Becoming an Author

How to Contact an Editor



Submissions from both authors and literary agents are invited.  The simplest, fastest way to contact us is by email. Please do not email a proposal to more than one editor.

Additionally, our editors attend numerous academic conferences each year.  If you and Toplight/McFarland are both attending the same conference, you are invited to meet with an editor.  You can schedule an appointment by emailing us in advance (email, or you can stop by the booth in the conference’s exhibit hall for a casual conversation with an editor.

What Toplight Books Publishes
Toplight Books is an imprint of McFarland, a leading independent publisher of scholarly books that excel in the academic and library markets.  Toplight strives to improve or help readers understand their body, mind or spirit.  Toplight welcomes proposals for nonfiction manuscripts on a wide range of uplifting and positive subjects not limited to the following: psychology and mindfulness, religious studies and spirituality, yoga, nature, and common medical problems and treatment, among other topics.  Toplight does not publish fiction or poetry.

Browse the Toplight Books catalog here.  Also, we suggest you browse the McFarland catalog to get a feel for our other offerings.  Among many librarians especially, McFarland is viewed as distinguished yet daring. You can also see what current authors are saying about McFarland, and what others are saying about McFarland.

Making a Proposal

What We Need to See
Authors may contact us via three methods: with a query letter, a full proposal, or even (if the manuscript is complete and you’re confident it could fit in among the books we’ve already published) a finished manuscript with cover letter.

  • In a query letter you should describe the manuscript, tell us how far along you are, estimate its final length (in either word count or double-spaced typescript pages), and tell us what is unique about the manuscript (or about you!). We answer most queries within a few days; if we’re interested we’ll invite you to send either the complete manuscript or a full proposal.
  • full book proposal should contain the following elements: an overall description, outline or table of contents, estimates of total word count and completion date, a preface or introduction, comments on how the book differs from any competing works on the same topic, a summary of what you might offer in the way of photographs or other illustrations, and some samples of the manuscript (1-2 chapters or the equivalent, plus representative pages of any special parts).

How to Present the Work
Query letters and proposals should be emailed or mailed. You may visit Exposit Books in person for a tour or social visit, but we are unable to evaluate proposals “while you wait.”

Double-space your manuscript or manuscript excerpts. Number the pages consecutively in a single sequence. If you are mailing a print-out, use good white paper printed on one side only and do not bind it. Valuable documents or photographs need not be sent at the proposal stage, though photocopies of them are helpful. Package your print-outs securely and be sure to put your name and return address on the package, on your cover letter, and on the top page of the proposal or manuscript. Please enclose a return mailer with postage, or else a note that the materials need not be returned.

When You’ll Hear from Us
We usually respond within a month of receiving a full proposal, and often much sooner. Our decisions are based largely on the freshness of the topic, how well it fits in with our list, how thoroughly and authoritatively you cover it, the quality of the research and writing, and the likely marketability of the book.


If your proposed book seems overall to be a good fit for us, we will correspond with you about any particular matters that need to be discussed (sometimes we receive a proposal, or manuscript, with no discernible strings dangling). Sometimes this discussion takes a few weeks; sometimes it takes longer, depending in large part on the author’s schedule and the manuscript’s progress. The offer of a contract comes after we have determined that we and you the author are in agreement on all major points. A sample of our standard contract may be viewed here for most manuscripts. It does not cost anything to publish with Toplight. Toplight has not ever and will not ever take any payment or subvention from authors. You bear only the expenses of providing a complete manuscript (including any necessary illustrations and permissions).