WSO Literature Development Policy


Literature plays a critical role in carrying ACA’s message of hope and recovery to adult children of dysfunctional families. As the fellowship grows through time, so must its literature.

ACA WSO has an open literature policy. This means that ACA groups have the right to use nonconference approved literature, conditional upon their group conscience and that various other considerations are taken into account, e.g., that the ACA 12 Traditions are used as their guideline, etc.

Development, review, design and publication of new literature is time-consuming; major projects can take years to complete. Evaluation involves a wide range of ACA members and viewpoints. In proposing new ACA literature, an author should be motivated by service, and surrender any notion of personal ownership.

The Literature Development Policy guides the ACA World Service Organization (ACA WSO) process for the creation, vetting, approval and publication of new literature, and the revision of existing literature. Questions about this policy, and how to use it in submitting a literature proposal, should be addressed to

WSO conference-approved literature should be easily understood and give individuals practical help in grasping and working the ACA program. ACA literature should support emotional sobriety, self-love, and gentle reparenting.

Any ACA member or group is invited to submit proposals at any time to create or revise ACA literature. Proposals also may come from the WSO board and Literature Committee.

Submitting a Literature Proposal

Generally, ACA literature is any book, trifold, booklet, or other format (including e-books and audio books), which communicates information relevant to ACA recovery and can be individually purchased or downloaded.

Proposals from the fellowship to create or revise ACA literature should be submitted to, and the subject line should clearly identify the email’s purpose. To assist WSO’s initial assessment, the proposer should closely review this entire policy and include the following criteria in his or her email:

  • Except for trifolds, initial proposals for new literature should be brief and should not include a full manuscript. For textbooks or workbooks, an outline and a maximum of 1-2 chapters is encouraged. A cover note, with contact information, should answer these questions:
  1. How is the proposal different from existing ACA literature?
  2. What fellowship recovery need does the proposal address? And is there any specific audience that the literature is intended to reach?
  3. Is it best described as a trifold, a small booklet, a textbook/workbook, a workshop guide, or something else?
  4. Is there an identified author or team of authors?
  • When an individual or group submits a piece of literature to WSO, they must sign a release form that gives WSO the right to make changes and/or include it in a larger publication. Without a signed release, no work can be done by ACA WSO. The release is available online at Where space permits, the originating group or individual will be given credit in an acknowledgement section.
  • Proposals to revise existing literature should include an introduction with contact information, that explains why existing literature should be altered, the nature and location of proposed changes, and whether there is an identified author or authors to execute the proposed changes.

Initial Evaluation

All literature proposals that meet the submission criteria are referred to the Literature Evaluation subcommittee, which assesses a proposal’s potential value to the fellowship based on consistently applied, objective criteria, similar to the questions addressed in the email introduction. The Literature Evaluation team may contact the authors to ask questions and propose different approaches that might make a project more suitable for publication.

Proposals are placed in a queue, which is periodically updated, and evaluation priorities are determined based on perceived benefit to ACA’s broad global fellowship. This includes budget considerations and whether the needs of non-English-speaking ACAs are being met.

The ultimate justification of any new ACA literature is rooted in our Fifth Tradition: if the proposal would materially help adult children carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer, it should decidedly be considered — including balancing the proposal’s potential value against other demands on the fellowship’s resources.

Upon completion, the Literature Evaluation subcommittee sends its written recommendations to the Literature Committee, and the author is invited to attend an evaluation discussion. If the Literature Committee votes to seek full development and Conference approval, the proposal will be forwarded to the WSO Board for conceptual approval.


Should the board approve an initial literature proposal, a development team will be assigned, and a final proposal and tentative production timetable will be established. During development, the author team will give periodic progress reports to an assigned liaison from the Literature Committee. All development team members must sign non-disclosure agreements and copyright releases, and the content created will be the property of ACAWSO.

In writing new literature, we strive to keep our message universal, welcoming, and practical. It should be rooted in our fellowship experience, not in unproven theory or esoteric concepts.

To maximize comprehension and to support translation into other languages, sentences and words should be plain and simple.  Mindful that many will read with their Inner Child, the narrative also should be gentle in tone. And authors should continually ask themselves, “How will this sentence, paragraph, or idea help a suffering adult child experience healing and recovery?”

Final Approval

When a project is completed, it goes through a final chain of evaluation that involves WSO, the broad fellowship, and finally the Annual Business Conference. The final document must be approved by the Literature Evaluation subcommittee, the Literature Committee, and the WSO Board. At any stage during this process, WSO may consult with professional experts and place a draft manuscript on the Best Practices or other ACA web page to gather additional fellowship “field testing” and feedback.

Each piece of literature that is deemed appropriate for potential production, whether it is developed internally or submitted by a group, goes through several stages of final approval.

  1. Testing: Knowledgeable writers are asked to review the piece and do any necessary editing/rewriting.
  2. Board approval: When the final draft is ready, it is presented to the Board for final input and agreement to be presented to the ABC Delegates.
  3. Delegate approval and Fellowship input: If approved by the delegates, the items is placed on the WSO website for review and input from the fellowship for a minimum of 90 days.
  4. Revision: After the review period, constructive revisions are incorporated.
  5. Proofreading/Editing: Proofreaders and editors do a final review.

A favorable ABC vote means that a project is “Conference-approved” and ready for publication, subject to minor production edits and any revisions made through the final fellowship review process.

WSO also may, at its option, return an author’s copyright privileges if a proposal is not accepted for publication.

Once the Board approves a manuscript, it is submitted online to invite written comments and suggested edits from the fellowship. After any additional revisions, the manuscript is submitted to the Annual Business Conference for final debate and review.

A favorable ABC vote means that a project is “Conference-approved” and ready for publication.

WSO also may, at its option, return an author’s copyright privileges if a proposal is not accepted for publication.

Publication and Distribution

Publication can take many forms, including traditional book publishing, e-publishing and audio books. Before publishing commences, the Literature Committee’s Business Operations Subcommittee will propose a publishing and distribution plan based on its assessment of fellowship demand, production and distribution costs, design considerations, availability of distribution partners, and other factors.

On projects that will be produced and/or distributed outside the United States or Canada, the International Literature Subcommittee will help draft the publishing and distribution plan.

WSO literature staff will assist in the development of this plan, which must be approved by the Literature Committee and full WSO Board.


Anyone submitting a proposal should expect an email acknowledgment within two weeks. If that does not occur, a follow-up email requesting a status update is invited.

ACA literature development is largely a volunteer activity, supported by limited professional staff resources. Often, there are many projects at varying stages of review and development, which can strain the Literature Committee’s capacity. Therefore, it is impossible to guarantee a set timetable for review and action on specific proposals.

ACAWSO will provide a status report, updated quarterly, to those who have submitted literature revision and development proposals, to ensure that no project “gets lost,” and so that submitters are not left in a state of mystery about their proposals.

The Literature Development subcommittee will also report major developments, and answer questions, about new literature projects during the Literature Committee’s quarterly call.  A complete status report on pending literature development projects will be provided in the annual Literature Committee report at the Annual Business Conference.

Please direct any questions about ACA WSO literature to