Book Author Guidelines

SAE authors must follow these guidelines when preparing manuscripts and artwork. Manuscripts that are not formatted according to the SAE guidelines will be returned to the author for revision.


  • Original electronic art is optimal. Electronic art (jpeg, tiff, etc) should be a minimum of 1000 pixels wide.
  • Each figure should be in its own figure file, named with your product code, chapter number, and figure number (e.g., R-123_fig1.1).
  • Original print material to be scanned can be sent to your product manager (SAE will reimburse shipping expenses).

Image Copyright

  • If you did not create the image yourself, always obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you created the material/image and used it in a paper, another book, symposium, etc. be sure you did not sign the copyright over to another party. If you did sign over the copyright of that material, you must obtain the new copyright owner's permission to use that material/image in your book. Additional copyright information

Book Template

  • SAE provides a Word template that specifies margins, line spacing, fonts, type sizes, and predefined styles that enables you to quickly apply formats for text, headings, figure captions, and more. Instructions for using the author template.
  • Do not use any of the auto-numbering or auto-bullet features in Word. This includes auto-numbered headings, figures, footnotes, and endnotes.

Multi-author Books

  • The primary author of multi-authored books is responsible for ensuring all authors follow the author guidelines.

  Use of copyrighted material

  • If you are using text, figures, tables, or any material from other books, papers, journals, websites, etc., you must obtain written permission from the copyright holder to include them in your book. It can take months to secure permission from other publishers to use previously published material, so start as soon as you know you are going to use these items.
  • Your manuscript will not be put into the production process until all permissions have been secured and paid for (if required).
  • You should use SAE's permission form. Some copyright holders require authors to use their forms or to submit a form electronically on their website. If you do not use SAE's permission form, be sure that permissions obtained include all rights/terms as outlined on page 1 of SAE's permission form. If you have any questions while filling out a copyright holders form, call your product manager at SAE.
  • Tips for obtaining permissions:
    • Fill in the permission form completely, whether you are using SAE's form or that of the copyright holder.
    • Be specific about which figures you are seeking permission to use (name of book, year of publication, edition, author, figure number, page number, caption, etc.). Including a photocopy or scan of the material you want to use can be helpful.
    • Direct the form to "Permissions Department" if you do not have a contact name.
    • Just because material can be found on the Internet does not mean it is automatically in the public domain. You need to be sure you have permission to use images and materials in your book that you find on the Internet.
  • An extensive amount of material and figures is available in the public domain, free of charge, and does not require permission to use. Talk to your product manager at SAE for suggestions about where to find materials in the public domain.

Editorial and style tips

  • Abbreviations and Acronyms-abbreviations and acronyms may be used, but they must be defined and explained when first mentioned. For example,
    • The study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) focused on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
    • When making abbreviations and acronyms plural, add 's' and no apostrophe to the acronym (e.g., CVTs, and not CVT's). An exception to this rule occurs if the omission of the apostrophe preceding the "s" creates confusion with the acronym.
  • United States Customary Units (U.S. units) and International System of Units (S.I. units)-SAE is a global publisher, and many of our readers will be more familiar with S.I. units than U.S. units. The SAE Editorial Style Guideline for Authors includes a list of suggested units, symbols, and abbreviations. Write your manuscript so that the U.S. units for measurements are used in the text, followed immediately by the conversion to S.I. units in parentheses. For example,
    • The vehicle traveled at 10 mph (16 km/h) before stopping.

Parts of a manuscript
SAE editorial style guidelines for authors
Overview of the SAE book publishing process 

General Guidelines


  • Manuscript: Use Microsoft Word - place each chapter in its own separate Word file and name each file with your product code and chapter number (e.g., R-123_ch1; your product manager will supply your product code).
  • Equations: Use MathType. If your manuscript will contain many or complex equations, SAE recommends that you purchase MathType software to create them. The equation editor in Word can be used to create simple equations.

Manuscript Length

  • Your publishing agreement with SAE will stipulate a word or page count and number of figures and tables. As you write, pay close attention to the length of your manuscript. If you believe you will exceed the contracted length for your book by greater than 10%, contact your product manager immediately.

Manuscript Prep Checklist

Parts of a manuscript

The following are typical parts of a book manuscript that authors provide. An asterisk indicates mandatory elements that authors must provide. These manuscript parts are presented in the same sequence in which they would appear in a book.

Title page
This page lists the book title, subtitle (optional), and authors. Together with your product manager, discuss a title which is brief and succinctly conveys the topic covered by the book. An optional subtitle may be used to further clarify the title and contents of the book. Authors' names should be listed exactly as they wish them to appear on the finished book, in terms of spelling and sequence (if there is more than one author). Do not include affiliations or degrees (e.g., Ph.D.).

You may dedicate the book to whomever or whatever you wish. A dedication typically starts with the word "To" and is only a line or two at most.

Table of contents
List chapter numbers and chapter titles in consecutive order and include up to four levels of subheadings from each chapter. Do not include page numbers--SAE will add them after the page layout is complete.

This one- to three-page statement is written by someone other than the author(s), typically a person with notoriety whose endorsement will add credibility to the book. The foreword should end with the name of the person who wrote it, followed by his or her affiliation or city, and the month and year when it was written.

This one- to two-page section tells readers why you wrote the book but does not go into detail about the background or history of the topic. Brief acknowledgments may be included near the end of the preface, or lengthy acknowledgments can be placed in a separate acknowledgments section.

Typically one to two pages, the acknowledgement is used to credit other persons or organizations for providing assistance during the writing of the manuscript.

An introduction contains material that should be read prior to reading the rest of the book, such as historical details or background on the topic as well as the intended audience for the book. The length varies, depending on the topic.

Chapters, headings and subheadings
The text of the manuscript should cover everything needed to help readers understand the information you wish to convey, and is typically broken into chapters. Chapters can be organized in various ways, depending on the topic. Please be aware that SAE will publish your book as an ebook, and readers may be able to buy single chapters of the ebook. Thus, when writing chapters, it is advisable to make each chapter able to be read as a standalone unit, as well as being a cohesive part of the book. Along with a chapter number, give each chapter a brief title that provides a clear idea of what that chapter will cover. Use a similar tone and writing style throughout all chapters. Chapter lengths may vary, but it is best to maintain consistency among them (e.g., one chapter should not be 100 pages and another only 10 pages). Use the SAE Book Template to format all text. Chapters may be subdivided by headings and subheadings. They also may include non-text material to support the discussion, such as tables, figures, and equations. These may be original content created by you or material taken from other sources, with appropriate permission granted from the other sources. (See Use of Copyrighted Material for information on how to obtain permissions). Non-text material should relate directly to the text, and be mentioned in the text. If tables, figures, or equations are exceptionally large, they may be better presented later in the book as Appendices rather than in the chapters. Chapters may be subdivided by up to four levels of subheadings, particularly for technical material that requires lengthy discussion. Similar to chapter titles, headings and subheadings should be brief and should describe the discussion in that subsection, again using a similar writing style and tone. While numbered headings and subheadings are not required for your final book, they are required for the manuscript, this will aid in applying the correct text style during layout. Any heading or subheading numbers generally include the chapter number and indicate the level of that subheading (e.g., Chapter 6 may have subheadings 6.4.2 and 6.4.3). The Book Template will help you to format all headings and subheadings. If you would prefer your book does not have numbered headings, discuss this with your product manager. Heading numbers can be removed after text styles have been applied during layout.

Create tables using Word's table feature and embed them in the text right after they are first mentioned. Do not use spaces to align tabular material. Number tables consecutively within each chapter and in a consistent style (e.g., Table 1.1, Table 1.2). When referring to tables in the text, use "Table #" (e.g., Table 1.1). Do not use Word's auto-numbering feature to number tables, and do not use extraneous formatting in tables, such as shading, color, or borders of varying thickness. Each table must be fully explained and cited in the text, and a table title must be included for each table as well. Table titles are placed above the table. The title follows the number on the same line, separated by a space. For example,

Table 1.1 Approximate Values

All tables should be typed in Word, not placed as an image.

Equations and formulae
The equation editor in Word can be used to create simple equations.

However, if your manuscript will contain many or complex equations, SAE recommends that you purchase MathType software to create them. SAE will reimburse you for the cost of the software if your manuscript contains many equations. Discuss this with your SAE book product manager before you create any equations for your manuscript.

Number all equations sequentially within each chapter, and include the chapter number as the first number of the equation (e.g., Eq. 3.1 for the first equation in Chapter 3). Do not use auto-numbering to number equations. Center each equation on the line, and place the equation number in parentheses at the end of that line. For example:


Be sure to use the math parentheses, brackets, and slashes on the math software toolbars, rather than typing those characters from the keyboard. The text form of these keyboard characters will appear too small within the equation.

When referring to equations in the text, use "Eq." and the equation number. The exception would be if "Eq." is the first word of the sentence. In that case, spell out the word in full as "Equation."

Present lists in bulleted or numbered form. Do not use Word's auto-numbering or auto-bulleting feature, as these become lost when the paragraph styles are applied during layout. Use the SAE book template to format lists. Here are some other tips for presenting lists:

  • Do not put parentheses around the numbers at the beginning of numbered lists.
  • Do not use commas or semicolons at the end of listed items, and do not use the word "and," between items in the list.
  • Use a period at the end of each list item only if at least one of the items in the list is a complete sentence; otherwise, do not use any punctuation at the end of each list item. However, if one item is a complete sentence and uses punctuation such as a period at the end of that list item, then all items in the list should use that punctuation.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each item, even if it is an incomplete sentence.


  • Original electronic art is optimal. Electronic art (jpeg, tiff, etc) should be a minimum of 1000 pixels wide. Note that 72 dpi .jpg files, which are often found on the Internet, are not usable for book publishing.
  • Each figure should be in its own figure file, named with your product code, chapter number, and figure number (e.g., R-123_fig1.1).
  • If you are scanning images, scan as close to 100% physical dimension as possible, at 600-dpi or better resolution. Original print material to be scanned can be sent to your product manager (SAE will reimburse shipping expenses).
  • General-Figures should relate to and illustrate concepts in the text.
  • Text within a figure-Be sure that text within your figures will be large enough to read if the figure has to be reduced to fit the page layout. Text labels must be 10-point Helvetica or Arial type. However, if the artwork is large, 10-point type may be too small to read when the figure is reduced.
  • Sources of figures-You may create original artwork for your manuscript or you can use artwork from other sources. If the artwork is from another source, you must obtain written permission for use of that artwork. See Use of copyrighted material for guidance on obtaining permissions. If you use artwork from a website, you must be sure that the resolution is 300 dpi or better. Material that appears on the Internet is not automatically in the public domain-you must obtain permission to use it in your book.
  • CAD files are acceptable if saved as .tif or .eps files.
  • Color artwork-Color artwork is acceptable, but be sure the concept you are illustrating with the figure is not lost when the figure is reproduced in black and white.
  • Do not embed figures in the text. Rather, insert the figure caption in the text after the first paragraph that refers to that figure. Skip a line before and after the caption. Detailed information about figure captions.
  • Figure files-Place each figure in its own separate electronic file. Give the file a name that is based on the figure number (i.e., fig_3.1.eps). When uploading figures to the file sharing site, combine all figures for each chapter into one zip file.
  • Numbering figures-Do not use Word's auto-numbering feature to number figures. Also, number all figures in a consistent format throughout the book with the word "Figure" spelled out for each figure number (e.g., "Figure. 1.1 and Figure 1.2").
  • Citing figures in text-Cite each figure within the text, and provide a unique and brief caption. When referring to figures in the text, use "Figure. #" (e.g., Figure. 1.1).

Figure captions
For figure captions, capitalize the first letter of the first word of the caption, use lowercase letters for all other words of the caption (excluding proper nouns, acronyms, etc.), and end the caption with a period. For example:

  • Figure 1.1 Cross section of a Wankel rotary engine.

Provide a credit line in parenthesis at the end of the caption for images you are using from other sources.

  • Figure 1.1 Temporary clamping fasteners. (Courtesy ALCOA-Fastening Systems)
    Figure 2.1 F/A-18 Navy FBW attack fighter. (Ref. [2.1])

If the copyright holder has provided specific wording for a credit line, you must use that exact wording.

Footnotes and endnotes
You may use footnotes or endnotes, but not both. Footnotes-Number footnotes consecutively within each chapter, not throughout the entire manuscript. Do not use Word's auto-numbering feature to number footnotes. Each footnote may be numbered as a superscript when cited in the text (e.g., Chapter 1 information3). See References and bibliography for details about citing references in text. In the final layout, the footnote will be placed at the bottom of the page where it is cited. However, authors should place the footnote copy immediately following the paragraph in which the footnote number is cited. Endnotes-Although used less commonly than footnotes, endnotes may be placed together in a separate section at the back of the manuscript. Endnotes may further explain a concept in paragraph form. Number endnotes in the same way as footnotes. Do not use Word's auto-numbering feature to number endnotes.

References and bibliography
References-If you rely on text or other information from another source (e.g., concepts, quotes, or statistics from a book or magazine, a website, or a personal interview) you must cite that information as a reference. This gives credit to that source and allows interested readers to go to the source for more information. However, references are not substitutes for permission to use copyrighted material from other sources, such as figures or tables (see Use of copyrighted material).

  • Numbering references-Number references consecutively within each chapter, not throughout the entire book, and include the corresponding chapter number as part of the reference number (e.g., [5-1]). Do not use Word's auto-numbering feature to number references.
  • References list-Include the list of references at the end of the respective chapter in which they are cited or in one large section for all the chapters after the last chapter in the book, using the reference number without the brackets.
  • Do not use reference numbers in chapter titles, headings, or subheadings.
  • Reference formats-Below are some typical formats for references. Alignment for a reference coving more than one line will be set during layout. Do not format these with tabs or spaces. If you use a different style for references, the format may be acceptable as long as it is used consistently throughout the manuscript. When in doubt regarding a reference format, please refer to The Chicago Manual of Style.
    Books: Reference number. Author's last name, author's first name or initials. year of publication. title of book (in italics), edition (if other than the first). publisher: location of publisher. page number (abbreviated as "p." for single pages or "pp." for multiple pages). Examples: 1-1. Boyne, Walter J. 1987. The Smithsonian Book of Flight. Smithsonian Books: Washington, DC. p. 195. 1-2. Jones, J., et al. 1965. "Tires in the Modern Automobile." in The Workings of Cars, edited by A. Carr and Z. Ferrari. Imagination Publishing: New York. pp. 101-110.
    Journals: Reference number. author's last name, author's first name or Initials. year of publication. title of article (in quotes). name of journal (in italics) volume no., issue no.: page number (abbreviated as "p." for single pages or "pp." for multiple pages). Example: 2-1. Antanaitis, D., Monsere, P., and Riefe, M., "Brake System and Subsystem Design Considerations for Race Track and High Energy Usage Based on Fade Limits," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Sys. 1(1):689-708, 2008, doi:10.4271/2008-01-0817. 2-2. Miles, P., Collin, R., Hildingsson, L., Hultqvist, A. et al., "Combined Measurements of Flow Structure, Partially Oxidized Fuel, and Soot in a High-Speed, Direct-Injection Diesel Engine," Proceedings of the Combustion Institute 31(2):2963-2970, 2007, doi:10.1016/j.proci.2006.07.231.
    Technical Papers: Reference number, author's last name, author's first name or initials. year of publication. title of paper (in quotes). paper number. Publisher: location of publisher, Example: 3-1. Tucker, L.E. 1972. "A Procedure for Designing Against Fatigue Failure of Notched Parts." SAE Technical Paper 720265. 1972, doi:10.4271/720265. 3-2. Saha, P., Pan, J., and Veen, J., "Thoughts Behind Developing a Small Reverberation Room-Based Sound Absorption Test Method for the Automotive Industry," presented at NOISE-CON 2008, USA, July 28-31, 2008.
    Websites: Reference number, article name (in quotes). website name. website address. date accessed Example: 4-1. "Henry Ford," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed November 10, 2011.
    Interviews: Reference number, interviewed person's name. interview with author. date. Example: 5-1. Smith, John. interview with author. January 3, 2009. 5-2. Hardy, Oliver. personal communication with author. May 15, 1995.
  • Bibliography-Unlike references, a bibliography is a list of sources that have not been cited in the text but are pertinent to the book and might provide useful information to readers. Because these sources are not cited in the text, they can be listed alphabetically together after the References section or at the end of the book.

Appendices are placed at the back of a manuscript and include material that is not essential to the chapters but may provide further information or clarification. Appendices may be written by you or taken from other sources with appropriate permissions obtained from those other sources (see Use of copyrighted material). If your manuscript contains two or more appendices, identify the appendices consecutively with upper-case letters (e.g., Appendix A, Appendix B).

SAE uses professional indexers to provide a back-of-the-book index, complete with cross references. The index is much more than a keywords list. Creation of the index is one of the last steps in the production process. If there are words you want to be sure are included in the index, you can provide them with your final manuscript materials.

About the author(s)
This section, typically one to two pages, provides readers with information about your background and qualifications to write the book, and those of your co-authors if applicable. It is written in paragraph style (not a resume) and includes information about work experience, formal education degrees, professional certifications and affiliations, and other professional accomplishments such as awards and professional memberships. Along with a write-up, please provide a photo of yourself to accompany the text and to use in promoting the book. The same image quality specifications apply as they do for Figures.

Supplementary materials (e.g., videos, software, etc.)
Peripheral materials such as videos, databases, and software are enhancements to books, especially SAE books available in ebook format that may include links to interactive materials. Extra material in the form of problems and solutions can also be useful. For more details about the requirements for peripheral materials, as well as their applicability to your manuscript, contact your product manager.