Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Authors: Fight for Your Copyright!

Signing publishing contracts are now more dangerous than it was fifteen years ago. Because fifteen years ago, books would go out of print, and then the contract would end. Now, books don’t go out of print anymore, thanks to ebooks and audiobooks.

Kristin Kathryn Rusch: "I’m waiting for the first big lawsuit from a writer against a publisher, as the writer tries to find a new way out of a contract.  Musicians have been filing those lawsuits for years now, and for the most part, getting no traction due to their signatures on the dotted line. Not understanding the implications of what you sign is not a good defense in most contract cases.

International Entertainment Conglomerates
Traditional publishers learned how to revise their business to make even more money. These publishers will be around for a long time, and writers will continue to sign with them.  But writers need to know what they are up against.  They are not signing up for a partnership with a production and distribution company like they had in the past."

"Mostly, these days, writers are signing with an international entertainment conglomerate that wants to exploit its assets for as long as possible."

"Books have moved from widgets to assets on the conglomerate’s financial statements.  The contracts—and the hardball that publishers now play—reflect this move.  When writers do business with an international entertainment conglomerate, they should be prepared to walk away from what initially looks like a good deal.  Because, in most cases, the writers will lose the right to exploit that property themselves for the life of the copyright."   See more at

Contract Terms Writers Need to Know
Your words are your creation, your identity, and your currency, and scam artists will try to steal them from you.  Trade publishers will hand you a contract and claim “it’s standard, everyone signs it.” Don’t believe anyone. Every contract is negotiable, especially when you know what to negotiate.  Here are some basics terms to help you understand contracts:

A license is a right to use only. You, the creator, will retain actual ownership of the copyrighted work.  99% of the time, a writer will be granting a license (not an assignment).
A license is similar to a lease.  Suppose you are a landlord, and you lease portions of your property to various tenants.  You still own the building.  Some apartments may be exclusive to one tenant, while other portions, such as the lobby, may be used by all tenants and are non-exclusive.

Licenses may be exclusive or non-exclusive, worldwide or geographically-restricted, short-term or perpetual, royalty-free or royalty-paying, limited to particular formats such as audiobooks, print, e-books or language; the permutations are endless.
But you will only know what you are granting if you read the contract.  Carefully!

If you grant an exclusive license to a publisher, then this publisher has the right to stop everyone else from using your work, even you.
Never grant an exclusive license without understanding exactly what you are doing.  Never grant an exclusive license to someone who cannot exploit your work for your benefit.
There are contracts out there from vanity and trade publishers in which the writer grants the company an exclusive license in every format for the life of the copyright plus seventy years after your death.  Even the author cannot use her or his own work. 
These aggressive clauses are buried deep in the document. Search them out. If you see one, do not agree.

When you transfer actual ownership of creation, that transfer is called an assignment. An assignment is forever (with few exceptions), so do not use the word casually.  While a license may be terminated if the licensee fails to pay royalties or exceeds its rights, an assignment is rarely reversible.
But there are times when you want a full assignment of rights.  For instance, you hire a freelancer to create your cover, website or custom illustrations, then that freelancer should assign all rights to the final work to you upon completion and full payment.
An indemnity is a promise to defend and reimburse someone from a legal claim and economic loss.  As a writer, you will sign many agreements in which you “warrant” your work is original and non-infringing and you agree to indemnify the other party from any claim to the contrary. This means you must hire the attorneys and pay everyone’s legal fees, damage awards and settlement costs. 

Read all representations, warranties, and indemnities in your contracts. Ask the other party to explain what the contract means in an email, and save that email - and also consult an attorney. If you cannot make the warranties with confidence, then revise them to reflect reality.



Saturday, October 12, 2019

Glyphosate Exposure is DANGEROUS

Global Glyphosate Study Pilot Phase Shows Reproductive and Developmental Effects at ‘Safe’ Dose

Prof. Anderson Joel Martino Andrade, Federal University of Paraná:“This pilot study shows that the development of the reproductive system seems to be particularly sensitive to glyphosate and that formulated pesticides may have a different profile of toxic effects than isolated active ingredients.”
Recently, a French farmer has been proved right in a legal dispute as to whether damage to health is related to a herbicide from Bayer subsidiary Monsanto. The Lyon Court of Appeal ruled that Monsanto was responsible for "defective products.
The current organic farmer Paul François attributes serious health problems to the now banned weedkiller Lasso of Monsanto, with which he used to treat his fields. The farmer claims to have suffered severe neurological damage since inhaling herbicide vapors in 2004.

A new study has found that exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), including Roundup, caused reproductive and developmental effects in both male and female rats, at a dose level currently considered safe in the U.S. (1.75 mg/kg bw/day).
Exposure to GBHs was associated with androgen-like effects, including a statistically significant increase of anogenital distance (AGD) in males and females, delay of first estrous and increased testosterone in females.
AGD, the distance between the anus and the genitals, is a sensitive marker of prenatal endocrine disruption affecting the genital tract development. Exposure to different chemicals, including pesticides, has been linked previously to altered AGDs and other endocrine effects.
This is the fourth in a series of related papers from the pilot phase of the Global Glyphosate Study. The first results of the pilot phase of the study were presented to the European Parliament on May 16th, 2018. The previous peer-reviewed publications show that exposure to GBHs leads to other effects, including altering the gut microbiota of rats in early development, particularly before the onset of puberty.
The pilot phase of the study was performed by the Ramazzini Institute and a network of scientific partners including the University of Bologna, the Genoa Hospital San Martino, the Italian National Institute of Health, the University of Copenhagen, the Federal University of Paraná, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the George Washington University.
The € 300,000 study was funded by 30,000 members of the public in Italy, who are associates of the Ramazzini Institute cooperative.
crowd-funding campaign has been launched to help support a long-term comprehensive Global Glyphosate Study, which following these results is now urgently required.
Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in human history. 18.9 Billion pounds (8.6 Billion Kilograms) of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) have been sprayed worldwide since 1974. Glyphosate use has also increased 15-fold since genetically modified crops were introduced in 1996.
In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen”. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), following the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) evaluation, has since stated that glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans” and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) stated that “the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction”. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still has a new evaluation of glyphosate pending.
The scientific uncertainty surrounding glyphosate and GBHs has also led to political uncertainty, with a shortened 5-year re-approval for glyphosate having been granted by European Union Member States in November 2017.
The Ramazzini Institute and their partners have walked into this unclear situation so as to supply valuable and independent data to enable regulators, governments and the general public of every country to answer the question: Are glyphosate and GBHs safe at real-world levels of exposure?
The pilot study, which is vital for the long-term comprehensive study, aimed to obtain general information as to whether GBHs are toxic at various stages of early life (newborn, infancy, and adolescence), and to identify early markers of exposure and effect. Glyphosate and one of its formulates (Roundup Bioflow, MON 52276) were both tested in Sprague Dawley rats, starting from prenatal life until 13 weeks after weaning, exposed to a dose of glyphosate in drinking water corresponding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable daily dietary exposure, referred to in the U.S. as the chronic reference dose (cRfD) – 1.75 mg/kg/day.
Global Glyphosate Study: Crowdfunding
The Ramazzini Institute, with the support of other independent Institutes and Universities in Europe and the United States, has now launched a crowdfunding campaign for the most comprehensive long-term study ever on GBHs. A long-term study is now necessary to extend and confirm the initial evidence that has emerged in the pilot phase of the Study.
The total budget for this study is € 5 Million and it is already receiving support from the public, politicians, and NGOs around the world.
The Ramazzini Institute
The Ramazzini Institute, in over 40 years of activity, has studied more than 200 compounds from the general and occupational environment and many of its results have provided a solid scientific base for regulating and limiting the exposure of a number of substances. Examples include Vinyl Chloride, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, and Mancozeb.
Quotes from Scientists:
Prof. Philip J. Landrigan, Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, Boston College:
“This very important study from the Ramazzini Institute indicates that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, has negative effects on reproductive development in mammalian species even at exposure levels that are currently considered safe and legally acceptable. Although these findings are not definitive, they are very worrisome and need to be followed closely by national and international regulatory agencies.
Dr. Fiorella Belpoggi, Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, Ramazzini Institute
“A long-term study on GBHs encompassing intrauterine life through to advanced adulthood is needed to confirm and further explore the initial evidence of endocrine-related effects and developmental alterations emerged in this pilot study.”
Prof. Jia Chen, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City
“GBHs are of significant public health concern because of their widespread and sharply increased usage and we still do not know enough about their noncancerous effects, in particular in developing children.”
Dr. Alberto Mantovani, Italian National Institute of Health
“A relevant feature of the findings for risk assessors are the definitely stronger endocrine-reproductive effects induced by the product GBH compared to an equivalent dose level of the pure substance glyphosate. The suggestion that other components of GBH may significantly enhance glyphosate toxicity definitely deserves further investigation.”
Prof. Melissa J Perry, George Washington University
“Although glyphosate has been around for decades, its global use has increased rapidly and we know surprisingly little about the human health effects of such widespread use. This study in rats uses doses that compare to what humans are exposed to in their everyday environments including from the food they eat.
“These most recent findings demonstrate important impacts on hormone production that shouldn’t be ignored. The study findings as a whole are providing valuable original information to more clearly assess the health risks to humans.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Aviation News October 1

Adria Airways Files For Bankruptcy
In what has been a dreadful month for European airlines, September ended with a final victim: Adria Airways, the national airline of Slovenia. Adria Airways follows Thomas Cook Airlines, and two French carriers – XL Airways and Aigle Azur – into bankruptcy in September.
"Due to the opening of insolvency proceedings, all Adria Airways flights from Ljubljana airport were canceled: Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Manchester, Munich, Paris, Podgorica, Prague, Priština, Sarajevo, Skopje, Sofia, Tirana, and Zurich", the airport announced. Aeroflot, Air France, Air Serbia, Easyjet, Finnair, Lot Polish Airlines, Montenegro Airlines, Transavia, Turkish Airlines and Wizz Air are also active.

Brussels flies to Ljubljana
But there was also good news: Brussels Airlines announced on Tuesday (1 October) that it would be connecting Brussels to Ljubljana six times a week from 4 November. The aircraft to be used will be the Airbus A319.

Thomas Cook stranding 150,000 UK holidaymakers 
And many more in other European countries. The sum insured is "far from being enough":
Thomas Cook tourists remain sitting on part of the damage 
This affects customers who had not yet filed for bankruptcy. Thomas Cook had canceled all trips by 31 October, even if they had already been paid in advance or fully paid.

Versicherungssumme "reicht bei weitem nicht": 
Thomas-Cook-Touristen bleiben auf Teil des Schadens sitzen
Betroffen sind Kunden, die beim Insolvenzantrag noch nicht unterwegs waren. Thomas Cook hatte alle Reisen bis 31. Oktober abgesagt, auch wenn sie schon angezahlt oder voll bezahlt waren. 

Corendon Airlines
We are looking for qualified and experienced Boeing 737NG Captains and First Officers for our Antalya base. To apply for this opportunity, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

Holder of a valid EASA or Turkish ICAO Licence with IFR and type rating, rated on the B737-300/900 type airplanes
Valid PBN endorsement on ATPL license/logbook
5.000 flight hours’ experience in total. A minimum of 2500 hours of flight shall be on the B737CL or NG type airplanes as a Commander
Having a minimum of 5 years’ civil aviation experience
With at least an ICAO Level 4 English Language Proficiency
With at least an ICAO Level 4 English Language Proficiency
No History of Accidents and Incidents
Enthusiastic and self-motivated
Ability to work in a multicultural environment

Why Alaska is urging passengers to bring their own water bottles
Alaska is inviting guests to join flight attendants like Tran and #FillBeforeYouFly – a new initiative encouraging guests and employees to bring their own water bottles and become active partners in the airline’s goal to reduce single-use plastics. Members of Alaska’s Green Team, a group of employees devoted to education and innovation around environmental issues, handed out water bottles provided by environmental leader MiiR, and to direct guests to water-filling stations.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Discover Open Culture

Today’s learners have become so tech-savvy that to catch up with them and maintain their interest, teachers have to be a couple of steps ahead. It is mind-boggling how in the age of Facebook and Twitter, there are still many great websites out there just waiting to be discovered. 
Open Culture is such a discovery.

At Open Culture you will not only find Loyal Books shares but also free audio-books from titles in the public domain classics - but also stories by James Baldwin, Ray Bradbury, etc.  Enjoy and Virginia Woolf. Or poetry by Maya Angelou and Charles Bukowski.

What’s more?
Get 1,300 free online courses from the world's leading universities: Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more.  You can download the audio & video courses (often from iTunes, YouTube, or university web sites).  Use the share button to tell your computer or mp3 player friends.  Over 45,000 hours of free audio & video lectures, await you now.

Many IELTS candidates struggle to get ideas for IELTS Writing task 2 or IELTS Speaking, so Open Culture can help them with that. The Ideas & Culture part will be especially useful.

Open Culture is a great compilation of excellent resources, which can be used for personal and professional development.  It has six main sections: Audiobooks, Online courses, Movies, Language lessons, e-Books, and Textbooks. Check it out!




Monday, September 2, 2019

5-Star Book Review: TO LIVE IS TO FLY

Sunday Book Review – To Live is to Fly – Memoirs of an Executive Pilot
by Doris Daily

September 1, 2019

Book Reviewer D.G. Kaye, multiple book- and ebook author wrote:

"My friend and author – and retired pilot, Doris Heilmann of 111 Publishing had another life before she became an author and publisher – she was a pilot. Doris flew planes, taught flying, wrote for aviation magazines and more, and if it weren’t for her eventual two eye surgeries, hindering her from continuing to fly, I have no doubts she’d still be spending half her time up in the air!

Doris wrote this book as ‘Doris Daily’, her pen name for her aviation collection of books and instructionals she’s written. To Live is to Fly is Doris’ newest memoir on her aviation days, and as a memoir writer and a friend of Doris’, I jumped at the chance to read her newest book. Note, various other books published by Doris Heilmann on marketing for self-published authors, I also highly recommend!"

Dreaming of Learning to Fly? And maybe becoming a Commercial Pilot?
Have a seat in the airplane’s cockpit and be entertained by these memoirs of an enthusiast pilot!
Observe fascinating flight experiences, technology, and the beauty and forces of nature.
Become captivated by the flying world of a professional aviator during the ’80s and early ’90s in Europe.
And maybe gain also a few pieces of advice along the way for your own flying career…
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My 5-Star Review:
Memoirs of a pilot

"This book was an easy read, written in conversational style writing, as though I was sitting down with the author (pilot) fixed on her knowledge of flying as an executive pilot and flight instructor, and wowed by some of the experiences she encountered – both good and bad."

"Doris Daily engages us with the beginnings of her desire to learn to fly airplanes, through sharing her experiences on learning to fly, the grueling hours needed to move up the ladder to private and executive airliners, and new technologies and breakthroughs in the airline industry.  The author gives us an inside look into the cockpit, and a step-by-step take about what’s involved to learn how to fly, the importance of protocol, possible things that can go wrong, and going from a novice to a trained commercial/executive pilot."

"We’ll also learn the difference between ‘autopilot’ and flying, using the instrument panel. She also shares some personal stories about some of the beautiful and scenic places she’s flown to or from North America to Germany Italy, and Austria, to name a few, adding tidbits about what pilots do while they wait for the planes or ‘private’ clients for their return flights, and the perks and sightseeing notes in between – things the average person never really thinks about."

"If you love to fly and are curious to learn about what goes on behind the working scenes of the life of a pilot, you will definitely enjoy these memoirs from Doris Daily, easily explained for those of us who have no concept about what it takes to become a pilot."

TO LIVE IS TO FLY  is available worldwide in print and digital format:

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Co-Working in the Country

For some time now, the trend has been for more and more entrepreneurs and self-employed people to stay in the countryside (instead of fleeing to the city) or to move from the city to the countryside - thanks to the ever-improving technical infrastructures and offers.

They are looking for places to work where they can still breathe a sigh of relief, where the clock is ticking a little slower and the surround sound leaves time for their own lifestyle.

The long-term goal of the action is to inspire founders and self-employed people to also develop co-working spaces in the countryside - in the old barn, the village jug, where it fits. The participants are to be encouraged by the project and made fit through coaching.

In addition to information and tools that can be found online, the qualification program 'How to Cowork' is also offered as support for those who have made up their minds. What the organizers hope to get out of it: To bring the digitalization and the founding spirit to the country.

Think Farm Eberswalde
A self-organized co-working and learning space: Think-farm with its whitewashed walls, the warmth of wood everywhere and masses of lush greenery is the perfect place for an eco-social shift. This is where the exciting minds of individuals gather in a cluster of friendly working areas.

There are about 15 work desks in total where professional people from NGOs, remote workers, freelancers, and scholars can work collectively amidst a network of socially and environmentally engaged initiatives or sustainable businesses.

  • High-Speed WiFiHeating
  • Standing Desks
  • Ergonomic Chairs
  • PrinterScannerPhotocopier
  • Lounge / Chill-out Area
  • Facilities
  • Kitchen Personal Lockers
  • Library
  • Accessibility
  • 24hr member access
  • Free Coffee

In the middle of Brandenburg, a Berliner has founded a place for young creative people to work.  They are looking for a simple life in the countryside, between vegetable fields and digital work.

They will not only work in Wittenberge but also live there.  The city has renovated and furnished former workers' flats for them, vacancies are now turned into living space.

The apartments are only a few minutes away from Co-working Space - the new residents pay 150 euros for a room in a shared flat, and only 300 euros for a complete apartment.  They don't have to pay anything for their workplace, the city takes over the lease for the owners of the oil mill.

Projects like this are currently attracting people all over Germany: They all work in creative professions, few of them have a permanent position - among them are a houseboat consultant, a journalist and a filmmaker.  The first floor of the Wittenberg oil mill now belongs to them.  Outside, the Elbe River flows, narrow and gentle at this point, and a nature reserve borders directly on the opposite bank of the river.

The small town of Wittenberge lies halfway between Hamburg and Berlin. The ICE stops here, and if you catch the right connection, you are in the capital in less than an hour.  For sure a great place to live and work - having the advantages of both worlds.

Read more:



Friday, August 9, 2019

Audio Books for Success

Are you wondering if you should turn your print and ebooks into audio?  
Or did you narrate (or let it do) your books already? Are you thinking about a career as a voiceover artist/narrator?  No matter in which state your books are, this latest guide book provides you with the necessary info and helpful links on your path to success.

Discover every aspect of audiobooks with this comprehensive guide for audiobook publishers, narrators, voiceover artists, and audiobook listeners. Get step-by-step instructions on how to plan, narrate, record, edit, master, proof, and sell your audiobook, plus countless tips on finding the best audiobooks and apps and writing an audiobook review.

ISBN eBook:  978-1-988664-36-1
ISBN Print:     978-1-988664-37-8

Learn the following and more:
  • Why investing in an audiobook is worthwhile
  • How to choose an audiobook studio or production company in the USA, the UK, and Canada, and most important: to find the right narrator for your title
  • How to set up your own DIY recording spot and which equipment to use for quality recording
  • Where to take narration training and learn voiceover techniques or build a career out of your voice
  • How to make words on a page come alive for the audience and create a visual image for the listener
  • How to find reviewers (including direct links) and how to market and distribute your audiobook
  • Where to find info about audiobook sellers and apps, and even where to find free audiobooks on the internet
  • All about audiobook industry associations and their awards


More books and ebooks by the author:

111 Tips to Create Impressive Videos: How to Plan, Create, Upload and Market Videos
111 Tips To Make Money with Writing: The Art of Making a Living Full-Time Writing—An Essential Guide for More Income as a Freelancer
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free: Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success
111 Tips to Get Free Book Reviews: Best Strategies for Getting Lots of Great Reviews Plus 1,200+ Reviewer Contact Links
111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer: How to Create, Where to Upload, and How to Market Your Videos
Book Marketing on a Shoestring: How Authors Can Promote Their Books without Spending a Lot of Money

Friday, August 2, 2019

The German Live and Work Productivity

German virtues such as cleanliness, punctuality, and order sometimes have compulsive traits.  Where does it come from?

Prussia's influence in Europe's past was based on Protestant virtues, formerly compulsory education and high status of all military, which previously existed only to this extent in France. When Preussen dominated the newly formed small German Empire from the age of high industrialization, these peculiarities came to full effect.

This development was by no means inevitable, but led first to the exaggeration of the presumed ordeal and then, especially after 1968, to emphasize, not always successful, sometimes slightly neurotic distancing: exaggerated thoroughness, pedantry and, above all, a focus on social order must be historically biased in Germany.

Being productive is not a wish, but a German urge that does not just reign in factories and offices.  Meeting deadlines, being on time and constantly improving work is part of the education, study, profession and overall social life.  Every street, every place can be embellished!  The buses and trains can go even faster!  Everyone strives to organize their lives more effectively.  Rules can be taken quite seriously in Germany.  But that does not mean that every rule is always followed blindly.

Being punctual means more: Punctuality is a sign of good manners, and those who are on time show that they value their counterparts.  Whoever comes too late, signals the other: You are not important enough to me.

Germans and Swiss were dependent on pure value creation by human capabilities, or sufficient frugality to achieve sustainable growth.  One can speak to some extent of survival value. It becomes problematic only through lack of distance and ignorance of one's own culture, namely, by absolutizing orderliness rather than as a strategic resource. Germans and Swiss sometimes rightly say that they have a penchant for spontaneity.  The dark side of neatness is the tendency towards social conformism - as in Japan, for example.

One reason could be that many of the people constantly think and live for two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years in advance.  From this, a dead straight forward planning seems to emerge.  Corresponding success and order will not surprise you either.

Business Life
It is said that "Englishmen and North Americans are too friendly, to be honest, that Germans are too honest to be friendly". 

The Germans have a problem: they are too honest and too bluntly speaking their minds. Other nationalities might be offended by it.  Germans admit when they have doubts or when something is not ready yet.  North Americans say: We have the best product in the world - even if it's not finished yet. They sell better...

Here is an article excerpt which shows the difference in work culture:
How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week with an average of 24 paid vacation days maintain such a high level of productivity?

Working Hours Mean Working Hours
In German business culture, when an employee is at work, they should not be doing anything other than their work.  Social media, office gossip with co-workers, trolling Pinterest for hours, writing private emails, and pulling up a fake spreadsheet when your boss walks by are socially unacceptable behaviors.

Obviously, in the US, Canada, or Great Britain these behaviors are frowned upon by management.  But in Germany, there is zero-tolerance among peers for such frivolous activities.
A young German woman explained her culture shock while on a working exchange to the UK. “I was in England for an exchange … I was in the office and the people are talking all the time about their private things … ‘What’s the plan for tonight?’ and all the time drinking tea or coffee … She was quite surprised by the casual nature of British workers. 

Goal-Oriented, Direct Communication Is Valued
German business culture is one of intense focus and direct communication.  While Americans tend to value small talk and maintaining an upbeat atmosphere, Germans rarely beat around the bush.  German workers will directly speak to a manager about performance reviews, launch into a business meeting without any ‘icebreakers,’ and use commanding language without softening the directives with polite phrases.  Whereas an American would say, “It would be great if you could get this to me by 3 p.m.,” a German would say, “I need this by 3 p.m.”
When a German is at work, they are focused and diligent, which in turn leads to higher productivity in a shorter period of time.

Germans Have a Life Outside Work
Germans work hard and play hard.  Since the working day is focused on delivering efficient productivity, the off hours are truly "off hours".  Because of the focused atmosphere and formal environment of German businesses, employees don’t necessarily hang out together after work.  Germans generally value a separation between private life and working life.

To occupy their plentiful Freizeit, many Germans are involved in Verein (clubs); regularly meeting others with shared interests in their community.  Even the smallest village in Germany will have several active Vereine to accommodate residents’ interests. Rather than settling in for a night of TV after work, most Germans socialize with others in their community and cultivate themselves as people.

Germans also enjoy a high number of paid vacation days, with many salaried employees receiving 25-30 paid days (the law requires 20). Extended holidays mean families can enjoy up to a month together, renting an apartment by the seaside or taking a long trip to a new, exciting city.

Business Respects Parenthood
Germany’s system of Elternzeit (“parent time” or parental leave) is the stuff of fantasy for most working Americans.  The United States does not currently have laws requiring maternity leave, while Germany has some of the most extensive parental protection policies in the developed world.
The downside of these maternity leave benefits is that employers may avoid hiring women (with the fear that they will take advantage of the extensive benefits), and German boardrooms are consistently male-dominated at a higher rate than other developed nations, although the government is working to eradicate this trend.

The financial benefits of staying home (from both Elternzeit and Elterngeld or parents’ money programs) are often too good to pass up for German mothers and can lead to stagnant or non-existent careers.

Since “at will” employment does not exist in Germany, all employees have contracts with their employer.  Parents who have been gainfully employed for the previous 12 months are eligible for Elternzeit benefits, which include up to three years of unpaid leave with a “sleeping” contract.

The employee is eligible to work part-time up to 30 hours while on leave and must be offered full-time employment at the conclusion of the parental leave. bParents may also choose to postpone up to one year of their leave until the child’s 8th birthday.  Either parent is eligible for parental leave, and many couples make the choice based on financial considerations.

In addition to the preservation of the employee’s contract, the state will pay up 67% of the employee’s salary (with a cap of 1800 Euros per month) for 14 months.  Parents may split the 14 months however they choose. These benefits apply equally to same-sex couples.
Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet?

Put Some German In Your Office
The German work culture is very different from the average North American office, but there are certainly lessons to be learned from our German counterparts.  The diligent focus Germans bring to their working life is to be admired.  Separating work from play can help us lead a more balanced life; putting the phone down after-hours gives us a mental break from stressing about work, and we can return to the office refreshed in the morning.

When it’s time to get something done, closing Facebook and turning off push notifications helps keep our minds quiet and the flow steady.  Direct conversation can lead to increased efficiency and more clarity of communication among team members.

Americans often equate longer hours with increased production and superior work ethic, but examining the German model makes one wonder: When it comes to time at work, maybe less really is more!



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

How Much Does it Cost to Create an Audiobook?

Producing an audiobook is like building a house: Your choices dictate your final cost.  Each recording of an audiobook is custom-made, so learn about the time and skills necessary for a polished production.

Authors might have the following questions: How much do you need to pay upfront? What are the long-term costs? How long will it take to recoup my investment?

You have three options:
  • Narrate your book yourself (easier than you might think)
  • Enter into a revenue-share agreement with a narrator
  • Pay a flat PFH rate upfront to have your book produced

Narrate Your Book
There are many reasons you may want to create the audiobook on your own: Perhaps you want a version of your book spoken in your own words, or you want to create single educational lectures from chapters of your audiobook. Whatever your motivation, creating your own audiobook isn’t that difficult.
With modern software, it’s easy to record an audiobook, so going it alone is an option! However, professional post-production is needed, as well as an aggregator to distribute the book to online retailers, bookstores, and libraries. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it will take you to produce an audiobook. Your listeners want you to narrate the story with complete conviction. Just like a professional actor, you should completely immerse yourself in the story.

While you don’t need to spend much on equipment, if you have no prior experience, taking classes or working with a vocal coach is advised. This will qualify you to create a professional narrated book and to improve your skills over time. ACX gives tons of worthy advice on how to narrate your own audiobook or what to look for when outsourcing.
Finding an acoustically sound location to record your reading sessions is probably the single most important task during this process. Where in a typical home would you install a recording studio? Somewhere that’s small, contained, and preferably has a carpeted floor. The best spot is in a walk-in closet. 
Equipment for Narrators: The minimum would be a laptop dedicated to audio recording software, an interface box, a microphone, a boom shield on a stand, and all the appropriate cords! This basic hardware is fairly inexpensive. However, the quality of your voiceovers will be only as fine as the methods you use to capture and control the sound.

Although a revenue-split contract initially seems to be ideal for authors, numerous indie authors get frustrated with it over time for several reasons. The author earns only half of the available revenue for seven years and is bound for seven years to absolute exclusivity - at least at ACX, other contractors could have better conditions.

Pay a Flat Rate
The other option for authors is to pay the production costs upfront by hiring a narrator on a PFH contract, which is a buy-out option that lets the author retain all revenues. This choice is especially attractive when your ebook or the print version sells one thousand or more copies per month, which means you might sell at least two hundred audiobooks per month.
Experienced narrators charge between $200 and $450 PFH. For instance, at $200 PFH, a narrator would send a $2,000 invoice for the complete production of a ten-hour audiobook.
After selling approximately five hundred units of the audiobook, the author breaks even, and from this point forward, all remaining audiobook sales generate a pure profit of around $4 per unit sold.
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