Our authors are key partners in providing access to high-quality learning solutions for students and instructors. The nature of the relationship takes both business and creative forms, and it is important that our authors have access to experts who can answer their questions about both aspects quickly and authoritatively. Our Product Managers have always been, and continue to be, experts working directly with authors on the strategy and design of our learning solutions. We are now forming an Author Relations team to provide the same level of expertise to ensure the business side of the relationship is as robust and productive as possible.
Recently, we’ve received questions from authors and their representative organization about the new Author Relations team. To be as transparent as possible, we’re sharing these questions and our answers below.
Q: Will authors negotiate contract terms with Cengage’s Author Relations (AR) team rather than the product manager (PM)?
A: Yes. The Author Relations team is comprised of individuals who specialize in this area of the business and are well-suited to these conversations. The Product Manager will work closely with the AR team in the negotiations to supply necessary information for business terms that work for all parties, including learners.
Q: Will there be negotiations, or will there be a standard contract?
A: We have always used standard contracts as the starting point for our legal agreements. The negotiation of terms is often customized to meet the needs of the specific author and market situation.
Q: Will the AR team and the PM communicate about scope of work (making it a three-way discussion/negotiation)?
A: The PM will define the scope of work with the author. The PM will inform the AR representative of this scope as well as the business terms and contractual elements that should be considered in the negotiation. The AR rep will have the actual conversation where terms are negotiated and bring any suggested changes back to the PM to determine business viability.
Q: Will authors then have two points of contact: the PM and the AR team?
A: Yes. The PM and AR representative will be aligned closely to represent the different aspects of the Cengage-Author relationship. PMs will focus on the design, strategy and learning/teaching goals of the product with authors. The AR team will handle the intricacies of royalties and contracts. This new structure will ensure authors have access to dedicated specialists on both the learning and business sides, and ensure a more productive working experience for all parties.
Q: Does this diminish the role of the PM?
A: Not in the least. The PM and the author will continue to discuss the right strategy and approach to our learning solutions, while having an expert on-hand to handle royalties and contracts will allow authors and PMs to have more time to focus on the “creative” aspect of building learning solutions.
Q: Will the AR team be the go-to group for information about royalty reports? Will the AR team be able to give authors a heads up on sales before the royalty reports come out? Will the AR team be the communications link between authors and Cengage accounting?
A: The AR team will take lead on working with authors regarding royalties across the board. Each author will have an AR rep that they can call directly with questions of that nature.
Q: What does the sentence mean "Authors may continue to partner with their respective discipline product managers on ways to add value to their products?" Does "may" mean we have permission, or that it might/might not be necessary to partner with PMs in the future?
A: Re-reading this statement, we can understand the confusion with the use of “may.” Upon reconsideration, a better word choice would have been “will.” Authors will, without a doubt, continue their close partnership with their PM on the development of their products. This does not change with the introduction of the AR team.
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