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Information for Writers and Authors

Getting Started

1. Research
Go to bookstores and libraries. Talk to colleagues. Query associations and other professional groups. Find out what is available and what still needs writing.

2. Organize
Choose a working title and a table of contents. Then complete chapter outlines before beginning to write.

3. Start Writing
Each chapter should cover one topic, one perspective. Write what you know best, first. Save the introduction until the end.

4. Permissions
If you are making reference to the work of others, follow the guidelines to secure reprint permission. If you plan on including illustrations of any kind, be sure to get the copyright-holder's permission for them as well. Permission is needed to reprint published or copyrighted material. Authors are responsible for securing permission for quotations from publishers. Submit copies of permission correspondence with your manuscript. See the sample permission letter below.

Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation

Final accepted manuscripts can be submitted electronically. If you prefer sending a paper copy, it should be accompanied by an electronic copy – on CD or some other electronic medium. We are able to translate and work with many platforms and programs. Since computer hardware and software are constantly changing, consult with us to confirm the compatibility of your word processing program.


Please contact our Publications Department ( prior to submitting your work to us. Specify the program and operating system you have used. If sending a print copy, it must be from the file you send.

  • Double space all material including notes.Set left, right, top and bottom margins at 1"
  • Do not indent paragraphs. Leave extra space (a blank line) between each.
  • Do not format material with different fonts, sizes of type, margin widths, headers and footers (except page numbers) or other special styles.
  • Use upper- and lower-case characters for headings, not all capitals. Leave a line before and after headings.
  • Use italics on words and phrases that you wish italicized, e.g., titles of publications. If your word-processing program does not possess this formatting feature, use an underline instead. Do not use bold instead of italics.
  • Place the notes on separate pages, not at the foot of the page or within the text.
  • Include all preliminary material: complete table of contents, preface, foreword, introduction and dedication, if applicable, when you submit the manuscript.
  • Print manuscript on 8 1/2" x 11"paper.
  • Please ensure that pages are numbered sequentially.


We recommended the following reference books:

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed.
The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style & Usage (HarperCollins)
The Canadian Style (Dundurn Press Rev. 1997)
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Genealogical Publishing, 2007)

Here is a brief summary of some important points of style.

Canadian spelling is the standard (i.e., more British than American). Please consult The Canadian Oxford Dictionary for preferred spellings. An exception to this occurs when quoting material published elsewhere - do not change the spelling without permission from the publisher.

Quotation and Copyright Guidelines
Always provide the sources of your quotes, including author and publication, if possible. You can include these in footnotes/endnotes or a bibliography. (When quoting Emily Dickinson, for example, the name of the poem is needed, not the name of the collection in which it is found since there are so many collections.)

According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's brochure describing the Copyright Act, "the line between fair dealing and infringement is a thin one. There are no guidelines that define the number of words or passages that can be used without permission from the author. Only the courts can rule whether fair dealing or infringement is involved." More information can be found at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website.

The general rule for copyright is the life of the author of the work, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies plus an additional fifty years. “Public domain” refers to the period after the copyright expires when the material is accessible to anyone without legal penalty. However, as in the case of photographs, the document might be in the public domain but there could still be charges or fees by the organization that holds the documents – more as an ownership issue.

Sample Permission Letter

Publisher or Author
Postal Code

Dear Permissions Office/Author,

I am writing to request permission to reprint material (to reproduce an illustration) from the following publication for which you hold copyright: Author, title, publisher, year of publication, page number.

This material (illustration) as it appears on the attached sheet will be included in the following work, which the Ontario Genealogy Society is preparing for publication: Title, of which I am the author.

This book is scheduled to be published in <month> of <year> in paperback at an approximate list price of <price CDN>, in a press run of <number of copies>. <Sentence here on subject, purpose of book> .

I am requesting World Rights in English to use this material in this publication and in all subsequent printings. Would it be possible for you to grant permission for such use, with appropriate credit given? I would appreciate hearing from you with any terms or conditions that would apply. If you are not authorized to grant permission for the material, please direct me to the correct source.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request. I would very much appreciate a response by e-mail (address) if possible.


Author's name

The above credit is approved on the conditions specified below and on the understanding that full credit will be given to the source.

Credit line requested:

Terms of permission:

Approved by:


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