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: Richard Hull, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy:

“There are several considerations against recycling material from one book in another. First, it robs you are your first publisher of a potential sale. If you lead the reader to whatever you think important in the second book that is found in the first, but don’t ‘give it away,’ you might find the reader buys the first book to get all of what he or she finds sketched in the second. Consider including in your second book only a minimal indication of what you showed so brilliantly in the first, in hopes that the engaged reader will want to know the full story. You might even interest your first book’s publisher in publishing the second one as a second, companion volume to the first. [Read more…]