Marketing Information for Authors

As a Chicago author you are already familiar with the procedures and schedules of the Editorial and Manuscript Editing Departments at the University of Chicago Press. Here the Marketing Department would like to provide you with a brief overview of what we will be doing for your forthcoming book.


The Marketing Department encompasses several different areas: publicity and promotions; sales (both domestic and international); direct marketing; exhibits; advertising; and online campaigns. We conduct a full range of marketing efforts worldwide from our home office in Chicago and satellite operations in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. If you have specific questions about the work of any aspect of the marketing department or any of the topics covered here, please ask your promotions manager. He or she will be your primary contact in the Marketing Department throughout the publication process and beyond.


Each of the areas within marketing is described in the sections following. Because you will have the most contact with your promotions manager and his or her activities, you will find more information about that department here.


The publicity and promotions staff coordinates the efforts of the other marketing sections and is responsible for many different aspects of marketing your book, from preparing jacket or cover copy to making sure that appropriate reviewers and media receive copies of your book. The procedures employed by this staff, and your role in them, are described below.

Author Questionnaire

Your promotions manager will provide you with a questionnaire that we send to all our authors. This questionnaire asks for basic contact information—including phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and your travel itinerary for the near future—as well as any suggestions you might have regarding various topics such as the best publications to reach your scholarly audiences, blogs that might take interest in your research, and media contacts that you may already have.


We use this information to supplement every aspect of the marketing process, from forming an advertising plan to asking other scholars to write promotional statements to selecting the meetings and conferences where we will exhibit your book. So please be as exhaustive as possible when filling out the questionnaire. A critical marketing tool, the questionnaire goes to many different departments here at the Press and the information you supply is invaluable to us. 

The Seasonal Catalog

Like most other publishers, Chicago publishes two “lists” of new books a year, for the spring (February to July) and fall (August to January) publishing seasons. These catalogs are mailed globally to bookstores; reviewers; apposite columnists, bloggers, and broadcast media; libraries; and book wholesalers. The seasonal catalog is a sales and publicity tool for the trade. It is not aimed at individual customers such as your colleagues. Its primary audience is bookstore buyers and book review editors. As a result, it is necessary that the description of your book in this trade catalog be written for a general audience not necessarily conversant in the language of your discipline.


Based in part on the information and description that you provide in the Author Questionnaire, promotions managers prepare descriptive copy for your book in September/October for our spring catalog and in February/March for our fall catalog. This copy must conform to strict space constraints, and it is circulated to your editor and manuscript editor, as well as to the sales, promotions, and marketing directors. After it has been revised based on in-house comments, your promotions manager will send it to you for your suggestions. Once a version is agreed upon by all, it becomes the basis for the jacket or cover copy (and it can then be revised for a more specialized audience) and for potential advertisements.


The seasonal catalog is produced under a tight deadline, so please be sure to give your promotions manager an accurate idea of where you can be reached quickly during the “catalog seasons” mentioned above. We would also appreciate a quick turnaround of the copy once it is sent to you.

Pre-publication Work


The publicity staff develops individual promotional campaigns for each book. These begin well in advance of the book’s publication. Approximately four to six months before publication, and once your book is typeset, promotions managers copy the page proofs to send out as advance copies to reviewers. The number of advance copies sent out varies depending on the size and nature of the book’s audience: for a general interest book, we might prepare “bound galleys” which look similar to paperback books; for a more specialized book, the page proofs function as advance reading copies. These bound galleys or page proofs are sent out months before the book’s publication to professional publications such as Publishers Weekly and to large media outlets that would benefit from an early copy of the book to prepare a timely review.


At this point promotions managers often send out copies of the page proofs to solicit advance comments that can be used on covers and jackets. In the Author Questionnaire we ask you to suggest people who might endorse your book. The more complete the information you provide (e-mail and street addresses, the level of familiarity of the potential reviewer with the project), the more successful we can be in procuring “blurbs” for your book.


Copy for the cover or jacket, including the blurbs, will also be sent to you for your input. At this stage we design your book’s cover or jacket, a process that includes the input of the Editorial, Design, and Marketing Departments. If you have ideas or feelings about the design of your book, please get in touch with your acquisitions editor.


Chicago’s books are well-represented in major media outlets in the U.S. and throughout the English-speaking world. Each season the promotions director and publicity manager make personal calls to major review and news media, both print and broadcast, in New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These meetings introduce these media to forthcoming books and help us further shape publicity plans. Chicago also has a publicist in the United Kingdom who makes calls on major media and review outlets in England. Please understand that our contacts at major review outlets do not appreciate unsolicited calls from authors about whether their books will be reviewed. Contacting a major book review editor or broadcast producer about your book often does more harm than good. Any inquiries of this nature should be directed to your individual promotions manager.

Important Dates

You will first receive your book in its finished state from the Editorial Department. This advance copy is one of the first books off the press, and it does not mean your book is universally available in retail stores or through online booksellers. There are several dates you should be aware of at this stage of the publication process.

Delivery Date

The delivery date, which follows the arrival of your advance copy by approximately two weeks, is important for internal Press procedures. This is the date that our distribution center receives the entire shipment of books from the printer. When your book “delivers,” our warehouse will confirm that the shipment is complete and perform other quality control checks on the books.

Release Date

The release date follows the delivery date by about a week. It is assigned by our distribution center and is a signal to the Marketing Department that the book is now in inventory and orders are being filled. After your book “releases,” promotions managers provide the distribution center with a list of reviewers and media to which a copy of the book should be sent (this is called the “review list”).

Publication Date

The publication date is assigned by your promotions manager and follows your book’s release date by four to six weeks. You will find this date listed in the seasonal catalog and advertisements as it is your book’s official “birthday.” We allow this time after the book’s release to stock bookstores, fill orders, and allow book review editors time to check their reviews against the finished book. When reviews begin to appear, we want to make sure that your book is in bookstores and available online.


Between the release date and the publication date, you will receive a packet of information from your promotions manager that describes the individually tailored marketing plan for your book.


Our sales force includes a staff of in-house sales representatives plus a number of commission groups with sales offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, South Africa, and South America. They begin to present books to bookstores, wholesalers, libraries, and Internet retailers four to six months prior to publication date. National chains such as Borders and Barnes & Noble buy centrally for their individual stores. Chicago’s sales director calls on these central buying offices several times each season, and our sales staff keeps in constant contact with them. We encourage the national accounts to restock, we provide them with accurate information, and we apprise them of upcoming major publicity. Because these national accounts buy and distribute centrally, we cannot control inventory, title information errors, and shelving decisions in individual stores. When errors come to our attention, we address them through our central contacts.


Internet booksellers such as,, and B& retain control of category listings, sales rankings, and editorial content. We at Chicago work closely with category editors, but final decisions about placement, illustrations, and features are made by these companies, not by us.


Be careful not to read too much into the various sales rankings produced by the internet booksellers. We, and other publishers, tend to field many inquiries about what it means for a book to jump, say, from #10,000 to #300 in these rankings. While such a jump is always good news, it is not always significant in the total number of books sold. While we use the ranking systems to judge how a book is performing, we also use a number of other indicators to judge a book’s sales trajectory. We simply suggest that you not put too much emphasis, either positive or negative, into internet rankings alone.


Chicago’s list of e-books is growing quickly. All new books for which we have the rights to publish electronically will be available in e-book format at the same time they become available in print. Chicago sells e-books through its own website as well as through library vendors such as NetLibrary, Ebrary, and Dawson and commercial vendors such as Sony, B&N Nook, Kobo, and Amazon Kindle to name just a few. Unless there are permissions issues with its content, Chicago will publish your book digitally as well as in print.


The Direct Marketing department carries out mail, e-mail, and online sales campaigns. Intended to promote current as well as strong backlist titles, these campaigns ensure that books with individual sales potential are continually publicized and introduced to new audiences. Announcements from the Direct Marketing department are posted to Twitter: @UCPbooks.


Our major direct-to-consumer sales campaigns include:

The Reader’s Catalog

The Reader’s Catalog is produced annually, usually in the Spring. It features newer titles accessible for the general reader—books published in the previous year as well as books forthcoming in the next few months. The catalog is mailed to our own list of book buyers and lists acquired from other sources. The Reader’s Catalog is available online as well.

Subject Catalogs and Brochures

Depending on the books scheduled for a season, the Press produces a series of subject-specific catalogs or brochures. These promote current and forthcoming titles in a particular academic field and related areas as well as a selection of active backlist books. Subject catalogs are mailed to book buyers, faculty, scholars, and specialists and professionals in related fields, and they are distributed at relevant academic meetings. All of our discipline catalogs are available online.

Text-examination or Faculty-sales Brochures

For paperback books with a high likelihood of being used as classroom texts, the Press mails and/or e-mails information to specialized faculty lists encouraging requests for examination copies. Additional related books of high interest to these audiences are often included, although the focus is on those one or two books with the greatest potential. The Press provides print examination copies and, for most books, digital examination copies. We also have an online list of books suitable for courses.


The Advertising Department is responsible for all domestic and international University of Chicago Press ads in both scholarly and general-interest publications in print and online. An advertising plan for your book is developed and finalized close to its publication date. Your promotions manager will provide you with a list of publications in which we will advertise your book. Your book will not be advertised until it is in stores and available for sale. Any questions about the advertising of your book should be directed to your promotions manager.


The Exhibits Department ensures our attendance at major academic meetings in the United States and often abroad, coordinates the displays and sales procedures of these meetings, and also arranges for our books to be exhibited and sold at meetings that we as a Press cannot attend. Any questions about exhibiting your book at particular meetings should be directed to your promotions manager.


The University of Chicago Press attends major trade shows including Book Expo America, the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the London Book Fair.


The distinction between print and online media has rapidly disappeared. Pursuant to that, we aggressively promote our books via our website, our publicity blog, outreach to other blogs, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. If your busy schedule permits, we encourage you to establish a blog, Facebook page, and Twitter account—and update them regularly with news, links, and original content related to your book and your ongoing research in the field. We’ll then link to you on our own publicity blog, friend you, and follow you. That way, we can share and further disseminate your content to our followers and vice versa. The Press is currently followed and befriended online by thousands of scholars, media, researchers, and readers from around the globe, and is linked to frequently by other bloggers, online publications, and media aggregators. Bare minimum, we encourage you to join Facebook and Twitter—and to follow us there.


To follow us on the Web, visit us at


To friend us on Facebook, visit


To follow us on Twitter, sign up at


Along with traditional tools such as the Library of Congress CIP program, Chicago participates in online search and discover programs such as Google Book Search and Amazon’s Search-inside-the-Book, to name just a few, in order to make it easy and efficient for scholars and interested readers to locate your book.



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