimal: for example, we like to use -ise rather than -ize suffixes (including organisation) and we prefer to spell-out World War One and Two, rather than I or 1, or II or 2.

Numbers should appear without commas up to 9999 and with commas thereafter. In the text itself please spell out numbers up to ninety-nine and present them as figures thereafter. For example: eighty-six, 257. Having said that, measurements and some percentages are often better expressed with figures for the sake of clarity. Dates must always be shown as day/month/year, with no ‘th’, ‘rd’ or ‘st’ following the day. For example: 23 March 2001, 4 May 2003. Please use per cent, not percent or % unless it is in a table.

Please use two hyphens for long dashes (em rules) with one space on both sides and one hyphen for short dashes (en rules) in spans of figures (numbers and dates), with no space on either side. For example: ‘Henry Bloggs — lifeboat captain at the time — was awarded the gold medal for bravery.’; ‘The 1914–18 war never really ended for many traumatised soldiers.’

We also like single quote marks for quotes within the text and double quote marks for quotes within quotes. Ellipses must be [space] dot [space] dot [space] dot [space], ( . . . ) not the fixed ‘character set’ found in word processing software.

A complete style checklist (in PDF) of these and other Circa preferences can be downloaded for easy reference.

The manuscript

Manuscript pages should be printed-out on one side of A4 size sheets of white paper. The type should be double-spaced in a standard typeface such as Palatino, Times, or Ariel and in not less than 12 point, with margins of at least 3 cm (30 mm) on both left and right sides of the page, and with margins of 3 cms at the top and bottom. Leave all of the text unjustified with no fancy formatting, please, because we’ll just have to undo it all for the typesetting process.

Pages should be numbered consecutively from start to finish of the whole manuscript. You can do this by hand if you are not confident that your word processing software will do it accurately. There is no need to separate chapters or parts or place text pages in folders, binders or clips. Word processing files should be burned on a CD with each chapter in a separate file and sent with the manuscript. Please make sure the files and the printout you send correspond and are both the latest version of your work. Always keep a clearly marked and dated back-up copy of your files.

Collected works

If you are involved in producing a book with contributions from a number of writers, extreme care must be taken to ensure contributors apply consistent editorial styles in the first place and make necessary revisions and/or queries expeditiously. Not to do so will invariably slow the progress of your book during the editorial phase and may result in missed publication dates.

Compilers of collected works must also ensure they have cleared copyright issues with all contributors and that each contributor has, in turn, cleared copyright for material appearing in their own contribution.

Final is final

Finished manuscripts should be just that: finished. They should also contain all the preliminary matter, such as a contents page (with 00 for book pages), an illustrations list, an introduction, the acknowledgments, and all the illustrative material. Photos and pictures should not be stuck or stapled onto paper or card, or written on the back with oil- or water-based ink. Importantly, please do not assume your scanned masterpieces will be acceptable — there are often technical problems, so always discuss presentation of pre-scanned illustrative matter with your contact at MPG first.

We don’t want things to arrive damaged so care must be taken to wrap the parcel as securely as possible. Check with your MPG contact about the correct postal address for your package.

> Thesis conversion

When work proposed for publication is derived from an original thesis, care must be taken to ensure that all the usual requirements for academic styles of writing are reassessed and/or removed. For example, when you are preparing a work for a general readership, it is not always necessary to summarise your argument at the start of each chapter and then summarise it again at the end. Neither is it necessary to repeatedly use terms such as ‘I will now argue that . . .’ or ‘It can be demonstrated by . . .’.

Consideration must also be given to whether the copious number of references and notes contained in a thesis are absolutely necessary in a more general work or, conversely, whether the information contained in some endnotes would be more useful to the reader in the body of the text itself.

> Copyright

Authors are expected to have cleared all copyright matters in work (text or images) being reproduced from elsewhere before editing commences. The world of copyright can be confusing for many new to publishing and so we recommend a visit to the excellent website of the Australian Copyright Council, which provides guidance on all the most commonly asked questions.

> Indexing

The key to a good index is to include all the references a reader of the book may reasonably expect to find in the index! Further information about preparing an index for publication can be found in a downloadable PDF Guide to indexing. In general, MPG authors are expected to compile the index for their own book or at least arrange for someone else to do it under their supervision.

> The publishing process

For your guidance, we have below the basic stages necessary to publish a Circa book. Pleasecontact us if you require more information about any particular aspect:

> Proposal and initial discussion

> Non-acceptance or further discussions

> Contract

> Finished manuscript delivered

> Editing and possible revisions

> Text and cover design

> Typesetting and proofreading

> Printing and binding

> Delivery of finished copies

> Publicity and marketing

> Advance orders from booksellers

> Publication

> Follow-up marketing and stock monitoring

Download Style checklist (coming soon)

Download Guide to indexing (coming soon)

© Melbourne Publishing Group Pty Ltd, 2006