Proposal Guidelines for Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Berrett-Koehler Publishers' mission is to publish books that support the movement toward a world that works for all. Our titles promote positive change at personal, organizational and societal levels. With this in mind, please prepare a proposal that covers the following topics:

Berrett-Koehler Publishers' mission is Connecting People and Ideas to Create a World that Works for All. Our titles promote positive change at personal, organizational, and societal levels. With this in mind, please cover the following topics in your publication proposal:

1. Need: Why is a new publication on this topic needed at this time? How is this topic of increasing rather than passing or declining interest?

2. Purpose: How is the publication designed to meet the need? What are the primary and secondary purposes of the publication? What new contribution does the publication make to the field?

3. Goals: What are the goals that you want to achieve through publication of your book?

4. Audiences and Uses: Who are the intended audiences and how will they be able to use the publication? Be specific and realistic, rather than claiming that people or managers in general will be interested. Distinguish between primary and secondary audiences. Identify specific professional associations that are audiences.

5. Impact: How will your publication have a positive measurable impact on individuals, organizations, communities, and/or society? Please be specific about the intended positive impacts rather than just giving general intentions.

6. Measuring Impact: How will you measure the positive impacts (including any materials that you will include in your publication or on your website to help readers report impacts)? How and when will you report these impacts to Berrett-Koehler?

7. Knowledge Base: Describe the knowledge base of your book, including professional or academic experience, research, and theory. Attach biographical information about yourself, including the titles of your previously published works. Please include the publisher name, publication date, and number of copies sold of each of your previously published works, and also list any foreign-language editions and their publishers.

8. Related and Competing Books: What are the five most competitive or similar publications, and how—specifically—does the proposed publication differ from and go beyond each of them? Please describe your proposed publication's new contribution in considerable detail—this is a central issue.

9. Outline: Attach a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline of the publication's planned contents.

10. Sample Chapters: Please send the entire draft manuscript if it is available; otherwise, please submit two to four sample chapters with the publication proposal, indicating when the complete draft manuscript would be available.

11. Manuscript Length and Special Materials: How many words do you expect that the manuscript will be, including all references, appendices, or other materials? It would be fine to give a range (such as “40,000 to 50,000 words”). What special materials (drawings, tables, figures, exhibits, and so on) do you anticipate will be included?

12. Timetable: What is your schedule for completing the manuscript?

Marketing Support: Please attach a separate document detailing the ways in which you, as author, will be able to support the publisher's marketing of the book. Marketing resources might include:

- How often you speak and/or train, and to what numbers of people in what venues.
- Course names and names of institutions where you teach professional courses or college-level courses.
- Professional associations of which you are a member and any leadership roles or special activity you have had in those associations.
- Your media contacts, what relationship you have had with those contacts, and what coverage of your work has resulted from those relationships.
- The number of contacts on your email and print contact lists.
- The name and focus of any newsletter or e-newsletter you publish, including the frequency of mailings and size of the mailing list.
- Numbers of your social media contacts (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
- Newspaper or magazine columns you write, other internet or print media platforms you have, and any regular appearances you make on radio or television programs.
- Names of prominent individuals who are likely to endorse your work.
- Attach any interviews with you, stories about you, or articles by you that have already appeared in local or national media.

Due the enormous number of proposals and manuscripts we receive, we are unable to reply to all of them or send individual responses to each submission. We will, however, review and consider every submission, but cannot give status updates. We cannot answer questions about proposals by phone or email. In most instances, you will receive a response from us within 4-6 weeks if we decide to pursue your book idea.

PLEASE NOTE: We only accept proposals in .pdf form. Word documents and other file types will be deleted without being opened.

Please e-mail your .pdf proposal to: 

Anna Leinberger, Associate Editor

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If you want some guidance on what makes a great book proposal, check out the "Write Right" section of our BK Magazine!

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If you are an author living outside of the United States, please review our preferred Criteria for Authors Based Outside of the United States.