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…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: January 8, 2016

You always get the best ideas when there is no pen or paper around.The holidays are over and it’s time to get back into the swing of work, writing, and finding balance. Did you set any writing resolutions or intentions this year? As is typical this time of year, many of the posts below are focused around writing resolutions. There are, however, other excellent articles on textbook proposals and contracts that are a must read.

Happy writing! [Read more…]

Textbook contract negotiations: Do your homework

Textbook Contract NegotiationWhen it comes to contract negotiations, you have to do your homework, says Steve Gillen, partner at Wood, Herron & Evans, where he concentrates his practice on publishing, media, and copyright matters.

“Negotiations are ultimately influenced by which side knows the most about the other side’s positions. The editor starts this contest with an advantage gained from experience in the market, experience doing other [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…]

Hudson, Whisenhunt receive TAA Textbook Contract Review Grant

Brooke Whisenhunt


Danae Hudson


Danae Hudson and Brooke Whisenhunt have been awarded a TAA Textbook Contract Review Grant for their textbook, Introductory Psychology, to be published by Pearson Education.

“Being a textbook author for the first time is exciting, yet can also be overwhelming and expensive. I am so grateful for the support from TAA, not only from the contract review grant, but all of the resources and information they provide,” said Hudson, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Missouri State University.

“Trying to negotiate a textbook contract for the first time can certainly be a daunting process. Having support from the TAA to obtain legal advice helped make this process much more manageable. We are very grateful for this support and for the resources and contacts available through the TAA,” said Whisenhunt, a professor of psychology at Missouri State University.
[Read more…]

What to consider before signing your first textbook contract

The following advice came from a 2014 TAA Conference royaltiesRoundtable Discussion led by Mike Kennamer and Steven Barkan, entitled, “What I Wish I Had Known Before I Signed My First Textbook Contract”:

“Be prepared that some books don’t make money.” – Steven Barkan

“$3,000 would be a good advance for most first time textbook authors.” – Attorney Zick Rubin

“I received a grant rather than an advance for my text. A grant is better because it isn’t an advance against royalties.” – Mike Kennamer

“You don’t want snapshot quality photos in your textbook. Hire a professional or purchase professional photos.” – Mike Kennamer
[Read more…]

Contract negotiation exercise involves candy

The second textbook contract negotiation exercise during Stephen Gillen’s “Legal Update” session involved candy! No verbal or nonverbal conversation was involved. Showed how conversation was critical to the negotiation process.

Cunningham receives a TAA Textbook Contract Review Grant

Mark CunninghamMark Cunningham has been awarded a TAA Textbook Contract Review Grant for his textbook, Neoclassical Physics, to be published by Springer.

Cunningham received his Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from Yale University in 1982, working with Franco Iachello. After leaving Yale, he worked on remote sensing and non-destructive testing applications in industry before teaching at the University of Texas system campuses for nine years. His new book is an outgrowth of that experience.

“I was very excited and deeply gratified to learn that the Text and Academic Authors Association had awarded me a grant to seek legal advice for my forthcoming book Neoclassical Physics,” he said. “While I did learn a bit about negotiation while in grad school and subsequently, negotiating legal contracts with publishers is an arena where I certainly need professional help. The TAA grant award has enabled me to obtain detailed direction from a literary attorney and has undoubtedly resulted in a more favorable contract than I would have been able to obtain personally.” [Read more…]