Anatomy of a Book Deal: Negotiating a Book Contract

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Publishing: 7 Things Lessons Learned From My First Book Deal

My background is in geology and astronomy. Tom, a naturalist, has a background in physics. Since writing The Handy Dinosaur Answer Book, first published in , we also have written books for VIP on oceanography, geology, mathematics, biology, and nutrition. There is a great deal of cross-over in our work, but in general, Tom does much of the research, while I do most of the writing.

We both do editing. All the Handy Answer books — including ours — are for general audiences.

The Handy Anatomy Answer Book is a completely revamped and updated version of a book initially produced by two other authors in It includes hundreds of questions and answers. The "sub rights" department sells the contractual rights to use the content of books in a variety of forms, from foreign translations to motion pictures. The marketing department is responsible for the marketing strategy of individual books, as well as coordinating the efforts of the promotion art department, which is generally responsible for the design and production of marketing materials.


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The marketing department also works closely with advertising either in-house or with an ad agency to create ads, as dictated by budget and strategy. Social media marketing efforts sometimes fall under title marketing or in a more general online marketing department. The publicity department is responsible for reaching out to the media print, radio, television, etc.

For most houses, setting up book signings and book tours also falls to the publicity department.

Copyright, work for hire, and other rights issues

Outreach to bloggers sometimes falls under publicity, but can also be covered by the marketing department. In addition to book-centric functions, publishing houses share the same sorts of departments as any large business entity. The HR department assists with the recruitment and hiring of talent, as well as benefits and other issues pertaining to the employees of the publishing house.

Only then will they be fit to be let loose on the world. Some editors I've worked with have been barely literate. Some were rule-following robots.

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Some were just not very bright. The one I have now is extremely good and, I have to say, even if I never make a cent from my contracts with Momentum, I'd be tempted to stick with them just so I don't have to work with poor editors ever again. Because I don't enjoy the business side of self-publishing, and because I am generally disillusioned with small publishers, I have decided I only want to be published through big publishers — preferably the Big 6 or however many there are left now.

This is where the magic happens

It is this function, interfacing with publishers who otherwise refuse to speak to me, for which an agent is invaluable. I simply can't do business without one. I think it's because I'm a chronically shy, introverted type, that I have never really seen it before but people will help you.

Park & Fine Literary and Media

Other writers will help you. You don't have to do it alone. In fact, I was never able to do it alone and any success I've had is traceable the kindness of other people. Asking for help might seem like the hardest thing in your life even worse than asking for sales but I'm discovering that you don't always even need to ask. People are just that darned nice! Do you have any questions about moving to a traditional publisher? Or any experiences of your own to share? Please leave your comments below.

Graham Storrs is a science fiction writer living in rural Queensland. A former research scientist, IT consultant and award-winning software designer, his published non-fiction includes three children's science books, over a hundred magazine articles, and more than thirty academic papers and book chapters, in the fields of artificial intelligence, psychology, and human-computer interaction. In recent years he has turned his attention to writing science fiction and has published over twenty short stories in magazines and anthologies.

Graham recently signed a two-book deal with Momentum, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, to publish his time travel thriller, Timesplash , and its sequel, True Path. Find Graham's books through Amazon, Kobo, or iTunes, and feel free to chat to him on Twitter graywave or on his blog.

This is a great article! Thanks, Sarah. Partly this is because good editors are more professional and the process is more efficient and flows more smoothly. Partly it is because poor editors will make lots of very poor suggestions which I then have to consider and reject — sometimes argue against. What constitutes a poor suggestion?

In fact there are perfectly legitimate was to use that verb, particularly for the various past tenses, which do not use the passive voice and are grammatically correct. It was very frustrating having to argue such a silly point with her. Structural edits are the killer here. In my view, a good editor will spot quite a few of these structural improvements while a poor editor will miss these precious opportunities to make the manuscript tighter and more solid. Of course, a good writer should spot them too — mea culpa! I found your article as I was searching the web for information on publishing.

Some have written personally encouraging me to compile my knowledge into a book.

Anatomy of a Publishing Contract, Part 1

The target market is: — advanced yoga practitioners, — yoga teachers looking to enhance their knowledge of Yoga Anatomy and Functional Alignment, and — Doctors, Physical Therapists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Fitness Instructors, Personal Trainers, etc. Any suggestions on which publishing company I should try and pitch this idea to? There is not a lot of literature on Yoga Anatomy and no one is presenting the material in my unique and original format.

Please let me know if you have any advice for me. I am writing a book about being a woman firefighter in an urban city. Start Here! Tweet Share