• June 28, 2016
June 28, 2016, 9:52:56 pm *
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Author Topic: Publisher-up front payment  (Read 667 times)
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« on: June 05, 2016, 4:24:33 am »

I have been contacted by a publisher to write a book. I have written 2 books before with another publisher, but in those I got loyalty  10% from the total sales. This one pays up front. How would you decide what to accept?

I know eventually I will get paid so less, but having a book is really cool, and a book I wrote is in the libraries of the best universities  is priceless.

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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2016, 11:11:26 pm »

You've already published 2 books, and presumably large libraries at research universities have them. So, why the need to feel cool?  But to me it sounds like a way to rip you off, especially if the book is successful. It seems disreputable to me.
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2016, 11:25:25 pm »

In other words this is a "work-for-hire"?   Those are usually not scholarly books, in my experience, but more popular-market kinds of books: "An Introduction to So-and-So," or whatever.   That also accords with the fact that the publisher approached you rather than the other way around.  This is a perfectly legitimate business model, but not for everyone.   I have done both kinds. 

Is English your native language?  I would guess not from your post.  If not, you would want to make sure that there is a mechanism in place for someone to edit your English, with the question of who is going to pay for that settled up front.  One part of most work-for-hire contracts is that they will be free to reject the manuscript (usually with a small "kill fee") if it is unpublishable, which a manuscript with imperfect English would be.  So you would want to settle whether they will edit the English at their expense, or whether they expect you to find someone to do it at your expense.

Assuming it is published, it will be in the "libraries of the best universities," because those are libraries that buy a wide range of books; but I wouldn't do it for the coolness factor alone.  Make sure it fits into your career plans.  Are you an early-career academic?  In what country?  You will want to make sure this book will help your career rather than merely slowing it down because you're writing a sizeable book.  At a certain stage of the career, writing an introductory, widely-selling book shows that you're arrived as an authority, but some aspects of this could be just a time-waster.

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
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