TUNE-IN TUESDAYS: Helpful Navigation for Authors

NWU Book Division online programs

Hi! Dan McCrory (Book Division Chair) and Tim Sheard here. We have heard you and we are responding to requests to deal with issues that authors face. Since early January, we’ve been tackle issues with guest experts. Invite your writer friends – union or not – to sit in. The live program will be presented free, but if you want to take a second look or you missed the previous week, dip into the archives, my brothers and sisters, and join the union, if you haven’t already!

TUNE-IN TUESDAYS – Royalties, Compensation & Distribution Issues for Book Authors


  1. The Trinity of Choices: Commercial, Self- or Hybrid Publishing? While many authors prefer finding a traditional commercial publisher, some choose one of the alternatives: self- or hybrid (vanity) press. What are the advantages? Disadvantages? What’s the difference between self-publishing and the hybrid model?
  2. Control of the print and distribution channels: Are a few distributors (Amazon, Ingram, Baker & Taylor) disenfranchising independent and self-pub’d authors? Are they depressing publisher profits, and therefore royalty rates? Are there alternative, affordable channels that offer a better compensation? Can website and event sales make up for low compensation rates? Can authors secure a fairer share of the list price from publishers or distributors? Can alternate print & distribution companies offer better compensation?
  3. The Contract: Why the query letter is the most important piece of writing you will ever compose. Do you really need an agent? Yes, you can negotiate better terms for your contract.
  4. Every writer needs an editor: A good editor makes a good writer better. Every writer needs a set of eyes to pick up bad habits, lazy pieces of writing and detours off the right path.
  5. Dazzling Designs: What makes a compelling book cover? A clean Interior design? Publisher logo? Learn graphic design and layout tips from a master of the art.
  6. “Honey, I’m going to make you a star!”: Are there any marketing consulting services or sites that pay off in increased sales?  (I know too many authors burned by high fees with NO sales).
  7. Reviews & Blurbs: How can authors (traditionally or self-published) garner more and better reviews – should they ever pay for reviews? Why are they important for sales?
  8. Keep Your Spirits Up: How do authors stay hopeful and even happy in this lonely craft?
  9. Protect your Intellectual property!: Why registering your work with the US Copyright Office is the only secure way to protect your licensing rights.
  10. The Social Media Soup: What online platforms do you need to develop? How do you mine them to build your brand? Can you sell directly from those platforms, and, if so, what is the profit margin?
  11. Hardcover Conversions: What are the low-cost avenues for converting your paperback book to a hardcover? Should you go with case laminate or dust cover? What is the profit margin?
  12. Authors Helping Authors: Where do authors stay on the author’s book tour? Reviews, blurbs.
  13. Audio books: How do we get the best deal? Is it better to deal with a small independent or ACX? Flat fee for service or revenue sharing?
  14. Customers: Libraries and nonprofit/movement organizations, unions
  15. Fair use: How much is plagiarism? What are the rules?
  16. Collaboration with one or more small presses?