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PenumbraPublishing Submission Guidelines ... "Out of the Shadows and Into the Light"

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Submission Guidelines and Related Information


PENUMBRA PUBLISHING IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO ALL SUBMISSIONS. Please check back periodically for updates. Thank you for your interest.

When open for submissions, Penumbra Publishing is looking for great books in various genres for royalty-paying publishing. Our guidelines may change from time to time, so it is important to review all guidelines carefully before submitting. We can't consider submissions that don't meet our requirements. Thank you!



Click on links below or scroll down to review section information.

  1. Open for Submissions and Response Time
  2. Manuscript Requirements
  3. What We Do and Do Not Publish
  4. How We Decide What to Publish
  5. Marketing & Promotion
  6. Publishing Models, Advances, and Print-On-Demand (POD)


A. OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS AND RESPONSE TIME: Unless otherwise noted, we are always open for submissions. However, when our production queue is full, and we do not have the resources to accommodate new submissions, we will close submissions to concentrate on serving the authors and their projects already under contract.

We do our best to acknowledge within three business days the receipt of all submissions that follow our guidelines. Response time for a publishing decision may range from one week to a month, depending on production schedule. Please email us if you do not receive a decision on your submission within a month. If you cannot give us ample opportunity to review your manuscript, please do not submit it.

Please do not submit your manuscript to us if it is under consideration elsewhere. Doing so will adversely affect any future submissions you might make to Penumbra Publishing.


B. MANUSCRIPT REQUIREMENTS: All manuscripts must conform to the following requirements, or we will not consider them for publishing.


C. WHAT WE DO (AND DO NOT) PUBLISH: We publish only fiction at this time and prefer to deal only with novel-length works (30,000 - 100,000 word-count). Word counts outside this range might not be considered for print distribution. We currently do not publishing the following:


D. HOW WE DECIDE WHAT TO PUBLISH: Penumbra Publishing wants to offer readers quality books that are enjoyable and entertaining. Our priority is to publish fiction we think will sell and be adequately promoted by the author. We read every submission to ensure each book we publish meets general criteria that include:

For manuscripts we do not accept for publishing, we will attempt to give a specific summary of suggestions to amend submissions to meet basic writing quality standards. Any suggestions for change do not constitute an offer to publish, and any changes made by the author do not automatically guarantee acceptance for publication. Suggestions are merely our opinions regarding how the manuscript might be altered to fit what we consider to be basic quality standards. Authors may resubmit modified manuscripts for reconsideration at any time, unless we are temporarily closed for submissions due to current production backlog.


E. MARKETING AND PROMOTION: Authors who want to be successful must reach their intended audience to sell their products to readers. To do this they should participate in various forms of self-promotion. Self-promotion efforts do not necessarily have to involve an outlay of money, and usually include maintaining an author web site. There are many free web hosting sites available with do-it-yourself site builder programs. Additional social venues might include a Facebook page or a Twitter account or even a Pinterest account. Authors should consider maintaining a personal author blog only if it fits with their personality and writing habits. Otherwise guest blogging on other blogs is a reasonable alternative. Blog tours with giveaways are a popular method to attract readers and introduce a new or recently published title. To set up a successful blog tour, it is important to network with people who run blogs where books are regularly featured and that have a large readership following. Book sales correlate directly with effective promotion, and the objective is to reach and engage potential readers with the hope of encouraging them to buy one's books. Every author we consider should devise long-term objectives as a career author. Those who think the work stops when the book is published should really consider vanity publishing, as the real work begins when the book is published. We may recommend promotional or marketing venues and coordinate promotional activities, but the choice of individual marketing efforts and attendant costs are at the author's discretion.


F. PUBLISHING MODELS, ADVANCES, AND PRINT ON DEMAND: Publishers come in all sizes with different policies and procedures, so don't assume every publisher operates the same. Penumbra Publishing is not a vanity or subsidy publisher. Vanity/subsidy publishers often offer individual services such as editing for a fee, or may offer package deals to provide editing and everything else needed to get a book published. But they charge for these services. Penumbra Publishing does not provide fee-based services as a condition of publishing an author's book. We look at publishing/marketing/selling books as teamwork, not simply a service. We publish books at our expense and split earned royalties 50/50 with the author. Our goal is to sell the titles we publish so we can cover all our up-front costs associated with publishing that title, including editing, cover design, and ISBN, in addition to distributor fees to get the title distributed in various sales venues. Therefore we have a vested interest in the final format and content of all books we publish. We work with authors every step of the way to make sure our publishing standards are met and hopefully exceeded to produce books we're proud to put our logo on, and that we hope readers will enjoy reading. That doesn't mean everything we publish is perfect, but that's the goal we shoot for.

We believe our contact terms are fair and generous, and therefore we do not alter contract language except to modify the term for series or to include verbiage for co-authors. We do not pay advances on expected or hoped-for royalties, and we do not provide 'free author copies' of books, because we do not charge up front for these books like vanity and subsidy publishers do. Our authors can purchase an unlimited number of books at or near publisher cost to provide for reviews, to resell, or for other personal use.

For print books, Penumbra Publishing employs print-on-demand technology as a cost-saving measure that minimizes warehousing needs and environmental impact. Our book sales in both ebook and print depend almost entirely on electronic bookstores, and our titles are listed online at Amazon, and most of the time will appear at Barnes and Noble and other popular online retailers like Apple and Sony. Every book we publish will be offered in electronic format and in print, except for those that fall outside the usual word-count or page range to offer in print (80 pages minimum and 320 pages maximum.) We reserve the right not to offer print books with expanded distribution in secondary markets besides Amazon until total net sales royalties exceed $100.

Most physical bookstores, especially retail chains like Barnes and Noble, will not order or shelve POD books, due to the non-returnable nature of POD. POD books are literally printed on demand, one or two at a time, to fulfill orders as they come in to the printer. Chain bookstores order book copies for warehousing and distribution to the various outlet stores with the understanding that if those copies don't sell within a month or so, the books can be remaindered (destroyed) or sent back at the publisher's expense for a full refund. This allows the bookstore to take no risk whatsoever in purchasing a publisher's titles, because on a whim the books can be returned for full credit to open shelf space for new incoming titles. Because books produced with POD technology are more expensive per unit than those produced in large or small print runs, and printing is based on order fulfillment, returns are not accepted. Therefore chain bookstores will not order them. This has nothing to do with the quality of the printing or the content of POD books, but is strictly an economic platform fostered by bookstores that is long overdue for change. (After all, what other retailer of goods expects the manufacturer to pay for the return of unsold items - even damaged ones?) Therefore, authors who publish with us should not expect their books to appear in bookstores across the nation. However, our books are available for ordering and shelving by any bookstore through 'Books in Print' - a catalog service managed by, the ISBN registrar in the US.


G.  SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS REQUESTING PUBLICATION: We accept submissions ELECTRONICALLY VIA EMAIL ONLY and will not repsond to snail-mail submissions.

Please review our information regarding what we publish, and follow our submission guidelines. ATTACH YOUR ENTIRE COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT plus introduction letter and story summary so that we have this required package of material to review for a publishing decision upon first contact.


AFTER WE RECEIVE YOUR SUBMISSION materials described above, we will send you an email ackowledgement of receipt, usually within three business days. Once the materials have been reviewed and we have made a publishing determination, we will email you to inform you of that determination. If we feel more information is needed, our follow-up email will request that information.

ONCE WE HAVE REVIEWED YOUR SUBMISSION, if we feel your manuscript is not a suitable match for our publishing efforts, we will inform you and explain why that decision was made. If we feel your manuscript is not acceptable in its current state but could be improved, we will explain to you why we have made that determination and may give you some suggestions for modifications to resubmit. These suggestions are our opinion only, and are not to be misinterpreted as a conditional offer to publish. If you decide to make noted changes to your manuscript, you may resubmit at any time for reconsideration, provided we are open for submissions at the time.

IF WE FEEL YOUR MANUSCRIPT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR PUBLISHING, you will receive an acceptance email with a request for a PAYPAL ACCOUNT email address for royalty payments and your TIN (tax identification number, usually your social security number) for tax reporting purposes. Those items will be included in a draft contract attached as a PDF to a follow-up email. You may have legal counsel review the contract. If you find errors in the contract, please note changes in your response email. Once a final contract is agreed upon, you must email your official acceptance of the referenced contract, or print it out and sign and date it, and mail it to our physical address listed on the contract. We prefer an email acceptance for the sake of expediency. The contract stage entails additional steps, but these will be discussed once the submission process reaches that stage.

If you have additional questions, contact us at Thank you for your interest in Penumbra Publishing!