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…]
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…]
In the publishing world, the concepts of “work-for-hire” and “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…]
Deciphering textbook royalty statements to determine whether royalties being reported are accurate can be frustrating for both first time and veteran textbook authors.
Royalty calculations should be relatively straightforward. That is, the contractually agreed-upon royalty rate for the Work multiplied by the earnings received by the publisher. However, add in escalation clauses, various rates for different sales categories or channels, co-authorship, packaged products, electronic materials, custom editions, abridgements, agreed-upon deductions, returns for reserves, specific definitions of earnings, multiple titles in various editions etc., and the calculation of royalties becomes much more complex. [Read more…]