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Six Things Authors Should Know About Copyright and Contracts

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This is it. You’ve made it. You’ve gotten a call from an agent, or you’ve received a contract from a publisher, or you’re taking that step to put your books up for sale as an indie author. This is your moment to shine and take on the world! But wait … let’s hit pause for a moment. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that creative individuals allow our emotions to rule us so…

Book Cover Trends in 2024

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As I turned to face the thousands of options lining my library’s shelves, I asked my librarian, “How do you pick which books to read?” I hoped that she might tip me off to a trade journal or confirm the importance of word-of-mouth recommendations. Her neck blushed pink before she paused and leaned toward me. “To be honest? I read books based on their covers.” A nervous laugh seemed to indicate …

Interview: Assuring the Authentic Voice in Modern Literature

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In January 2020, the novel American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins hit bookstores after months of positive reviews and being selected to Oprah’s Book Club. Then Latinx critics called out the book detailing a Mexican bookseller crossing the U.S. border to escape a drug cartel as perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Cummins is not Mexican, although claims Puerto Rican heritage, and critics repeated what th…

Books Bans: Author Voices

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It only takes a cursory perusal of today’s news coverage to happen upon a fight about book banning. It seems to be increasing in frequency, which is concerning to those of us who write books and believe in the freedom of expression. Like most aspects of human progression over time, book banning goes in cycles. And we repeatedly have to push back against it. The beginning of book banning Chinese…

Understanding and Fighting Back Against Harassment

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In 2013, a big-name editor at a major sf/f publishing house lost his job after multiple reported incidents of sexual harassment. Among the reports and stories shared around this time was an author who reported that after she signed with this publisher, other writers had quietly warned her about this editor. She’d signed with them in 2002. In other words, this editor’s harassment wasn’t a one-ti…

Self-Publishing Your Audiobook: Royalty Share or Not? (The $26,000 Lesson)

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Of my 16 self-published books, only half are in audiobook format. This is mostly due to the significant underwriting cost of bringing each to market (from $1,500 to $3,000 each). I have tried various methods for getting these to market, including selling my audio rights to a traditional publisher and self-publishing—either by underwriting the cost myself or royalty sharing with no up-front cost…