‘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…]

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…]

Just released by TAA Press: ‘Guide to Textbook Publishing Contracts’

Guide to Textbook Publishing ContractsWhen it comes to negotiating your textbook publishing contract, you have more leverage than you think.

In this step-by-step guide by Stephen Gillen, a Partner at Wood Herron & Evans, you will learn the key provisions of a typical textbook contract and how to determine what’s important to you so that you can enter into the contract negotiation process better informed. Get the “better”, “best” and “better still” options you can consider when making decisions about what to negotiate.

As a bonus, we’ve included a list of 20 questions that you can employ to learn more about your publisher’s plans for, and expectations of, your work — information that will help you evaluate your leverage and your editor’s weaknesses. Buy your copy today.

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…]

[Infographic] TAA announces results of 2015 Textbook Author Survey

2016TAATextbookSurveyA survey of 403 textbook authors by the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) and digital book pioneer and industry expert June Jamrich Parsons has found that most have the same royalty rates for digital and print. Only 6 percent of respondents reported higher royalty rates for digital versions.

The survey, conducted for the first time this spring as part of a session on digital book publishing by Parsons at the 2015 TAA Conference, was a way to begin to quantify the range of royalties and contract options offered for print and digital textbooks. [Read more…]

Join us 11/12 for the TAA Webinar: ‘Negotiating (or Renegotiating) Your ​Textbook ​ Publishing Agreement: A Creative Focus on Business Terms’

Sean Wakely

While there are many aspects of an author-publisher relationship, the key component is your textbook publishing agreement. Publishing agreements determine the responsibilities of each party, as well as the deliverables, dates, revenue sharing in the form of royalties, and many other key elements.

Join us Thursday, November 12 from 4-5 p.m. ET for the TAA Webinar, “Negotiating (or Renegotiating) Your Textbook Publishing Agreement: A Creative Focus on Business Terms”. In this webinar, Sean Wakely, Founder and Principal Advisor at Academic Author Advisers, will focus on the non-legal, negotiable business terms of publishing agreements, such as deadlines, royalty rates, art and illustration rendering, permissions, advances, grants, and responsibilities for supplements, and how you can position yourself to negotiate more favorable outcomes. Register [Read more…]

Join us 10/27 for the TAA Webinar ‘What is a Textbook Royalty Audit and How Do I Know If I Need One?’

Juli SaitzA textbook royalty audit can provide answers to the many questions authors have about their royalty payments and the distribution of their books, including: “How are my royalties being calculated when my book is packaged and sold with other books or content?”, “How am I being paid when a custom book is printed with some of my chapter content along with other content?”, and “My book was ranked in the top 5 on Amazon.com! Why haven’t I seen an increase in my royalty payments?”

Join us Tuesday, October 27 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET  for the TAA webinar, “What is a Textbook Royalty Audit and How Do I Know If I Need One?”, where CPA Juli Saitz from Ankura Consulting Group will share the steps involved in a textbook royalty audit and how to determine if you should conduct one to assert your contractual audit rights. Register today! [Read more…]

How to deconstruct and decipher your textbook royalty statement

royaltiesDeciphering 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…]

New 2015 TAA Fall Webinars – Improve Your Skills

TAA fall webinar seriesNow is the perfect time to start thinking about and planning your fall writing projects. Whether you are interested in learning the steps for developing a textbook, creating an online presence to build your academic brand, educating yourself on textbook royalty audits or publishing agreements, or how to write clearer academic pose, TAA’s fall webinar series for textbook and academic authors has you covered. Join us as various industry experts share their expertise on academic and textbook writing topics. Sign-up early to reserve your spot! Not a TAA member? Learn more about member benefits and join today. [Read more…]