Part 1 Prepublication Planning

Publication Planning Process (Revised February 2010)  

Prospective authors must submit a written proposal to the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Publications Committee (156 Ramapo Valley Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430) that includes the following information. Contract negotiation and agreement to follow the Trail Conference's Style Sheet are part of the acceptance process.

All proposals must indicate

  • Author's contact information
  • Overview of content
  • Target audience
  • Schedule of materials delivery
  • Estimated number of pages
  • Sample materials
  • Competing titles 

Proposal Guidelines  

Type of book - classified by the dominant means of description.

  • Guide- a mile by mile description of a trail or trails. example: Long Path Guide
  • Trails - description forindividual trails which the reader will link together to make a hike, example: New York Walk Book
  • Hikes - descriptions of dfhikes including information about what one sees. example: Circuit Hikes in New Jersey
  • Other - coffee table, stories of hiking experiences, informational, children's, etc


  • Geographic area - example: Bear Mountain-Harriman State Park (Harriman Trails)
  • Theme - example: history (Iron Mines Trails)
  • Intended audience - example: residents of Westchester County (Walkable Westchester
  • Outline - what the book will cover including chapter headings
  • Introductory material - outline or list of what is likely to be included, which is be 10% or less ofthe total number of pages
  • Side bars - whether or not included and if so, what topics 
  • Background material - whether there will be information about geology, flora, fauna, and history,etc. and the format in which it will be presented such as separate chapters, orwithin each chapter as text, as side bars, or at the end of a chapter.

Illustrative materials

  • Drawings - who supplies
  • Photographs - who supplies
  • Maps - topographic or schematic


  • Time frame - length of time you expect to take
  • Size - approximate pages

Sample chapter

  • Text of at least one chapter or representative hike that includes driving directions and  public transportation
  • information about the park(s) such as parking availability, fee if charged, contact information, web site address, restrictions, other services,etc.


  • Suggested title
  • Bibliography or further readings
  • Index - whether or not you want to include, but is necessary for "trails" types ofbooks

Note: The Publication Committee will assign a project manager/editor and material will be checked by someone other than the author.

Sample Materials Submission:

Each project being considered will have a complete proposal form, a sample chapter that includes all elements that intend to be included: illustrations and graphics, maps, sidebar material, and manuscript representative of all type sections. See Example.

MarketAnalysis Component for Book Proposals

  1. Develop print specifications for proposed book
    • Dimensions
    • Number of Pages:
    • Number of Illustrations
      • Black & White
        • Photographs   
        • Maps
        • LineArt
      • Color
        • Photographs
        • Maps
        • LineArt
    • Cover art description
    • Other special features
    • Companion maps, etc.
  2. Research competitive titles
    • Identify as many other similar publications (current or out-of-print) and complete the "Researching Competition" form (from manual).


  1. Estimate cost and price of proposed book using cost calculator spreadsheet.
    • Determine the optimum length of time before publishing the next revision
      • When will the author be ready?
      • When will the information be obsolete?
      • Is it a brand new book (lot of errors) or a stable revision
    • Determine the monthly sales average over the period before the next release.
      • Compare to other similar books in similar markets (i.e.Walkable Westchester and Hiking Long Island are both geographically limited compared to the Walk Books.)
      • If no comparables available, consider
        • Popularityof hiking area covered?
        • Untapped markets?
    • Multiply the monthly sales average times the optimum revision timeframe (this is the print run)
    • Estimate total production costs (editing, indexing, layout, cartography, artwork, covers, printing, etc.)
    • Choose a price based on a multiple of 4x-5x times printing and production costs
  2. Compared to books on the market
    • Compare to competition
      • If no competition, ask why
        • No market for this publication?
        • Great opportunity to publish?
  3. Make decision to publish or not based on cost feasibility and degree to which the proposed book fulfills mission.



Proposals will be presented at the monthly PublicationsCommittee Meeting for review and voted upon. Members will consider how the proposed title would enhance or duplicate current Trail Conference offerings, impact production resources in use, and affect Publication Budget funds allocated for the fiscal year. Publications Chair will review the sample materials for acceptability.

Preliminary BudgetDevelopment/Costing/Sales Projections:

Prior to final acceptance, all materials will need to have a preliminary budget prepared, including projected sales, to justify development and production. Preliminary budgets will be approved by________________________ prior to final acceptance.

Author Contracts/Agreements:

All materials published by the Trail Conference need to be covered by an agreement or contract. Without an agreement or contract, copyright and rights cannot be determined and payment (if any, strive for donations)cannot made. Written agreements and contracts protect both the Trail Conference and volunteers by delineating responsibilities as well as establishing schedule parameters. 



  • Establish Market-Driven Publication Date
  • Revision Cycle
  • Form


Electronic Text Preparation


  • Manuscript Development Guidelines
    • Accuracy
    • Field Checking
    • Style
  • Manuscript Specifications


Visual Material Preparation


  • Maps, Photographs, Line Drawings
  • Digital Repurposing Considerations
  • Technical Specifications
  • Identification Methodology (Coding)


Preliminary Product Launch Meeting


  • Covers Design, Editing, Production, Manufacturing ofProduct
  • Schedule Development (see sample schedule on p. xx   )