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Publication guidelines for manuscript submissions

In recent years, the Commission has published two types of books: those in the memoir genre (It Happened in Moscow [2013], My Emigrant Father [2015], Daughters in the House of Jacob [2016]), On Holy Ground [2022], and those in the history genre (Women in Ministry Leadership [2019] and MBBC: A History of Competing Visions [2021]). While there are other genres that could be considered, these are two that the Commission has put its publication resources toward.

When authors approach the Commission (usually through the executive secretary) with a manuscript for publication consideration, there are several kinds of questions that they can be expected to answer.

  1. What is the genre of your manuscript?

  2. What is your target audience?

  3. What is the contribution your manuscript makes toward understanding the Mennonite, or more specifically, the Mennonite Brethren story?

  4. What is the basic outline or flow of your manuscript?

  5. What is the word count? Manuscripts in the 120,000 range or less fit within the Commission’s parameters for printing and retail pricing (i.e., books up to 300 pages in length).

  6. Has your manuscript already been edited for flow, cohesion, focus, grammar, etc.? How much editing is still required?

  7. Are there photos, illustrations, figures, maps, etc. that are part of your manuscript? If so, have the requisite permissions for these been secured?

  8. How does your manuscript compare to those already published by the Commission?

If the executive secretary determines that these questions have received a reasonable response, she/he brings the manuscript to the Commission for publication assessment. This involves two steps:

  1. Three blind (to the manuscript author) peer reviewers are asked to read and assess whether, in their view, the manuscript merits publication by the Commission. Their assessments are to end with one of three conclusions:

    1. Yes, publish,

    2. No, do not publish, or

    3. Yes, consider publishing, if the following issues are addressed.

  2. The Commission processes the reviews and makes a determination about the submitted manuscript, instructing the executive secretary to communicate the Commission’s decision to the author and to set out the next steps, if any.

In the case where the Commission decides that the manuscript has merit, but certain changes are needed before it can consider publishing, the executive secretary will communicate the needed changes to the author. If the author agrees to make the changes, the revised manuscript would be expected to be re-submitted to the Commission for a final assessment, either to proceed toward publication or to discontinue the process.