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Prospective authors

Guidelines for prospective authors

We are always looking to develop new guides to the best walking, trekking, mountaineering and cycling regions of the world, and to keep our existing guides up to date. Our purpose remains as it ever was, to provide the best guides for walkers, trekkers, mountaineers and cyclists. Best means the best regions and routes as well as the best possible guides.

There are a few questions to think through if you are considering writing a guide.

Firstly, the region, area and activity involved. What is it about the region that you love and enjoy so much? If it is not a well-known and popular area, is it worth visiting? What makes it so good for that particular activity? Is it special, and why?

Secondly, who is the guide for? Is there a need for it? If it is a new area, is it great walking, trekking or mountaineering? If it is a well-known area, does the planned guide add something that existing books do not?

Thirdly, are you equipped to write this guide? Are you organised, do you write well, love photography, have a passion for maps and an understanding of GPX and computer mapping. Can you bring the whole project together? Is the area one you love and know intimately? Are you capable of being the best possible author for this guide?

Fourthly, do you think there is likely to be enough demand for the guide? We don’t always make decisions on which books to publish on purely commercial grounds, but a guidebook is a lot of detailed work so knowing enough people will want it is an important factor for you as author and Cicerone as publisher.

If your answers to these questions are positive, then please do get in touch.

A few points.

Firstly, we only publish guides in our field of walking, trekking and mountaineering, and cycling. We are not looking to expand into other fields. We believe in concentrating on our strengths.

Secondly, we are not necessarily looking for the most popular book. There are literally thousands of things we could publish and sell a great deal of. We are looking for the best guidebook, the best area. This is our strength and our reputation. Our authors, customers and users expect it from us.

Thirdly, if it is a really great potential guide, we will generally move heaven and earth to make the project work, somehow.

The starting point is a synopsis. This should show us enough about the project to be able to form a decision on whether we want to explore it with you or otherwise. It shouldn’t be too long, say 1-2 pages will do to get us thinking.

The synopsis should include:

  • A brief outline of the project
  • Statement of who the book is for and why it is needed
  • Background to yourself, your knowledge of the region, and the skills you bring to the project
  • Draft contents of the book

Please email your proposal (with a synopsis in an attached file) to or send a letter to:
Joe Williams
Cicerone Press
Juniper House
Murley Moss
Oxenholme Road
United Kingdom

Our decision about the project will be based on a range of factors, including:

  • Our existing publishing plans (we have a certain number of books we can do each year; after this we probably start to take risks with the quality of our work, as well as exhausting ourselves).
  • Other guides to the area that we have already (is the planned book complementary or does it cut across an existing or planned project?).
  • The quality of the proposal we have received, both the area, the details of the guide and our initial view on your ability to create the materials for a great guide.

If we are interested we will ask you for more information and discuss with you. If we are not intending to go ahead then we will let you know as soon as possible. We will acknowledge we have your plan straight away, but sometimes it will take us a couple of weeks to mull things over. Even if we are quiet, we are considering your ideas.

If we like the project, then we will want to explore things further with you, look in great detail at the plan, and agree the contents, word count and illustration plans for the guide. With new authors we generally like to see a draft of the first 1000 words from the introduction, the bit where you get to "wax lyrical" about the book, plus a sample route description, maps and photographs to see how this comes together.

This then amounts to a final synopsis, which becomes the plan for the guide.

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