Dan Balow’s Tips for Developing Digital Contracts

Digital Definition Magnifier Freedigitalphotos Stuart MilesBy Joanne Kim

If you are licensing content from a publisher or contracting directly with an author, evaluate not only the print rights, but digital rights as well. Consider these key elements when developing new contracts for digital publications:

1. Electronic rights
Be sure to contextualize the electronic rights that you would like to establish. Important aspects to consider are the rights to adding supplementary materials, translating, and publishing special editions. Keep in mind that these supplements to the electronic versions will not always appear in the print version.

2. Author copies
Since there may not be actual copies to give to the author, think of a creative way to distribute the author’s copies in a digital form. For instance, you could use a promotional code to let the author gain access to download his or her copy of the e-book.

3. Rights Reversion
Printed books go out of print. E-books do not. Use a number of books sold or a minimum royalty threshold for a book to be reverted or discontinued publishing if sales dip below those levels during a year.

Stay aware of the evolving world of digital publishing with these resources:
-Agile Publishing shares its innovative publishing model through a presentation of 25 slides.

-“Every book is a startup” (webinar) provides a roadmap for publishing professionals interested in bringing a fresh, entrepreneurial approach to the business of book publishing.

Do you have any tips to add? Tell us.

portraits of Dan Balow taken April 9, 2010This article was excerpted from Dan Balow and Carlo Carrenho’s webinar for MAI, “Thinking and Doing Digital Publishing.” Listen to the webinar archive.

Check out our free upcoming webinars.

Graphic above courtesy Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos

Don’t Get Left Behind! Stay current with these online resources

By Ramon Rocha III, MAI director of publisher development

What’s new? With technology churning at a fast clip, writers, editors, book designers and publishers need to keep updated with the latest news, trends and ways of doing things in the print and digital world. This short list of websites and blogsites is our humble attempt to help you stay current.

*We apologize sincerely, we are experiencing technical difficulties. Some of our links were dysfunctional below where there is an asterisk. We have included the URL for you to copy/paste into your web browser.

For publishers:
Digital Book World
offers educational and networking resources for consumer Thumbs up Guy at Laptoppublishing professionals and their partners online and in person.
Publishing Perspectives is an online magazine of international book publishing news and opinions.
Book Business is a leading publication for book publishing executives that evolves with the changes in the book market.
Publishers Weekly is a weekly news magazine focused on the international book publishing business.
O’Reilly spreads the knowledge of innovators and expert early adopters to everyday users through books, conferences, news reportage, videos, and classes.
The Shatzkin Files features blogs and speeches by Mike Shatzkin, a widely acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry.
Emedia Vitals serves marketing and media professionals who are increasingly leveraging digital media.
*-PaidContent (paidcontent.org) has an audience of 5.5 million monthly unique readers who rely on its coverage of cloud, mobile, cleantech, and consumer web media.
*-MindTools (mindtools.com) provides cloud-based training solutions to companies and government agencies worldwide.
HubSpot is ranked as the world’s #1 inbound marketing software platform in g2crowd.com and has over 10,000 customers.
SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.

For writers and editors:
*-Books & Such Literature Management
(www.booksandsuch.com) is a literary agency that helps each author reach his or her writing and publishing goals.
Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, who often pens helpful articles for writers. Check out this one on writing book proposals.
Jane Friedman is a co-founder and co-editor of Scratch Magazine, and an editor at the national award-winning journal, the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Yates & Yates serves as creative counsel for top-tier authors, artists, and creative organizations.
Chip MacGregor has a comprehensive knowledge of the industry—from book development to writing, acquisition to production, marketing to sales.
Christian Writers offers discussion forums, tool, resources, and reading materials for Christian writers.
Writers Digest provides various resources, online communities, and forums for writers to celebrate their writing life and discuss what it means to be a writer in today’s publishing environment.
The Steve Laube Agency is a literary agency focused primarily on the Christian marketplace in the USA. International friends may find helpful blog posts under “Book Proposals” and “The Business Side.”

For book designers:
The Book Cover Archive
features countless book covers.

Ian Darke, coordinator of Letra Viva, contributed these websites for Spanish language speakers:

For publishers and others: 
Letra Viva (www.letraviva.com) is a network of evangelical book publishers in Spanish-speaking Latin America.
*-PublishNews (publishnews.com.br)in Portuguese, is an affiliate of Publishing Perspectives.

For writers:
(adece.es)is a Christian writers group, based in Spain.
*-Aventura de Escribir (www.aventuradeescribir.com) is the MAI-related writers’ blog in Spanish.
*-RAE (rae.es) All Spanish writers should use this site of the Real Academia Española, which covers Spanish language usage around the world.

What other websites do you find helpful to keep up with the latest in publishing?

Photo above courtesy David Castillo Dominici, Freedigitalphotos

Dan Balow’s 5 Steps to Begin Publishing for a Digital Market

By Joanne Kim, MAI intern

1. Learn… about digital trends
First, learn and be aware of what kinds of digital trends are working in your region/country.Smiling girl with books and tablet Freedigitalphotos Different countries are on different tracks. For instance, has Amazon moved into your area yet? If so, take note that it is a major turning point in the region’s digital market.

2. Focus… on the principle of 80/20
The principle of 80/20 refers to how most publishers gain 80 percent of their sales from about 20 percent of their products. Focus your efforts on this 20 percent.

3. Prioritize… make best products available first
Consider these beginning steps to digital publishing as a gradual process. Try not to worry too much about turning everything digital at once. Instead, most importantly, get started today.

4. Publish… two current and important products
A short product only takes about 1 to 2 months in an aggressive approach to be created and distributed. Take risks and try your hand at publishing a short product or two. This experience will help you gain perspective on how to change your processes in your company.

5. Look ahead… 1-2 years
Reflect and consider how you can create more short, topical titles to address specific needs. Continue to publish more books on a regular basis.

portraits of Dan Balow taken April 9, 2010This article was excerpted from Dan Balow and Carlo Carrenho’s webinar for MAI, “Thinking and Doing Digital Publishing.” Listen to the webinar archive.

Check out our free upcoming webinars.

Photo above courtesy of Freedigitalphotos

Beyond Talent: What every writer needs to succeed

By Beng Alba-Jones

No writer worth his salt will say that writing is easy. No, it is not. Writing, in its essence, is rewriting. It’s taking a mound of ideas and, like Michelangelo, shaping it until you can see your David.  Becoming a great writer requires more than raw talent. You need to be ready to persevere. And persevere some more.

writers clock by Linda RohrboughIt took J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of one of the greatest epics ever, The Lord of the Rings, 17 years to finish his masterpiece.

The Bible is filled with stories of people who persevered. Abraham waited for the fulfillment of God’s promise, a son, for 25 years.

Joseph had to go from job to job, with prison time stuck in between, before he became Chief Steward in all of Egypt.  His ascent to power also involved waiting, which I estimate to be more than 25 years too.

And who can forget Noah? To build an ark when the earth had not flooded at all? The first time Noah was mentioned, he was 500 (Gen 5:32). He finally entered the ark at age 600 (Gen 7:6).

I, too, have done my share of persevering and waiting in writing and publishing—for the writing muse to visit me, to hear from my editor/publisher, for the next big idea.

I have seen the rewards of waiting that the authors I have worked with received. One manuscript gathered dust for 3 years before OMF Lit finally published it. It has sold more than 70,000 copies since 2010. That’s like reaching Twilight bestseller status in the Philippines.

God calls us to faithfulness. If He gives us something to do, our job is to keep at it until it’s done. The outcome of our hard work is out of our hands.

No matter how many rewrites it takes for our story, poem, essay, article, or any other piece of writing to be considered done, let us not lose heart. Writing is hard—sometimes, backbreakingly hard. You exchange sleep for trying to string words together in front of your computer. You disrobe of your pride and privacy in pursuit of transparency. Despite these sacrifices, not everyone will like your work. You will experience self-doubt and battle feelings of rejection.

But if you think that you have been called and gifted by God to write, then write with the determination of a runner on his last marathon. Be encouraged by the author of 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

The harvest might be tens of thousands of copies sold and enough royalties to enable you to retire early or fly to LittWorld 2015 in Singapore. Or it might be the changed life of one stranger who was inspired by what you wrote.

Writing is a silent yet powerful way to change the world. I, a Filipino, believe that for we do not have Jose Rizal, a writer, for a national hero for nothing.

thingreatypoThis article was originally published in full length form on Beng’s blog as “On Writing and Waiting.”

Beng Alba-Jones is a freelance writer, children’s book author and a translator/editor for OMF Literature in the Philippines. She has recently exchanged the busy streets of Manila for the quiet city of Mebane, North Carolina, where she resides with her loving husband, Daren.