Write a Book for NCTM

  • NCTM books present new and different approaches to develop and support best practices in mathematics education. Do you have an idea? NCTM seeks authors with innovative ideas for books that will support teachers and the mathematics education community, whether you want to develop your idea in a book proposal or you've already turned it into a completed manuscript. See NCTM's online catalog www.nctm.org/store for the full array of current NCTM publications.

    What to Write  

    Submissions for publication by NCTM should represent approaches that are new and different from those found in other publications on a similar topic. Materials published by NCTM should broaden the professional development of its members by either explaining tested techniques and ideas or providing frameworks for daily activity in the mathematics classroom. NCTM is also interested in materials that use emerging and current technologies.

    The Publishing Committee (PC) of NCTM approves all additions to the NCTM book program. Ideally, authors would submit a proposal with an outline and sample chapters first and a completed manuscript after the PC has commented on the proposal. If the manuscript is already complete, the proposal form should accompany it.

    When preparing your material or proposal, attention should be given to:

    1. Purpose: What is the intended purpose of this manuscript? What do you expect teachers to do as a result of working with your material?
    2. Audience: Who is the audience? Is this audience consistent throughout the document?
    3. Voice: Are the tone and language used appropriate for the intended audience?
    4. Topic: What is the source of your idea? Have you tried it with students? Did you check the literature?
    5. Appearance: What will your material look like? Consider artwork, photos, and classroom-ready worksheets.
    6. Pedagogy: Is the pedagogy sound and appropriate to the grade level?
    7. Equity: Have you followed  NCTM's equity guidelines?


    Each submission must be accompanied by a proposal that will go to the Publishing Committee. A proposal consists of the following:

    • The Publishing Committee proposal form
    • A table of contents or a detailed, annotated outline
    • At least two sample chapters

    Submit the PC proposal form, table of contents and two sample chapters to Eleanore Tapscott at ETapscott@nctm.org.

    What to Submit  

    1. NCTM books follow the Chicago Manual of Style. For references, we use the humanities style, which gives the full names of all authors and editors. Authors should also refer to the NCTM style guide.
    2. Only complete manuscripts will be accepted. A complete book manuscript includes—

    •   a title page, consisting of the complete title and the names of all authors (as they should appear on the publication) and their affiliations (institution, city, state or province, and country if other than the United States or Canada);
    • a title page without the names and affiliations of all authors (manuscripts are blinded for review)
    • a table of contents, which should include the full title of each chapter or section;
    • a preface, foreword, or introduction as desired;
    • the body of the text, divided into sections, chapters, references, etcetera;
    • all visual and art materials, such as illustration and photo files, original art, or student work, with labels and captions as needed;
    • and supplementary materials such as an author list or permission forms, as described in the sections below.


    3. Consult with your contact in the publications department on the best method for submitting electronic manuscript and image files; this may be through a file-sharing service such as DropBox, through email, or (if necessary) physically on a format such as a CD or DVD. Items such as original items of student work, other original pieces of art, and signed permission forms should be submitted by mail.


    4. If you are the author or editor of an entire volume, mail any physical materials to Eleanore Tapscott, Director of Publications, NCTM, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. For electronic files, use the file transfer system or email address provided by your contact in the publications department. If you are a contributing author to a book, send your materials to the volume editor in the requested format for that book.



    Authors and editors are responsible for obtaining permission to reprint all copyrighted material and ensuring that any photos, artwork, or other materials have not been published elsewhere. Releases must be obtained from a parent or guardian to publish a student’s original work or a photograph of a student.

    Photographers and artists must sign a release form giving NCTM permission to use photographs, drawings, and other graphic material in print, electronic, or web-based publications.

    *Note: Any PDF files linked to in this document may require a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing and printing. If necessary, click this link—Adobe Acrobat Reader—for a free download of the most recent version of the program.


    Author List

    A complete list of the authors or volume editors, with each author and editor’s mailing address, home and work phone numbers, fax number, and e-mail address, must accompany the final manuscript. The lead author should immediately inform the NCTM publications department of any changes to the list. The information is essential for mailing copyright release forms and complimentary copies of the completed book.



    Electronic Text Files

    1. Whether you work on a PC or a Mac, text files should be submitted in a common word-processing program such as Microsoft Word, double-spaced and with 1-inch margins. Text files should not be submitted in PDF form. Formatting should be minimal, but the indentation of quoted matter, the sparing use of italics for emphasis, formatting of text into tables where needed, and formatting (e.g., boldface or italics) to indicate the order of heads and subheads are all acceptable.


    2. Individual chapters can each be placed in separate Microsoft Word files (preferred), with text tables in place within the chapter and numbered (e.g., Table 2.1), and with numbered callouts to indicate the placement of illustrations and photos (e.g., Fig. 3.5). Numbered and labeled images of art pieces can be included within the text file, but the original image and photo files should also be provided whenever possible.


    3. Please do not box any text. If you have special formatting ideas, describe them in a cover note, and our production staff will keep them in mind when designing your publication.

    4. Please do not format your manuscript in a page-layout program (e.g., PageMaker, InDesign, QuarkXpress, TeX, LaTeX, etc.). Our production staff will design the layout and typography for the book and will create page-layout templates that include all the final design elements.


    5. For complex mathematical copy, we can support MathType or Equation Editor, which is a simplified version of MathType that comes with Microsoft Word. If you wish to use any other program to create your files, please check with the NCTM production staff in advance.


    Artwork, carefully chosen and prepared, greatly enhances the usefulness and appeal of written material. Please feel free to  contact the production staff if you have any questions about preparing your art.


    1. If your manuscript includes original art (such as students’ work), we prefer to have a full-sized, high-quality scan (300 dpi) or the original art piece itself. Any original work by students should be accompanied by a signed release form. Please see section below on Photos and Scans.


    2. When necessary, art will be redrawn by our production department or professional artists. They will need detailed instructions about what is to be shown, along with sketches drawn to scale.

    3. Always save computer-generated art separately as a PDF or in the native application used to create it (e.g., Adobe Illustrator); this is important even if you have also embedded an image of the art in the text file. You can save black-and-white line art as a bitmap (BMP) file (as well as an application file). When computer-generated art contains screens and or shades, make sure they are gray scale and at least 10% black; otherwise, they may not print. Please identify the software that you used to create the art (if you can’t convert it to a PDF or eps) and send a printed version with the electronic file (if necessary, we can scan the printout to create a usable file). Write any additional suggestions or instructions on the printed copy, label all drawings and printouts for identification, and key them to the text for suggested placement.

    Student Work 

    Many NCTM publications include examples of work by students. Reproducing these clearly can present significant challenges in the layout process. Authors may submit samples of student work in several ways:


    1. Best method
    For optimal reproduction, send a high-resolution scan (full size at 300 dpi) or the original version of the student work. Include a note if you want us to return the originals when we have completed the publication.


    For gray-scale or color originals, provide a full-size, high-resolution scan of the student work at 300 dpi (dots per inch). If the item is in color, provide a color scan, even if the publication is to be black-and-white. The color scan will give more options for differentiating tones of gray in the NCTM production staff artwork. Having a color scan also facilitates eliminating the lines, if desired, in work on lined paper.


    For black-and-white line art, such as blackline masters, provide a bitmap (BMP) scan at1200 dpi. These should be strictly black and white with no shading or gray tones. If your art has shading, use the guidelines for gray-scale and color originals, above.


    2. Second best method
    If sending originals or high-resolution scans is not possible, provide very high-quality reproductions of the work. A commercial establishment (e.g., FedEx Office) can assist you in obtaining copies that are better than those from a normal photocopy machine.


    3. Permission—If the student’s work could be clearly identifiable as from that particular student (e.g., sentences written in the student’s handwriting), you need to obtain permission from the child’s parent or guardian to use it in a publication.


    4. It is acceptable to embed art in a Microsoft Word file, but because this sometimes can cause a problem with the Word file, we recommend that a separate file be created that contains the art.


    5. Redrawing student work—On occasion, NCTM publication staff must redraw students’ work for clarity and legibility, possibly by using Adobe Illustrator and/or typing handwritten text. NCTM will send any art that is reworked in this fashion to the author or editor of the publication for review.


    Photos and Scans

    We welcome the opportunity to consider photographs of students and teachers involved in the activities described in your manuscript. When photographing, keep the following guidelines in mind:

    1. The strongest photos are those that emphasize a single concept. Ask yourself what you are trying to say, and design the image that best illustrates it. Come in close, filling the frame with your subject.

    2. Emphasize the students’ involvement with the mathematical task, using appropriate props. Avoid paper-and-pencil, desktop activities—they do not generally make dynamic pictures.

    3. When possible, include males and females of different races and appearances. Avoid sexist and ethnic stereotyping.


    4. Identify each photo with a unique title and number, either on a label or in its electronic file name. Include your name and contact information (phone or e-mail), either on the photo’s label or a separate sheet of paper. For each photo, include the following information: a brief description of the activity, the grade level, the copyright owner, and any other pertinent information.

    5. Include release forms signed by a parent or guardian of any student who is identifiable in the photographs, and key them to the appropriate photos. Keep a copy for your files. Adult subjects should be informed that the photos you are taking may appear in an NCTM publication.

    6. Digital images must meet very specific requirements to print out correctly in a book. Computers render digital images as pixels that form a mosaic on a fine grid. The finer the grid, the higher the resolution of the image. Resolution is usually expressed in dots per inch, or dpi. For good print quality, photos need to have a pixel resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch) at final size. This means that after NCTM production staff have cropped the image and sized it in the layout, the image that remains must be 300 dpi at 100% of its final size. Please note that you need this resolution when taking the picture—you cannot “sample up” later. If you use a portion of a photo and blow it up, the original dpi would have to be 600. Contact the  publications department with any questions. If you want to submit digital photos, please study the following explanation carefully; contact the production staff for additional information:


    • Send digital pictures as JPG, EPS or TIF files.
    • When taking digital photos, always use the noncompressed setting.
    • Some photographers will note that their high resolution digital photos at first have a resolution of 72 dpi, and a high number of inches wide and tall. That is, a photo with the pixel dimension of 1280 x 960 may appear to be 72 dpi, 17.8 inches wide and 13.33 inches tall. This would translate to a 300 dpi picture that is 4.26 inches wide and 3.2 inches tall. The following formula may be useful when you are trying to decide whether your photo is large enough to be commercially printed: 300 dpi/72 dpi = 4.17. In other words, if your photo has a resolution of 72 dpi, take your dimensions in inches and divide them by 4.17 (4 is close enough). (In the example above, 17.78 divided by 4.17 is 4.26, which will be the width the picture at 300 dpi.) That tells you the largest size we can print the photo at 300 dpi. We can always go smaller and retain high resolution, but if your picture is going to be too small, please take the time to get a larger photo.


    Submission Checklist


    When you are ready to submit your manuscript, use the NCTM Book Submission Checklist to be sure that all elements have been included. (This checklist is for your use and need not be returned to us.)


    Not every book will have every element. Please discuss any optional or additional items with your project manager.

    NCTM Book Submission Checklist


    Parts of the Manuscript

    ❒ Title page—with title and subtitle, and complete first and last names of each author, exactly as they are to appear on the book. Include middle initialsif they are to be used in the book.


    ❒ Table of Contents


    ❒ Preface and/or Foreword (both of these elements discuss the book and its topic in general terms; a preface is written by the authors or editors, and a foreword is written by an outside person)


    ❒ Acknowledgments


    ❒ Introduction (begins the actual discussion of the book’s subject; this element may be optional if the preface has adequately introduced the book’s subject)


    ❒ All book chapters, complete


    ❒ References (either one list for entire book; or, in anthologies of articles, one list at the end of each article)


    ❒ Back matter material, such as Resources, Appendices, or Bibliography (optional)


    ❒ All electronic art files—diagrams or illustrations in the programs they were created in; digital photo files; scans of student work or other illustrations; and any other electronic files of visual material. Each piece should be identified with number and title (e.g., Fig. 3.5. Students completing the Windmill exercise). Matching numbers and titles (with captions, as needed) should be included in the manuscript.


    ❒ Any necessary printed art—original or copied student work; printed photos, drawings, and diagrams; and any other physical copies of visual materials. Each piece should be identified with number and title (e.g., Fig. 2.2. Sample Student Schedule). Matching numbers and titles (with captions, as needed) should be included in the manuscript.

    Other Items to Accompany the Manuscript


    ❒ Author/editor list, naming the lead author/editor and including a mailing address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for all authors and editors


    ❒ All original, signed permissions (clipped together and identified by chapter and item for which permission is granted; be sure to keep a photocopy of each permission for your own files)


    ❒ A short, current professional biography for every author or volume editor


    ❒ Author(s’) photos (head shots of at least 300 dpi, if available; may be requested later by project manager if needed)

    What Happens Next  

    Using Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature, the editorial staff at NCTM headquarters will electronically copyedit each manuscript for spelling, punctuation, grammar, consistency of style, clarity, and conciseness. The copyeditors may suggest rewriting for clarity and logical organization and may make recommendations for the readability and integrity of the document.

    The editors will send the copyedited manuscript to the lead author. The lead author must review the editing, answer all queries, and return the manuscript to NCTM (or to the volume editor) within the time frame specified. The editors will send instructions on how to use the Track Changes feature to answer queries.

    For solicited manuscripts, the lead author accounts for the planning and operational expenses related to the development of the book. Requests for reimbursement should be submitted in a timely manner throughout the project.