On Demand Webinar: 20 Tips & 20 questions for your next textbook deal

Stephen GillenIn this webinar, recorded at the 2016 TAA Conference on June 25, Stephen Gillen, a partner at Wood Herron & Evans, takes you on a tour of a typical textbook publishing contract, pointing out the highlights along the way – what’s usually negotiable; what’s often not negotiable; what questions to ask; and when to ask them.

The webinar is adapted from his book, Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts.

[Read more…]

‘Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts’ featured in ‘Wisconsin Bookwatch’

Blank square hardcover album templateThe following review of Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts was published in the June 2016 issue of Wisconsin Bookwatch, published by Midwest Book Review. It is being posted here with permission.


The forming of contracts to the benefit of authors is a subject never taught in any creative writing class or workshop but it is a vital and necessary skill — especially for writers of textbooks. In Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts, Stephen Gillen (a partner at the 145-year-old legal firm Wood Herron & Evans which specializes in intellectual property law) provides a complete and comprehensive course of instruction that is as ‘user friendly’ as it is do-it-yourself practical. [Read more…]

Apply for a TAA grant to offset academic or textbook writing expenses

grant writing folderLooking for funding to offset some of the expenses related to publishing your academic works or textbooks? TAA offers publication grants and contract review grants of up to $1,000.

The next grant application deadline is October 1. [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…]

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…]