Some questions about publishing

Subject: Some questions about publishing
From: David and Susan Suna <suna -at- CNCT -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 16 Jul 1995 22:25:36 -0400

Recently, a publisher responded to my proposal to publish a hands on
tutorial of WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows. This book is written for lawyer's
assistants and law secretaries. It uses examples that are encountered in
the law firm. The publisher has a small press and basically publishes law
texts that are distributed to paralegal schools, law secretary programs and
libraries. It is not distributed to bookstores that reach the general
public, such as Barnes and Noble. This means that the likelihood of
royalties is slim to none.

The book will be approximately 300 pages long. I have estimated that
writing the first draft will take approximately 3 months if I work 40 hrs a
week. I figure with rewrite etc. the project will take 6 months.

As this is my first commercial project I have a number of questions:

1. What is a reasonable amount to expect/request for an advance? An hourly
wage of $20/hr would work out to $19,200. Given that there will probably
not be any royalties is this a feasible goal to shoot for? If not, what
would be more realistic?
2. Does the time frame sound realistic? Or does it sound like I am trying
to produce too much in too short a time span? Or vice versa?
3. The publisher mentioned possibly following up with other similar books
in a series. How would this affect the relationship? Would this affect the
amount of an advance I should ask for now or the amount of future advances?
4. If they decide not to publish my work do I have to return the money?
How can I protect myself?
5. What about copyrights? Would it be possible to retain the right to
market the book to another publisher that would reach a wider market? In
what time frame would I be able to try something along those lines?
6. Is this type of book a good candidate for translation? What do I need
to know about translation rights if anything?
7. What if the publisher asks for a huge amount of changes to the first
draft - thus the project will take more time than expected - anyway of
raising my pay?
8. Any other advice you may have would be greatly appreciated

Please send comments via e-mail and I will send a summary to the list.


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