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General Note: Every book published by SHRM requires a fully-executed publishing agreement between the author(s) and SHRM. The terms, rights, and obligations provided in any specific agreement supersede any information provided in this general FAQ.
About SHRM-Published Books
What is the vision, purpose, and approach of SHRM-Published Books?
In its ongoing effort to inform and educate the HR community, SHRM has been engaged in a robust book publishing program. We publish the highest caliber professional books that (a) offer practical guidance and solutions to HR professionals, (b) contribute to the global stature of the profession, and (c) enrich the literature on human resources. Our books contribute to SHRM’s core mission: Serving the HR professional and Advancing the HR profession.
SHRM-Published Books offer easy access for the reader. They are written and designed in a business style and
Does SHRM publish general business books that would help HR professionals?
While SHRM is a niche publisher focusing on publishing HR-centric books, we would consider publishing other business books that we determine would have a realistic and attainable market connection to HR professionals.
How long has SHRM been publishing books?
SHRM has published books dating back to the late 1990s. Through 2004, SHRM had about 15 books in print. Now, through mid-2012, SHRM has about 90 books in print, averaging about a dozen new books per year.
If I publish a book with SHRM will that give me an advantage in being approved as a speaker at SHRM conferences?
No. The criteria for entering into a book publishing agreement and for being selected as a speaker are completely different and managed by separate groups at SHRM. (For the latter, see SHRM’s Calls for Presentation
Do I need to be a SHRM member for SHRM to consider publishing my book?
Being a SHRM member is not a requirement. However, most of our authors are SHRM members who find it meaningful not just to their professional careers, but also in understanding how SHRM’s member-centric philosophy can be useful in writing, marketing, and selling HR books.
Do I need to be a SHRM member for SHRM to publish my book?
Do I have to be an HR professional to have my book published by SHRM?
No, but fully understanding the nature and functions (strategic and daily) of the profession will be an expectation that will need to be demonstrated in the book proposal and the book.
Do I need to pay SHRM a fee to consider my book proposal?
Do I need to pay SHRM a fee for any services related to publishing my book?
SHRM does not require its authors to pay for copyediting, typesetting, manufacturing, marketing, sales, or inventory management. SHRM’s standard publishing agreement does detail some exceptions, however. For instance, securing reprint permission from previous published content, and the payment of any related fees, is the responsibility of the author. If the author does not meet this obligation, one option may be for SHRM to secure the reprint permission and deduct the reprint fee and a service fee from the author’s royalties.
Will you publish a new edition of my book if the current edition was self-published or published by another publisher?
Yes, we would consider publishing it. It would still need to go through an external and internal review process to make sure that it is right for the HR market. Please note that if the current edition was published by another publisher you will need to get the rights reverted back to you and you will need to provide such publisher documentation to us at the same time you submit the publishing proposal.
If SHRM decides to publish my book, will there be a publishing contract?
Yes. Every book published by SHRM requires a fully-executed publishing agreement between the author(s) and SHRM.
Do you accept unsolicited proposals/manuscripts?
Yes, but we strongly encourage you to first review and then follow our
proposal submission guidelines.
May I submit the proposal to multiple publishers?
SHRM does not have a policy prohibiting multiple submissions. For copublishing opportunities (see below) we recommend that you provide us with a list of the other publishers you are submitting to at the time you are sending us the proposal (or at any time during the consideration stage).
When is the best time to submit my proposal?
SHRM will consider your book at any stage of development, however, the earlier in the writing process that we receive your proposal, the better we’ll be able to guide you so that your manuscript addresses the interests and concerns of your target audience.
Do you require sample chapters at the proposal stage?
No, but it helps and could expedite our consideration of the proposal. Submitting sample chapters provides us additional insight into your approach, writing style, depth of coverage, format, understanding of the target audience, etc.
How long will it take to have my proposal considered for publication?
Depending on the nature of the proposal, whether an external review is necessary, the value of the external reviews, and the time of year, it can take 8-16 weeks to consider a proposal.
How is the external review conducted?
We conduct a double-blind review (we do not provide the reviewers with your name nor do we provide you with the names of the reviewers). We contact 4-6 HR professionals who have expertise or working knowledge of the subject of your proposed book (this may include internal subject experts). We send them an abriged version of your proposal along with 4-5 questions to answer during their review. When the reviews are returned we analyzing them and determine the next steps. We can decide that the proposal is right for SHRM and move to the contract stage. We can decide that the proposal is not right for SHRM. We can decide that the proposal needs additional work. We then contact you, share the reviews with you (along with general information about the reviewers), and discuss the next steps.
What kinds of questions do you ask during the external review?
It depends on whether this is a first round of reviews or reviews after a proposal has been revised. In the former, we generally ask some form of the following:
In addition, you may suggest additional questions that target specific approaches, issues, or concerns.
Do you provide financial compensation to your reviewers?
What kind of publishing contract is made between the author(s) and SHRM?
For the most part, the SHRM publishing agreement is comparable to industry standards for books of a professional nature.
What are the criteria for offering a publishing contract?
We weigh a variety of factors in determining whether to move forward on a book proposal. These include the:
We may ask you to modify the proposal before making a decision. If the final proposal is approved, you will be offered a publishing contract.
Do I need an agent to represent me?
It is not necessary but it is solely up to you to determine if and how an agent can represent you.
Do I need a lawyer to review the contract?
It is not necessary but it is solely up to you to determine if and how a lawyer can represent you.
What is SHRM’s contract approval process?
There are multiple stages for contract execution:
How does SHRM compensate authors for the sale of the book?
The compensation is based on paying the author a percentage of revenue earned on the sale of the book (i.e., royalties).
Can my book have multiple authors?
Yes, but one critical distinction is whether the book is a unified authored work or whether multiple authors contribute separate elements (an edited work). The determination on how the authors are arranged on the book cover and how the royalties are divided will be determined by the authors.
Do you offer advances against future royalties?
Does the publishing contract include author discounts for the purchase of the book?
Yes, the specific discount(s) will be discussed at the time of contract negotiations. The author is also entitled to complimentary copies of the book upon its publication.
How much time is given to authors to deliver the full manuscript?
It varies between “immediately upon signing of this Agreement” to 18 months. We will want to determine a delivery date that is a balance between expeditious and realistic.
After agreeing to the contract, can it be terminated?
Yes, there are multiple points in which the publishing agreement may be terminated prior to or following publication of the book.
Will the copyright be in my name?
Yes, the default is for the copyright to be in the author’s name.
How will acceptance of the manuscript be determined?
There are multiple points for determining acceptability: from delivery date, to form and content, to marketability.
How are sales reported?
Net revenues will be used for royalty and reporting purposes.
How can I co-publish a book with SHRM?
SHRM sometimes enters into co-publishing arrangements with other publishers. These arrangements are done by agreement directly between the other publisher and SHRM. If you have a publishing agreement with another publisher and you are confident that the book is appropriate for the HR community, then you should encourage your publisher to contact SHRM about the possibility of co-publishing.
The advantages of co-publishing with SHRM include
How will SHRM decide whether to copublish my book?
The same decision-making criteria in the “Proposal Submission” and “Publishing Contract” sections above apply to copublishing. Remember, this would be a contract between your publisher and SHRM, not between you and SHRM and, as such, unable to discuss the details of any arrangements without the consent of your publisher.
Delivery and Production of the Manuscript
What if I miss the delivery date?
At some point prior to the due date we will contact you on a regular basis to discuss your progress and to consider contingencies in the event you may miss the delivery date. You should also alert us to any anticipated delays as soon as they arise. It should be noted that significantly missing the delivery date is a valid reason to terminate the publishing agreement.
What if I deliver a manuscript that is significantly larger or smaller than provided for in the publishing contract?
Hopefully we will have discussed this in our routine, pre-delivery discussions and have determined an effective course of action to ensure that the book is still marketable. It should be noted that delivering a manuscript that significantly differs from the form and content provided for in the publishing agreement is a valid reason to terminate the agreement.
What style guides to do use?
We use a combination of the
Chicago Manual of Style and SHRM's style guide. Every book will undergo a detailed content edit and line edit.
Do you conduct an external content review of the full manuscript?
If a book presents legal information and is not written by an attorney, then we will have the manuscript reviewed. In other instances, we may consider a content and presentation review. Depending on the reviews, additional time may be provided for revising the manuscript.
What happens after my manuscript is accepted by SHRM?
The production work process is as follows:
The manuscript is copyedited and the author reviews the edit and makes corrections, where appropriate.
Potential back cover endorsers are contacted.
The cover design is initiated.
The copyedited manuscript is typeset and the page proofs are reviewed by the author (and others). Necessary corrections are made
The cover comps are circulated, with an option selected as is or for revision.
The index is created, submitted, approved, and typeset.
Back cover endorsements are submitted.
Page proofs and cover is finalized.
Printer ready files are prepared and sent to the printer.
Printer prints the book and ships it to fulfillment house in Atlanta.
Depending on the time of year, this process can take 4-7 months.
What role will I have in selecting a cover?
Per the publishing agreement, SHRM will be responsible for creating and producing the cover. We generally have extensive discussions with our authors about cover concepts and cover images. We will then proovide mock-ups of a few cover options for additional discussion, revision, and selection.
How is pricing set?
SHRM uses a market-based approach to setting the list price and member price of a book. We consider market expectations, comparable SHRM and non-SHRM books, packaging, and page count. We also factor the costs associated with printing, warehousing, and fulfilling the book.
How is the print run determined?
Since the initial print-runs are our (and any publisher’s) biggest financial gamble, we take a conservative approach. We consider the market size, sales of comparable SHRM and non-SHRM books, forecasted inventory turnover rates, unit cost, etc.
How do you promote and sell SHRM-Published Books?
As a member-oriented, niche publisher, we have a number of ways to inform the HR community about our books:
Do you produce galleys/advance reader copies?
Generally no. Since SHRM is a publisher of professional books and references and not trade books, we do not need the lead time for publicity and marketing purposes.
Do you send out review copies to generate book reviews?
On a case-by-case basis, we will send out review copies of the finished book.
How does SHRM reach the trade market?
SHRM has a distribution agreement with Independent Publishers Group (IPG) in Chicago. They market SHRM-published books (not copublished books) to the retail and wholesale trade markets.
Will my book be carried by Amazon and other online book sellers?
Virtually all SHRM-published books (not including copublished books) are marketed to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major resellers. It is the decision of the resellers to decide whether to stock any given book.
Will my book be marketed in countries other than the United States?
SHRM has a distribution agreement with Independent Publishers Group (IPG) in Chicago. IPG and their international partners market SHRM-published books (not including copublished books) to appropriate resellers worldwide. It is the decision of the resellers to decide whether to stock any given book.
What is SHRM’s approach to translations, content licensing, and exercising other subsidiary rights?
The granting of these rights is detailed in the publishing agreement. Licensing of subsidiary rights is an interest of the book publishing program and we continue to reach out to non-U.S. publishers for translations and distribution. We are also actively working with content distributors.
Does SHRM publish e-books?
SHRM has been publishing e-books in the three e-book formats since 2009. Not every book is appropriate as an e-book and the decision whether to publish or not is based on several factors including content presentation, market acceptance, pricing, and cost considerations.
Does SHRM publish audio books?
SHRM released its first audio book in 2011. Not every book is appropriate as an audio book and the decision whether to publish or not is based on several factors including content presentation, market acceptance, pricing, and cost considerations.
I want to write college textbook on human resources. Would SHRM consider publishing it?
We would consider it, but the business and publishing models for textbooks are very different from publishing professional references.
Where can I purchase and get more information about these and other SHRM books?
Our books are available at SHRM conferences at the SHRMStore, through the online
SHRMStore, and through bookstores and other online booksellers and content resellers.
What if my book is already published and I want the SHRMStore to carry it?
If you are an author or publisher that would like to have your book(s) added to the SHRMStore, e-mail
email@example.com and place Product Selection Criteria and Process in the subject field. You will then be e-mailed the criteria and process document. Complete and return it to
I have additional questions about book publishing at SHRM.
(last updated: July 24, 2015)
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