Sale 40% Off

Frequently Asked Questions about Publishing with Berrett-Koehler

May I submit my proposal in electronic format?

Yes, you may submit your proposal in electronic format, although we would prefer a mailed submission. You may email your proposal to If you already have a draft manuscript, please do not attach it to the email if submitting electronically. We will request the manuscript later if we decide to go forward with consideration. The subject line should state, "Proposal for Berrett-Koehler Publishers." Please make sure that the proposal, if emailed as an attachment, does not exceed 1.5 megabytes of memory, or else it may be discarded by our security filters.


What do you look for in a proposal and how long should it be?

Our proposal guidelines can be found here. Please note that most publishers ask for the same information to be included in proposals to them, so this document and the time you invest creating it will serve multiple purposes. As far as length is concerned, we recommend not exceeding thirty pages, if possible. We receive over 1,500 proposals a year and do not have a staff member whose specific duty is only to review proposals. As such, we rarely have the time to commit to long, unsolicited queries.


What sorts of books do you publish and how do I know if mine is a good fit with your various agendas?

Read the About Us page on this site to learn more about our publishing program. You can also browse our catalog. If you still have a question about whether your project is a good fit, send a brief email to the Managing Editor with your question (the subject line should state, "A brief question about my proposal"). Please do not attach any documents to this email as it is not a priority line to have proposals reviewed. Please note that responses to such queries will be brief and to-the-point.


Do you only accept agent-represented authors and projects?

No, we accept proposals from both agents and authors and we do not have a preference for one over the other.


What are the royalties Berrett-Koehler pays its authors?

Standard royalties begin at 10% on the first 10,000 copies sold, 15% on the next 20,000, and 20% thereafter on net received. On subsidiary rights, the royalty payments are 50%, except electronic, which is at a flat 15%. Please note that all royalties are paid on the basis of net payments received. You can download and review our standard agreement here.


Does Berrett-Koehler offer advances for authors they sign?

No, we do not. However, we do think that the other benefits our publication agreements offer our authors are worth considering.


If my manuscript is not complete, should I still submit a proposal to Berrett-Koehler or should I wait until it is finished?

No need to wait. A proposal that clearly outlines the work to be written will suffice quite well. Again, proposal guidelines can be found here.


What is the average timeline from proposal submission to finished, on-the-shelf product?

The entire publication process takes 9-12 months.


If I have a manuscript, do I need to submit a proposal as well?

Yes! Our editors do not have the time or the resources to read all proposed manuscripts and prefer to rely, initially, on proposals. As mentioned before, putting together a proposal based on our guidelines is  generally a good idea, as other publishing companies will ask for the same information.


Can you print books on 100% recycled paper?

We do have this ability, but the majority of books are not printed in this way due to the overwhelming cost - to the author, the publisher, and the customer. On average, this service can raise the shelf price of a book significantly. The higher price point makes a book less desirable to the general consumer and can impact sales dramatically.


Do you publish fiction books?

No, Berrett-Koehler publishes non-fiction books in the field of business, current affairs, and personal growth. However, if you have a fiction book that meets our mission statement -- Creating a World that Works for All -- we suggest you consider publishing with our new imprint, Open Book Editions.


What can I expect from Berrett-Koehler as my publisher?

Too many things to list here, but we recommend checking out the various articles and pieces on our documents page -- especially the Publishing Documents and Author Resources sections.


When will I hear back from someone following my proposal submission?

If you submit your proposal in the correct format, you will receive a response within 2-3 weeks. Please note that proposals not submitted in the correct format with all requested materials may not receive any response. If you submit a proposal using our guidelines but have not heard back from anyone in over three weeks, please contact the Managing Editor and indicate your project's name and date sent as well as mode and date of sending (electronic or mail).


Does Berrett-Koehler offer the option of self-publishing?

Yes. Open Book Editions is our self-publishing imprint. More information can be found here.