Publishing Your Book with SIAM
Components of Your Manuscript
SIAM publishes authored booksand edited volumes. Each type of text should have certain components. Please take note of which components are crucial for your particular project.
4.1 Authored Books
Each author writes with his or her own writing style, or voice, and our editorial staff makes every attempt not to change it. However, we do have some general guidelines geared toward improving your book’s readability and usability, and we ask all authors to follow them to the extent possible.
The preface is one of the most important parts of your book because it explains your intentions in writing the book, which is important for postpublication reviewers and potential buyers. You should write the preface in the first person and use a reader-friendly tone. Keep in mind as you are writing that your preface should make your book sound appealing to readers so they will want to purchase and use it.
In the preface, clearly identify your primary audience and note what they can hope to gain by reading your book. Tell why you choose to write the book and why you feel the topic is important. If you are writing on a new topic, explain it in simple terms. If you purposefully omitted topics, explain why. Describe the book’s special features and material that cannot be found elsewhere.
If your book can be used as a textbook, use part of the preface to state which courses it is meant for and how it could be used. Be sure to list prerequisites and to point readers to any supplementary material that is available electronically.
You should also describe your style of notation and explain why you are using that style. It is important to use the notation that is accepted in your field so your text will be accessible to the widest audience.
At the end of your preface you may include grant information and/or acknowledgments.
Sometimes an introductory chapter is appropriate, for example, in textbooks or particularly long books. In these cases, the introduction’s key purpose is to outline the book’s contents for readers. Before you begin the main portion of the book, you need to inform your readers about what information will be presented, how it will be presented, and why it will be presented in that way. Below is a description of the type of information that introductory chapters should contain. Otherwise, this material should be placed in the preface.
At the start of the introduction, you should explain the central topic of your book and give background information on it. It is important to relate the topic to other mathematical areas and to mention recent trends as well as new methods or techniques that you have used. Remember also to include the limitations of these methods or techniques.
Then, provide an overview of the book’s main features, how it is organized, and how readers can use it most effectively. Give the rationale for the selection of content and choice of organizational style, and provide a one-sentence description of each chapter’s contents.
Mention to your readers if you have provided real-life applications of the material in your book or if you have included problems, exercises, and the like. Discuss the hardware and software systems issues that you address or that are used in conjunction with your book.
4.1.3 Main Text
There are many good books that contain tips on effective writing. One we highly recommend is Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, Second Edition by Nicholas J. Higham (SIAM, 1998).
Here are some things to keep in mind while writing:
- Determine the readership level to which you are writing and keep it consistent.
- Keep your notation and reference style consistent throughout the book.
- Review your preface periodically to make sure you have not strayed from your goals.
The SIAM copy editors will check your text for typos, grammatical errors, mathematical and grammatical inconsistencies (hyphenation, abbreviations, punctuation, etc.), and misspellings. They will try not to change your writing style.
SIAM’s recommended reference styles are explained in the Organization and Numbering part of section 5.2.2. However, it is also acceptable for you to pick a style that is accepted in your field and use it consistently throughout your book. Your references should be as complete and up-to-date as possible.
4.1.5 Supplemental Readings
Suggestions for additional reading are an asset to any publication. They can provide readers with a wealth of information. As with references, the information you provide about each source should be as complete as possible.
An appendix includes information that is essential but does not fit comfortably within the main part of the text. The most common use of an appendix is to present a detailed analysis that would distract the reader if it were given at the point where the results of the analysis were needed. You could also include the following in an appendix: detailed proofs, tables, code, detailed numerical results, or lists of supplemental readings. (See section 5.2.4 for additional information.)
A good index greatly enhances the value of a book and is an important aid to the reader. We strongly encourage you to read the SIAM indexing guidelines, available from your acquisitions editor, before beginning the index. (See section 5.2.4 for additional information.)
Indexing Guidelines [PDF 2.08MB]
4.1.8 Supplemental Electronic Material
SIAM can accommodate supplemental electronic material for your book. Software, datasets, solutions manuals, etc., that enhance the value of your book can be put on the Web and hosted by either you or SIAM. You should discuss these ancillaries with your acquisitions editor prior to preparation of the publishing agreement. Files for such material should be submitted with your manuscript.
4.2 Edited Volumes
If you wish to propose an edited volume the table of contents that you submit with your book proposal should list each chapter and the contributor(s) who have agreed or are likely to write each one. As the editor of such a volume, you will need to set a consistent style of notation and format for citing references for all contributors and will work closely with the contributors and SIAM to create a cohesive volume.