Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in publishing with Shambhala. We aim to publish books that are authentic, timeless, and transformational. As an independent publisher distributed by Penguin Random House, we offer both the personalized publishing experience of a small press and the unmatched sales reach of one of the world’s largest publishers. Shambhala encourages and actively recruits projects representing new perspectives and underrepresented voices. We welcome the chance to learn more about your work.

Before submitting a book proposal, please familiarize yourself with our company and the types of books we publish—for example, by visiting the New and Forthcoming Books and About Shambhala sections of our website. Currently our acquisition interests are on the topics of Buddhism, mindful living, yoga, psychology, health and wellness, nature, parenting, crafting, creativity, and cooking. We do not accept proposals for fiction (children’s books excepted), poetry, exposés, end-time prophecies, channeled works, martial arts manuals, quotation books, or audio/video. Anything sent within these genres/formats will not receive a response.

To prepare a book proposal, see our recommended template. For Bala Kids proposals, please see the guidelines posted here. Though we are flexible with format, please be advised that at minimum, you should include a synopsis, a chapter outline, a brief biographical statement or résumé, and two sample chapters.

When you are ready to submit, e-mail your proposal to [email protected]. You will receive an automatic reply confirming that your message has been received. Please only submit your proposal once. We do accept simultaneous submissions, as long as this is clearly noted in the body of your e-mail. If you decide to publish your work elsewhere, please notify [email protected] and withdraw your proposal.

Please note that Shambhala Publications does not accept physical, mailed submissions.

If the combined file size of your attachments exceeds 2 MB (this should happen only if your submission contains many images), please upload the large files to a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Hightail, or Google Drive and send us a link we can follow to access them.

Your submission will be reviewed over the course of twelve to fifteen weeks. As long as you’ve properly followed our guidelines, we will send a response to you via e-mail within this timeframe. Please do not ask about the status of your submission, as this only prolongs the review process.

Please note that we do not accept phone calls regarding book ideas or submissions. If you have a specific question that is not answered on this page, you may e-mail us at [email protected], and we will get back to you in a timely manner. We look forward to reading your work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you look for in a manuscript?
We focus on books that will be of benefit in the world and look for manuscripts that are well-written and speak from people’s own authentic experiences. We are actively seeking manuscripts that explore fresh perspectives and areas of interest, showcase underrepresented ideas and voices, and reach new audiences. Consult our book proposal template (above) for more details.

I am an agent. Should I follow a different procedure?
If you have not already established contact with one of our acquiring editors, please follow our standard submission guidelines. If the submission seems to be of interest, it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor on staff.

Can I submit a book query instead of a proposal?
Yes. Although a book proposal enables us to make a better-informed decision (and gives you an opportunity to really sell it), a query is acceptable if you are unsure whether a topic would be of interest to us. The query should include a brief description of the book and your credentials.

I self-published my book. Can I still submit it for consideration?

How much do I have to pay you to get my book published?
Nothing! We are not a vanity press or a self-publishing company. If we want to publish your book, we will pay you in the form of royalties (a percentage of the book’s net sales, to be determined during the contract phase). We take care of the book’s editorial, design, production, and marketing and publicity costs, with a few exceptions: authors are generally expected to pay for permissions and indexing, if either of those apply.

Should I hire a literary agent?
It’s up to you to research the pros and cons of working with an agent and to decide if that’s the way you want to go. We accept unagented as well as agented submissions. If you want to find an agent, you can consult Literary Market Place or Writer’s Market, resources that are available both in book form and as online services. We do not provide lists of agent names or specific recommendations.

Can I submit my academic thesis for consideration?
Yes, but because thesis topics tend to be very narrow (and therefore of interest to only a small audience), it’s unlikely that we would pursue publication.

Can I propose for your consideration a book published in a non-English language?
We review only English-language materials. We are, however, willing to consider foreign works for publication in English, so if you feel there’s a title that would be a good fit for us, please first e-mail the book’s publisher to confirm that world English-language rights are available. We also ask that you supply us with chapter summaries in English as well as a brief biography of the author, especially as it relates to his or her sales potential in the US. The more items on the proposal template you can fill out, the better.

Why did you reject my manuscript?
If your manuscript is rejected, it means only that it does not fit our publishing focus and needs right now. It says nothing about the appropriateness of the manuscript for another publisher, the importance of your work, or about you as a person. Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we cannot offer individual feedback.

You rejected my manuscript, but I have since thoroughly revised it. May I resubmit?
Unless we encouraged you to do so in our response message, or the manuscript is of a different focus entirely, we do not accept resubmissions.