Textbooks-to-trade shift not always easy

The trade book market can be lucrative, so it’s no wonder some indexingtextbook authors have their hands dipped into both pots. But how can a textbook author “cross over” to trade? Most literary agents agree that being academically published gives trade book-author wannabes extra credibility, but the question is, does the textbook author have what it takes to write for the trade book market. [Read more…]

What royalty rate should you expect for trade books?

Q: “A friend of mine has an extraordinary self-published book of photos that has garnered the attention of a national publisher but he has no idea what a reasonable royalty rate would be, and I have no idea if it would be anything akin to text royalties. I’d describe his work as similar to any other professional photographer level coffee table book (think of a book on nature, national parks, flowers, etc). Does anyone have any idea what any standard royalty rate for this genre of books is?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, Founder, Atlantic Path Publishing:

“Standard advance for books of that kind is in the 10k – 25k range. Standard royalty rate is 10% of net, but offers typically range between 7.5% and 12.5% of net for a textbook. Coffee table books are notoriously expensive to produce at quality.” [Read more…]

How to find a publisher that will be interested in your book

Q: “I am working on my first book on an unconventional subject. How can I know the probability that publishers will be interested in publishing my book?”

A: Andrew Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Holistic Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato:

“Two ways that I’ve used: 1) Examine books that have a similar topic or theme. See who publishes them; 2) Perform an internet search putting in your general topic and the word publisher. Get a sense for a company’s mission and publishing market.”

How to penetrate the university trade book market

Q: “I am a new author of a book on managing a construction firm. I have several adoptions by professors teaching construction courses at the college level, but I would like to penetrate the university market more. I have been making quiet contact through email to them. Is there a better way? I have attended an educators conference in construction and that has been a very good introduction to several people and plan to go back to their summer meeting.”

A: Myrna Bell Rochester:

“I am guessing that your book is with McGraw-Hill ‘Professional’ or ‘Trade’ (based in Chicago), and not with McGraw-Hill Higher Ed. (I write for both of them in a different field.) You are doing the right thing to make your book known, with your personal marketing and making contacts in your own area. Whereas the McGraw Higher Ed division has a very well developed marketing system, McGraw Professional doesn’t (to my knowledge) go to schools and universities to market individual titles. [Read more…]