Publishing with the Center for Western Studies

Harvest of Words

The Center for Western Studies (CWS), a regional studies program of Augustana College, publishes books of enduring worth about the Northern Plains. Book publishing is one of our educational programs. We prefer to publish by commission or by referral. For example, we might commission an author to write a book on a topic of particular interest to us, as in the case of A New South Dakota History, or we might be commissioned by an organization, such as the South Dakota Farmers Union, for whom we published The Family Farmers’ Advocate: The South Dakota Farmers Union, 1914-2000.

Another avenue available to authors is to have their manuscript referred to us by an acknowledged authority in the field, as was done with Memory Songs and The Bull Rider’s Advice. In this case, the author asks the specialist to read the manuscript and contact us on the author’s behalf, recommending that we consider the work and providing reasons for the referral.

Fort Sisseton

Once we have received the referral and additional materials described below, which constitute a Submission File, our staff will review the file and determine whether the project should be considered by the CWS Publications Committee. If the determination is positive, the Publications Committee will discuss the manuscript and decide to whom it should be sent for peer review. No action will be taken on the file until the in-house and peer review process is complete, which can take several months. We will then contact the author.

In addition to obtaining the specialist’s referral, the author should send a letter to CWS summarizing the subject of the manuscript (abstract), explaining why the approach taken is valuable or in some way adds to the body of knowledge on that topic. The cover letter should also indicate who will be referring the manuscript to us and provide the endorser’s position or expertise. The author should also submit an outline of the entire manuscript and three sample chapters.

We would also like to know whether the manuscript has been submitted elsewhere or is currently under consideration by another press. Please provide a statement about the likely market for this manuscript, indicating what need this book would fill. Unfortunately, people do not buy books simply because they have been published.

A word about royalties:  Undertaking a publishing project constitutes a major investment on the part of the Center for Western Studies. A project that exceeds available resources will need to be underwritten by additional funding, such as grants. The author is compensated for his or her hard work only from sales, minus retail and distributor discounts, and usually on a royalty basis of 6-7% of revenue above cost. Book publishing is a business, even at academic presses. Thank you for your interest in publishing with the Center for Western Studies.

Submission materials should be sent to:
Dr. Harry F. Thompson
Executive Director, The Center for Western Studies
Augustana College
2001 S. Summit Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57197
harry.thompson@augie.edu