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Subject:Popular book contract From:diane haugen <dhaugen -at- BARNESVILLE -dot- POLARISTEL -dot- NET> Date:Thu, 14 Dec 1995 11:29:26 -0600
Hi, Yvonne. About some of your book publishing questions=8A
It's not real clear to me whether a publisher has approached you to write
this book, or your software company wants to have you write it for them.
This would be a critical point in copyright ownership. If you write it for
a software company who employs you, or even who pays you to write it when
you're not an employer, the work is considered work for hire and the
software company will own the copyright.
If you are writing this for a publisher and taking payment only in the form
of an advance from the publisher, you should be sure the publisher allows
you to retain the copyright.
Alexander Kopelman's -The National Writers Union Guide to Freelance Rates &
Standard Practice- covers contracts and payment and copyright very
thoroughly. It's published by the National Writers Union and is $19.95. I
just picked it up in Barnes and Noble a few months ago, so you shouldn't
have much trouble locating a copy.
The National Writers Union home page is at http://www.nwu.org/nwu/, but
they don't have much that is downloadable except for a couple of documents
on electronic publishing rights. This organization is very expensive to
belong to, but they aggressively pursue copyright infringement cases.
As to self-publishing, marketing is the critical factor. Most
self-publishers do not have the resources or the time to adequately market
their own books. Just the same, many many people are self-publishing now
because the major publishers seem only interested in buying names. On the
other hand, there are now many internet cites that promote books, so the
job of marketing, particularly a YAWA, should be easier than it has been in
If speed of publication is an issue, going the publisher route will be
slower than self-publishing or on-line publishing. Some publishers are now
planning their 1997 publishing list. They've already acquired anything
they plan to publish in 1996.