Re: writing books

Subject: Re: writing books
From: jhedtke -at- OZ -dot- NET
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 00:24:37 PDT

In article <3ehc87$gsp -at- newsbf02 -dot- news -dot- aol -dot- com>, <cjbenz -at- aol -dot- com> writes:

> I myself have written five computer books, collaborated on two more,
technically reviewed one, and contributed to yet another--all for
Ziff-Davis Press. I've only entered one so far in an STC competition, and
I'm waiting to see how I do. (Fingers tightly crossed...)

Good luck!

> ZDP is a great publisher to write for, but I'm always exploring
possibilities with other publishers. Any and all leads, of course, would
be appreciated...

I always recommend going to the bookstore and looking at the books in a
given category from various publishers. Note the ones you like and that
you don't like. Go to another category and do the same. You'll quickly
note that you really like some publishers' styles and approaches, are so-so
about some of the others', and dislike yet still others'. Go for the ones
you like.

> Two things I'm struggling with now are:
> 1) How do you recognize (and get) a good contract based on royalties?
> 2) How do you fill the inevitable and sometimes unexpected gaps between
> books? I perform classroom training and curriculum development when
> possible, but I'd appreciate other ideas.
> 3) How do you convince Microsoft that they should give you a Beta of
> Windows 95?

Uh, that's three things. :)

Let's see:

1. the max anyone gets for royalties on a whole book is about 15% of
publisher's net. An okay deal is 12-14%. A poor deal (IMO) is anything
less. There are some escalator clauses that you want to avoid (covered in
Curtis's book) but that's the basic rate.

2. One of the reasons that I like to work with several publishers is that
I can avoid gaps. Mind ewe, I also was doing technical consulting, and I'd
do two things at once frequently. (I don't recommend this as a life style
to anyone, but one *can* do it.) Keep lining up books a few months in advance.

3. I have no idea, honestly. Somebody in the group must know.

Yours Truly,


John Hedtke

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