This page presents general guidelines for preparing and submitting materials for the NCEO's publications. Email NCEO Publications Director Scott Rodrick at with any comments or questions.

We publish dozens of books, plus an ever-expanding library of issue briefs. If you are not familiar with our publications, you might peruse our publications page (link opens in new window). Most books are both print and digital (PDF) form. We also distribute certain publications on Amazon (both in print form and on Kindle), the Barnes & Noble Nook platform, the Apple iBook Store, and other ebook platforms.

Structure and Style

Preliminary considerations: As explained below, do not use color in graphics or tables (we don't print in color). Do not send PDFs (we need a word-processing document we can edit). Tables created within Microsoft Word are fine, but if you have any figures such as bar charts, etc., we need the original files (from Excel, PowerPoint, etc.); note that a bar chart or other graphic created entirely within Word may be unusable. Avoid self-promotion; if you are a service provider, the reader should only find that out by reading your bio, not your article.

General tone: Because our readers range from lawyers to business executives to students, we try to deal with technical issues in a way that makes the material as understandable as possible to the nonspecialist without "dumbing it down." At the same time, because many readers are specialists, you should supply legal and other citations where appropriate (in general, citations should be footnoted). If you are a service provider in this field, please avoid self-promotion and focus on the topic, not what your firm offers.Stay away from phrasing like "our clients prefer," "our firm successfully negotiated," etc. Write about the topic, not about yourself. If you are a service provider in the field, the reader will learn about it from your bio, not from the main body of your text.

Length: Articles and book chapters are usually from 5 to 30 single-spaced pages (or about 2,500 to 15,000 words) but might be shorter or longer. Issue briefs are usually about 20 to 30 pages long when typeset (which may differ from the length they take up in a word-processing document.) Ask your contact person at the NCEO for further guidance.

Structure: Your submission should be well-structured and organized with first- and (as needed) second-level headings. Do not use too many heading levels. It should end with some sort of conclusion or summary.

Formatting: Since we will edit and typeset your material, it is not important what font, margins, page breaks, etc., you use.

  • Don't put text in text boxes. Similarly, only use a table for tabular material. If you try to lay out your page with colored text boxes and the like, it just increases our workload because we'll just have to remove them.
  • Avoid typing headings in ALL CAPS; we will usually revert it to regular text.
  • There's no need to include a table of contents since we will generate that automatically.
  • However, we prefer it if headings are assigned heading styles in Word ("heading 1," "heading 2") or some other consistent style so we can use that consistency to assign formatting, generate tables of contents, etc. At a minimum, it should be readily apparent to us what is intended as a heading level 1, what is intended as a heading level 2, etc.
  • Don't include graphics unless they are necessary (see below for guidelines for including graphics); this is not a PowerPoint presentation.

Submitting Your Document(s)

Word-processing format: We use Word 2013 but can open various other formats. At any rate, do send your document as a word-processing document, not a PDF.

Explicitly specify author name(s): This may seem obvious, but sometimes people want their names spelled a certain way (Thomas vs. Tom, etc.), or they have a coauthor but forget to state that. So please spell out the author name(s) under the title.

One-paragraph bio: Include a one-paragraph biography for each author; this will appear at the end of the publication. Do not include contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers.

If you rewrite it, work from our edited copy: If you submit something for publication, we are likely to start editing it. If you decide to rewrite it before it is published, check with us first so to see whether we have an edited version that you should work from. In other words, once you submit it, only one person should be editing it at a time so we don't have to pick through multiple versions later and try to merge them.

Graphics and tabular material: Your material must be editable and suitable for conversion into a print publication, so the following guidelines apply:

  • Include original files for embedded material: If you embed anything in your document that is not fully editable from that document, we need the original file. Example: if you embed a table that was pasted in non-editable form from a spreadsheet, we need that spreadsheet so we can format it.
  • Use black and white, not color: Our materials are printed in black and white (except for the covers), so if you include a graph, etc., it should not have any colors. Either you or we will have to convert it.
  • Print-quality graphics are required: If you include low-resolution graphics (whether they are low-resolution screenshots, equation images, or whatever), they will be unusable in their current state for anything that is commercially printed. Where appropriate, we will work with you to prepare suitable images.
  • Every table, figure, etc., must be (1) numbered and (2) referenced in the text by a number. Do not write things like "the table below," because your document will not published as a Word document or Web page, which consist of one long flow of text, tables, and graphics. Instead, a typeset publication may, for example, place the table on another page, perhaps rotating it to fit. So we need to reference the number in the text ("See table 2") and put that number in the heading above the table ("Table 2. Effect of....").

Editing and Review

Editing: Like any professional publisher, we will edit your work as appropriate. We follow the Chicago Manual of Style in most respects; it is the most standard guide in the field. For most legal citations we follow the Blue Book, as slightly modified for common practice among practitioners.

No absolute guarantee of publication: We cannot always guarantee that we will publish what you submit; there may be times when we must reject a piece or postpone its publication.

Copyright, Complimentary Copies, and Reprints

Copyright: We do not ask you to assign us your copyright, so you retain the right to take the original text you wrote and use it somewhere. (However, you do not have the rights to the edited and typeset publication we create from your contributions.) We do request that you credit its original publication by us if you use your text elsewhere.

Complimentary copies: As a nonprofit operating on a limited budget, we cannot compensate you for your contributions to our publications. However, we will send you a complimentary copy or two of your publication.

Reprints: You can order reprints of an article or chapter, or of an entire issue brief or book that you authored or coauthored. We will customize the cover to include elements such as your contact information, logo, photo, and so on. Before proceeding, we will have you inspect and approve PDFs of the proposed cover and will provide price quotes. The minimum quantity is generally 100. It generally takes several weeks or more to get reprints printed and shipped to you.