10 Tips for your next textbook deal

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Steve Gillen

If you’ve been published, then you’ve seen it before — a “whereas” and a “therefore” followed by eight or more pages of pre-printed, pedantic prose offered up by the editor as the house’s “standard publishing contract.” Other than a few tiny spaces for your name, the title of your work, and the manuscript delivery date, the bulk of it looks as though it were long ago locked down in Century Schoolbook type.

But the truth is that there is more to review than the spelling of your name, choice of title, and projected completion date, and more to negotiate than you might realize. Here are 10 tips to help you understand what is (or ought to be) worthy of negotiation. [Read more…]

Book Review: Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts

Kevin Patton 2016-04-19_16-38-43One of the first experiences a textbook author will have is dealing with a publishing contract. Very few of us are attorneys ourselves and very few of us will have had any prior experience negotiating a publishing contract. Our expertise is in our teaching discipline—not in contract law.

I have learned—the hard way—that I should NOT be the only one looking at contracts and amendments presented to me by my publisher. I’ve therefore made it a habit to have an attorney specializing in textbook publishing contracts to review, suggest, and debate the points in anything I sign. Now I have a much better idea of the potential risks and rewards involved in each new professional writing project. [Read more…]

Work-for-hire or transfer of copyright? Understanding your rights

In the publishing world, the concepts of “work-for-hire” andcopyright collage art “transfer of copyright” can be challenging to navigate. Authors are often confronted in the publishing agreements by language that is vague and complicated, such as:

“The work will be a work-made-for-hire as defined by the Copyright Act, but, if the work is deemed not a work-for-hire, author hereby irrevocably transfers all right, title and interest in the work to the publisher for the entire term of copyright throughout the world.”

Why would a publisher prefer the work to be a work-for-hire than an outright transfer and what is the difference between a work-for-hire and an irrevocable transfer of all right, title and interest? To answer these questions, one must have a clear understanding of the definition of each practice. [Read more…]

Watch Fall 2015 TAA Webinars On Demand

On Demand PresentationsMissed any of TAA’s Fall 2015 webinars? View the recordings in TAA’s library of presentations on demand.

What is a Textbook Royalty Audit and How Do I Know If I Need One?

Juli Saitz, CPA, Senior Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group shares the steps involved in a textbook royalty audit and how to determine if you should conduct one to assert your contractual audit rights. [Read more…]

What is a typical rate for a textbook contributor?

Textbook PublishingQ: What is a typical rate for a textbook contributor? Do I have any negotiation power if I think the rate isn’t fair?

A: Lorraine Papazian-Boyce, author of ICD-10-CM/PCS Coding: A Map for Success, and the upcoming Pearson’s Comprehensive Medical Coding: ICD-10-CM/PCS, ICD-9-CM, CPT, HCPCS:

“I’ve contributed to dozens of projects for multiple publishers over the last 8-9 years. It is a wonderful way to get started in the field, gain credibility with a publisher, and earn money here and now. The rate for contributors depends on the type of content you’re being asked to develop, such as exercises, a chapter, supplements, etc. It also varies by field and publisher. [Read more…]

Top 11 Reasons to attend TAA’s 28th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference

Have you registered yet? Here are the top 11 reasons why you need to attend TAA’s 28th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference, June 19-20, in Las Vegas:

Follow the conference on Twitter using hashtag, #2015TAA.
Also, be sure to ‘Like’ our conference Facebook page!
See you in Las Vegas!

Refusal to publish: What you need to know

What would you do if your textbook publisher no_red pencilasked you to work on a 3rd edition of your textbook only to have them tell you they won’t publish it after you’ve worked on revisions for 14 months? That’s exactly what happened to TAA member and textbook author, Phil Tate. His publisher, McGraw-Hill, asked him to author a 3rd edition of his textbook. After working 14 months on the project and having a first draft of the text submitted to McGraw-Hill, Tate was told his book project was on “pause.” This meant his book was neither being cancelled nor was it being published. Ten months later Tate’s book was moved from “paused” to “cancelled.” Did he have any recourse? Hadn’t it been McGraw-Hill that initially asked Tate to write a revision for a 3rd edition? Tate questioned these things himself and started seeking answers from other authors and attorneys.

Below, Tate shares lessons learned and what textbook authors need to know to help protect themselves from possibly enduring the same fate. [Read more…]

Play your cards right: Register today for TAA’s 28th Annual Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference

TAA Playing CardsIt’s no gamble! Play your cards right and win big by attending the Text and Academic Authors Association’s annual conference. The two-day event will be held June 19-20, 2015 at The Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino, & Spa. Register by May 1 to receive the early registration rates . All rates increase by $50 starting May 2.

Don’t miss out on this outstanding program, featuring a wide variety of textbook and academic authoring sessions on writing strategies, digital book technology, navigating ebooks, social media marketing, negotiating better contracts, [Read more…]

Attendees participate in contract negotiation role-playing exercise

2014 TAA Conference attendees participate in contract negotiation role-playing exercise during Stephen Gillen’s “Legal Update” session.

Whose book title is it, anyway?

Zick Rubin

Zick Rubin

Professor Charlotte Smith, an up-and-coming young entomologist, decided to write a textbook for the always-popular, upper-level course on spiders.  After putting out a few feelers, she submitted a proposal to Six Legs Press, a leading publisher of  books about insects.  Six Legs loved the proposal and offered Professor Smith a contract. Charlotte was so abuzz with excitement—”tenure, here I come!” she yelled—that she signed the contract without even reading it.

[Read more…]