Re: Tech Book Deal Details

Subject: Re: Tech Book Deal Details
From: jhedtke -at- OZ -dot- NET
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 12:40:32 PDT

In article <3glte0$623 -at- moon -dot- earthlink -dot- net>, <lti -at- earthlink -dot- net>

> I am in the process of submitting a technical book to various
publishers. I am new to the techwriting industry (my background is
in videogame software development) and was wondering if anyone could
give me some idea of what to expect when (and if) I go to the
negotiating table.

Richard Curtis's "How To Be Your Own Literary Agent" sums up much
of the negotiating process neatly. I don't use agents and don't tend
to recommend them, preferring strongly to do the work myself and
making the extra 15-20%.

Avoid simultaneous submissions to different publishers. They don't
like it.

I'd talk to some of the other authors in this forum and ask who they
have dealt with as a publisher and who they like/dislike. I like
Osborne/McGraw-Hill in Berkeley (talk to Jeff Pepper or Joanne
Cuthbertson, 1-800-227-0900), Peachpit Press in Berkeley (Ted Nace
["naiss"]), Ventana Press in NC (Elizabeth Woodman, 919-924-0220),
and MIS: Press in NYC (Cary Sullivan or Judy Brief). Speaking for
myself, I can't think of any circumstances that would be likely to
occur that would make me want to work for SAMS, Que, New Riders, or
Macmillan, but I emphasize that I speak for myself based on personal
preference. You should draw your own conclusions.

>I need a sense of the the advance/royalty rates one can expect.

Between 8 and 15% on publisher's net price (about 40-50% of the cover
price), and between $4000-6000 advance.

>>Also, how long is an author usually given to complete the book?

3-6 months, depending. Rarely "enough" time. :) (I've published 11
books, and it's never been "enough" time.)

>>Do the publishers generally handle all of the art, figures, and
photographs, or is the author supposed to create these?

That's a negotiable, and it depends on the type and quantity.

> Also - are there any good books out there that discuss both the
business and craft of professional technical writing?

Y'got me... I think that John Wiley & Sons has a good series for
tech writers (friends of mine have published books with them). But
I'm out of touch in that venue.

Yours Truly,

John Hedtke

*"Using Computer Bulletin Boards (3rd ed.)" *If my advice helps you *
*is just $29.95! If you want people to know *get published, please *
*why you're staring at the computer for *mention me in book's *
*hours, give 'em a copy! Dial 800-247-3912. *acknowledgements. *
*ISBN 1-55828-391-9. *Thanks! *

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