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Guidelines for Authors

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.

Submitting Your Document(s)

Word-processing format: We use Microsoft Office 2016 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:

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.