Guidelines for Contributors

If you are considering submitting a proposal or material to Wild Places Publishing, please read the following notes. With a change in ownership of Descent magazine in October 2022, Wild Places now concentrates on bringing fine books about caves and caving to our readers.

Ideas and proposals for books relating to caves, mines and the world underground are welcome, but please read these notes thoroughly and make contact to discuss your ideas before making any submission.

Content: Caving publications tend to be short run, given their niche subject matter. After any discussion, as well as writing your initial submission as a precis of content, please consider the illustrations. Remember that with respect to illustrations, gaining permission for reproduction is the sole responsibility of the contributor, whether the copyright holder or not: please ask permission before submitting other peoples' material and respect their copyright. Book without illustrations are unlikely to be accepted.

Present your ideas in a concise manner as an explanation of the theme of the book: what is its purpose and appeal to readers? Include a suggested list of chapters and a sentence to indicate their content. Subject matter may be quite broad, from modern exploration to historical overviews, but the appeal must be to a wide readership and not only to family and friends. We do not publish 'general interest' books about caves that may be more suited to a non-caving-specific publisher. However, for every rule there may be an exception, so if you think you have something of interest to say to the caving community, please make contact. The one thing we expect you to have is a knowledge of caving; without this, you are unlikely to understand the nuances of the sport or be able to write authoritatively.

References: If references are used, our house style is to number these in the text using a superscript, in the order they appear in, and list the corresponding references separately in one of two forms (adapted for multiple authors and/or details of journals: if in doubt, please supply additional information and during editing this will be incorporated) in a separate section at the end of the book. Further reading lists are treated in the same manner (without the superscript numbers, of course). Pagination is elided.

FAMILY NAME, first name. Year. Book title, publisher, town
FAMILY NAME, first name. Year. 'Article title', publication title, Vol. xx, (issue number), ppxx [pagination]

DOE, John. 2010. How to Write Citations, Anypub, London
JONES, John. 2010. 'How to write citations', Descent, (250), pp26-7

Surveys and diagrams: Wild Places Publishing may be able to help prepare surveys and maps for publication, but please discuss this before submission as several factors may affect their preparation as digital files. For example, colour and line thickness must be consistent when sized for the page. Normally, for anything other than a very simple diagram, digital files will be required. Illustrator (.ai) files, or those files which will import correctly into Illustrator, are ideal formats and the requirement for a vector file to be importable into Illustrator is essential for any high-end complex surveys. PDF files are accepted if editable. Do not jpg any line-based drawing.

Maps: Area maps sometimes accompany book chapters, for example to show the hydrology or geology of an area, or precise locations of cave entrances. There are copyright issues if sketch maps are based on on Ordnance Survey mapping, so please contact the editor for advice when submitting UK-based area maps: it is your responsibility to satisfy copyright requirements.

Photographs: Colour prints, colour negatives and colour slides can all be used if of historic interest, though high quality digital files from a good camera are preferred and are generally superior in quality. Good quality scans of historical material are accepted. In all cases please ensure that the photographer’s name is credited and full captions are supplied, which should include names in full of the cave, passage or area. If required, photographs can usually be scanned and quickly returned. If you identify any person by name that appears in a photograph, unless deemed for journalistic reasons you must obtain their consent.

Captions are frequently not dealt with carefully enough. It is not helpful to supply a file named as it came from the camera (_IMG1234.jpg, for example) with a list of captions in an email. Please rename your file to something sensible, supply written captions and (if possible) embed the information in the metadata. For best practice, number your files so that they appear in the correct order and can be associated with a chapter if relevant. For example:

C1 01 John Doe in Carrot Passage, some cave name. Photo: Fred Smith

(This representing the first photo in chapter 1; C4 03 xxxx would represent the third photo or illustration in chapter 4).

Large graphics files: Large files can be sent electronically using WeTransfer, which is a free service.

There are problems with .jpg files being submitted that have been incorrectly prepared or overcompressed and rendered useless for reproduction (do not use high compression factors). There are also limitations (especially so) when using ‘screen captures’ from surveying or other computer programs, or 'screen grabs' from videos. In all cases where there is any doubt, please check before preparing or submitting such files.

We frequently encounter difficulties with .jpg images attached to an e-mail when sent from a Mac, which often (although departing as attachments) arrive embedded in the mail. This appears to be a 'helpful' feature of a Mac, but it renders the file uselessbecause there is no good method to extract them after arrival. Please ensure all files are attached (not embedded) and if sending from a Mac, please zip the file before attaching it as this always comes through as an attachment (or use WeTransfer or similar).

Every possible care is taken of all material submitted, but no responsibility can be accepted for loss or damage. Please make sure you enclose your name and address with any submission that is mailed to us, as well as a stamped SAE for anything you wish returned. However it is received, any such material will be returned using normal post (not special delivery, unless arranged in advance).

Some of the technical details above may feel offputting; we hope that this is not the case and in every instance, we are here to help those who try to help us. Please do not be put off by any 'requirements' – we are happy to work with you, though please note the following important statements:

As a generalisation, if any submission is already published, online or otherwise, it will not be accepted for publication by Wild Places.

To also repeat this point: permission for reproduction and to obtain the consent of anyone named, if appropriate, is the sole responsibility of the contributor. Please respect the copyright and individual rights of others. If Wild Places Publishing receives any complaint concerning copyright that concerns material you submitted, we will inform that person that we were granted permission for use and it will be solely your responsibility to deal with the complainant.