Q&A: Images are an integral part of your book, but how do you find an artist for creating them?

Q: “How do you find an artist for images in a text or trade book? Who pays? At what point is the art done? If the images are an integral part of the book, how does all of this work?”

A: Elsa Peterson, Freelance Editor, Norwalk, CT:

“Most of my experience is in college-level textbooks. In that industry, it is typically the publisher who hires the artist to render the images. The cost may come out of the author’s royalties or it may be part of the publisher’s investment, or some of both, depending on the terms of the author’s contract. Naturally the author is asked to submit ‘scrap’ (rough sketches, diagrams, and/or copies of similar images to what is desired) for the artist to work from. The author also typically gets to approve/suggest modifications to the renderings before they are final.

Q&A: What to do when a coauthor transitions toward retirement

Q: “My coauthor on several different titles is transitioning toward retirement. I will soon be starting a revision without his active participation. We have a succession agreement on the royalty split in future editions, so that’s (hopefully) not an issue. However two questions have risen to top of the swirl of concerns that I have as I face this transition: 1) Is this a good opportunity to renegotiate my authoring contract? I suspect that my publisher will want to simply change the authoring designations as an addendum to the current contract. Should I insist on a new contract? Should I avoid that if they insist on a new contract?; 2) Assuming that I should renegotiate, how likely is it that I’ll be able to break them out of their boilerplate?”

A: Stephen E. Gillen, Attorney, Wood Herron & Evans:

“Taking on 100 percent of the writing responsibility is essentially a new deal necessitating some change in the terms of the relationship (royalty share, to name but one important term). There is no magic to how this change in the relationship is memorialized. It can be by amendment or addendum or by substituting a new contract. What is important is that, however it is memorialized, you capture all of the relevant changes.

Q&A: What techniques do you use to cut clutter, wordiness, jargon, etc. from your writing?

Q: “What techniques do you use to cut clutter, wordiness, jargon, etc. from your writing?”

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

“What you don’t include in is just as important as what you do include. Splash your words on the page. Write your draft without regard to length or redundancy. Get the whole mess out there. First focus on and revise sentence-by-sentence. With each, only include the information that needs to be there to communicate the idea. NO EXTRA WORDS.

Q&A: What to consider when recycling content from writing project to writing project

Q: “A general question: You are writing a book — in one chapter, you wish to include information that you have used in another book with another publisher. What is the rule of thumb — if there is one — about how much information can be used and/or the level of changes necessary?”

A: Jay Devore, Professor Emeritus, Department of Statistics, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo:

“I’ve been thinking about this issue because a colleague and I are thinking about collaborating on a business statistics book (introductory statistics for a business audience). I have written statistics books for engineers and also for a general audience — 4 in total, all published by Thomson. But Thomson (actually their subsidiary Southwestern) already has a full stable of business stat books, so may not be interested in publishing another one.

Q&A: Tips on copyrighting your completed textbook

Q: “I have recently completed a textbook, and am searching for a publisher. Should I have the book copyrighted?”

A: Mary Ellen Lepionka, author of Writing & Developing Your College Textbook: A Comprehensive Guide:

“You can, or the publisher can do that for you in your name. The publisher typically pays the fee and sends two finished copies to the Library of Congress when the book is out. Request that the publisher register the copyright in your name, which is normal unless you have permanently assigned copyright to the publisher. My understanding is that in signing the publishing contract you do assign exclusive copyright use to the publisher (hopefully for a specified time rather than indefinitely), after which rights can revert to the author. However, an original work is ultimately, automatically, the property of its author or creator, which is a separate function from granting rights.