Submitting a Book Proposal

To save your time and ours, please take a good look at our web site and these notes before deciding to send us your proposal.

Green Books was set up in 1986 with the aim of spreading awareness of ecological issues and providing practical advice for those interested in living a green lifestyle. Each year we publish about 15 titles and receive at least 200 unsolicited book proposals: we give serious consideration to about 20, and usually publish 4 or 5. The remainder of the titles that we publish each year are originated by us, or come from our existing authors, or are joint projects with other organisations.

Before considering whether or not to submit your proposal to Green Books, please note:

1. We are interested in books on green living; practical issues such as organics and eco-building; green economics and politics; and also books whose aim is to deepen people’s relationship with, and respect for, the natural world.

2. Ideas about how the world/humanity needs to change to be sustainable need to have a new perspective – we receive a lot of submissions on this subject. We rarely publish books that present a single solution to all our problems – for example, proposing that we should all become vegetarian.

3. We rarely publish books that document personal journeys.

4. We publish:

  • No fiction
  • No children’s books
  • No biographies
  • No poetry

We will not consider proposals in these genres, however green their subject matter, so please don't send them, as we won't reply.

5. For us to sell as many of your books as possible, it is very desirable that authors have their own websites and actively use social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

6. We plan to sell your books all over the world. This means that your book should be relevant to a global audience, and if it isn't we will ask you to make it so.

7. If your book has already been published, whether as a paper book or as an ebook, it will be almost impossible to get any reviews or publicity for it and therefore sell it, so we will almost certainly decline it, unless you are proposing major changes and rewriting, to produce a completely new edition.

Small print

We already have a wide variety of books in progress or under consideration. We are honest and won't steal your material. However, it is possible that someone within the company is already considering an idea similar to yours, and we could subsequently publish such a book that isn't yours. For this reason, in receiving a submission, we do not assume any duty not to publish a book based on a similar idea, concept or story; you send proposals at your own risk, and on condition that you indemnify us against any legal action arising out of your submission. (This does not mean we are free to steal your material; anything you submit to us is, like all written material, subject to copyright, and if we stole your material, you could sue us for breach of copyright. However, an "idea" for a book cannot be copyrighted; having an idea is "easy" -- what's hard is translating that into an interesting, useful and definitive book.) If you are concerned about this or don't accept these conditions, don't send us your proposal.

The details of your proposal

Submit your proposal by email.  Do not send hardcopies - we accept proposals electronically only. If you have a magnificent book and can send it only as a hardcopy, e-mail us explaining why.  (Even so, if for whatever reason you do send a hardcopy, we will not return it, so never send anything precious - send copies instead.)

Download and use this template for your proposal.

A good way to tell us about your idea for a book is to send us the following:

On everything you send us, each page must contain: your name, the book's working title, the page number, and the date.  If you omit this your proposal will be automatically rejected, because we receive so many proposals we can't keep track of them otherwise.  (The downloadable template above will show your file's name on every page.  If your file's name is the name of your book, you automatically get a correct footer on every page.)

A paragraph or two (about 50 to 250 words total) describing your idea for your book, and why you want to write it.

  1. A detailed outline. This should look like a table of contents, showing the chapters that you will include in your book, and a list of sections in each chapter, and a sentence or two giving an idea of what each section will contain.  Typically the outline will be from 3 to 6 A4 pages long.
  2. A sample chapter or two. Don't choose the introduction, or the first or last chapter, because usually they're not representative of the book as a whole.  Don't choose a very easy chapter (because then we can't really judge how you write) and don't choose a very hard chapter (because you're putting yourself at a disadvantage).  The sample you send us should have a minimum of 2,000 words.  (A typical A4 or Letter page of text contains around 400-500 words, depending on font used, margins, etc.)
  3. Information about yourself: a brief biography, what else you have written, and your qualifications for writing the book you're proposing - why you are the right person to write this book
  4. Who is the typical reader, and who is likely to buy the book? (These are not necessarily the same: many books are read by students but primarily bought by university libraries; books written for young children are bought for them by adults.) Why would they buy it, or why would they prefer your book to other ones on the same subject? Would people read it out of personal interest, or for professional reasons? Could it be used as a text book, and if so at what level: school, college, postgrad?  Be specific: very general comments such as "this book will appeal to everyone with an interest in the environment" are not useful because it doesn't give us an indication of how to reach the readers you're aiming at; the only way to reach such a general category would be a national TV advertising campaign (which is never done for a book).
  5. How you could help market your book. For example, are you a member of a society or group that would be interested in your subject? Do you use social media? Are you happy to give talks, be interviewed on radio or TV?
  6. Why you would like Green Books, specifically, to publish your book.
  7. Which other publishers have you contacted or proposed your book to? What has their reaction been?
  8. An appraisal of competing books.  Include their titles, authors and publication dates, with your comments on their strengths and weaknesses and how your book differs from them.  This is essential information for us: as well as giving a good feel for the type of book you envision, it allows us evaluate whether there is a market for this type of book.  Without this information we are working in the dark.
  9. How your book suits the needs of an international audience.  Tell us how your book caters for overseas readers at present.  What features make it attractive to readers outside the UK, or to readers outside English-speaking countries?  If you think your book as it stands (or as you envisage it) appeals solely to a UK audience, how could it be changed to have a wider appeal?
  10. Estimated length of the book, in words.  (If you are not used to measuring your text in words, estimate in pages instead.  Then, count the no. of words on a typical page, and from that you can derive an estimated word count.)
  11. Estimated number of (a) photographs (b) non-photo diagrams (c) charts/graphs (d) any other illustrations.

This information will help us to quickly evaluate whether your book could be right for us. We aim to respond to proposals within a month, although at busy times it could take us two months.  Ensure that you include all the material requested above.  We won't consider (or acknowledge) any proposal that does not contain this material, because without it we can't evaluate your proposal properly and decide how good it is.

Download and use this template for your proposal.

Email all proposals to: proposals@greenbooks.co.uk