Re: Typical Book Deal?

Subject: Re: Typical Book Deal?
From: "Herman Holtz" <h -dot- holtz -at- worldnet -dot- att -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 06:42:20 -0500

You have, indeed, had a very bad time with your books. Those who write
for what many of us see as "computer book publishers," seem to have these
several problems far more often than those of us who write for the
conventional trade book publishers. In writing more than 80 books for trade
book publishers (over more than 20-odd years) I ran into such a difficulty
only once of a publisher who approved my outline and all submissions until I
had submitted the complete manuscript, and then he decided he didn't find it
accpetable. So I am sure it can happen anywhere and at any time. However,
there is no question that there seem to be special difficulties in writing
"computer books."

You don't say whether your husband was paid the $12,000 advance or what
attitude the publisher took in re the advance they paid (if they did).
Normal practice is that the advance is the publisher's risk, and the
publisher does not get the advance back if he--the publisher--calls a halt
to the project. On the one pronlem of this sort I had with a trade book
publisher, I did return the advance because I was able to sell the book to
another publisher. IF I had not found another publisher for the book, I
would have refusd to return the advance.

Unreasonably short schedules, inadequate advances, and numerous other
assaults on the author's rights are commonplace. There isn't enough space
here to deal with all the problems, but it's a good idea to find an agent
to represent you if you are going to write a book and do not know what are
normal, acceptable contract terms. - Herms

> I wrote three books in 2000. I can say several things.
> >
> > 1) Rigorous deadlines. To write an Oracle book we were given 3 months, a
> > $12,000 advance, and nothing but problems. We get 10% royalties. My
> husband
> > is an accomplished programmer, smarter then most, and has been using
> Oracle
> > for 6 years. His book was found unacceptable after 6 months. The
> > got the whole book and then decided he didn't like it.

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