A Book Contract Example

This is the contract a national guidebook publisher uses who has over 100 titles in print.

It’s the contract I signed with the publisher with whom I am no longer doing business with (internal link) The publisher originally offered me 10% of net with a $500 dollar advance. I asked for 12% of net, no advance. That was quickly agreed to. I should have asked for 15%.

I signed without legal review because lawyers make contracts and lawyers break contracts. I’m not intimidated by language deliberately favoring the other side and you should always ask if things can be changed. If you’re unsure about anything you sign, however, have an attorney look it over.

This contract, which they sneakily call an agreement, is mostly boilerplate but you may find it interesting, particularly if you are a small publisher and uncertain about what your contracts should include. It’s here in .pdf and in an easily editable Word document.














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Drool Over Jewels Take II

Sotheby’s produces some wonderful videos which are easily accessed on YouTube:


A nice video capturing sparkling as only a moving camera can. Sparkles don’t show in still photography, they need movement. Still photos of diamonds use a special lens filter or work in post to mimic a sparkle.

Noteworthy, too, are the extreme closeups of many jewels. These closeups are fine enough to reveal inclusions within the stones, a testimony to high-end lenses and the photographer’s skill. Such details usually demands a still photograph, however, this video producer managed.

Techniques aside, the jewels are just plain beautiful.

p.s. Prices are listed as CHF which is the Swiss Franc, right now about the same exchange rate as the American dollar.

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Doing What An iPhone Could Never Do

I got a Canon Vixia camcorder a while back, hoping to produce videos with it instead of my iPhone. My phone produces high resolution video but it is of course limited in what it can do.

This morning I was out at Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas when I heard a helicopter coming. Although I still had the camera in my backpack, I managed to get it out and to start filming before this helicopter went out of sight. Notice how the camera struggles to focus on something, anything, and then settles on infinity.

Watch the entire video to see how well this consumer level video camera zooms in and out on a moving target.

Shooting Zoom With a Canon Vixia from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.


The excellent detail is probably due to the memory card’s speed and from shooting at twice the resolution the video is eventually viewed at. I think I was shooting at 4K at the time, 3840×2160 for this camera, then converted to 1920×1080 for the web. Shooting at a higher pixel count allows better processing in post and smoother looking video when down converted. The real key, I think, though, is the speed of the memory card.

I bought my Vixia HF G50 at BestBuy and a memory card off the shelf to go with it. 128GB seemed plenty for my short videos. What I didn’t realize was that speed is now as important as capacity. Still images don’t need as much speed in a card as with video, when 4K is slamming the camera with a continous torrent of information. My first 4K videos stuttered and I soon realized that the memory card was responsible.

The first card I bought was a SanDisk Extreme PLUS 128GB SDXC UHS-I Memory Card, advertised to read up to 150MB a second, along with write speeds up to 70MB a second. This card sells for between $40 to $60. The Vixia’s documentation, however, says the camera needs 150MB/s to carry off 4K at 30 frames per second. So, that card would never do. Shooting 1920 X 1080 natively only requires 35MB/s.

I then bought online a SanDisk 128GB SDXC SD Extreme Pro UHS-II Memory Card. This was expensive, at $213. The description read, “Can read/transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and write speeds up to 260MB/s.” Much better. Write speeds over three times faster than the slower card. And well above the 150MB/s minimum.

There doesn’t seem to be a faster card for the Vixia than this one. I’ve been very happy with the results and there is no more stammering to my videos. As for the original card, the Vixia has two memory card slots. The slower one is now a backup and for still images in case I want to take those.

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So When Did The Color Rust Become Popular?

I don’t recall rust, copper, or terra-cotta as colors for buildings and ornamental pieces when I was growing up. Do you? Somehow, somewhere, it started happening in my part of California in the the 1980s. I think. It’s certainly a major force in building colors today, almost a neutral or default color acceptable to most people and settings.

The rusty steel look may have started when a material called weathering steel or COR-TEN steel was first used in the building trades. Perhaps the early to mid-1960s. Green Future says the first architectural use of corten steel (external link) was for the John Deere headquarters in Moline, Illinois in 1964.

Architizer.com says that corten steel is a specialty product (external link), not just stabilized rusty steel:

“Cor-ten steel resists corrosion by incorporating less reactive metals such as copper and nickel into the steel during its formation. The new alloys in the steel form a connective matrix throughout. This ‘sticks’ the rust formed to the surface, creating a protective barrier similar to skin.”

“The outer layer of rust is stable, and greatly increases the physical integrity of the steel. Unlike typical steel, cor-ten does not need to be painted, reducing initial construction costs. Also, weathering steel is maintenance-free; once the rust barrier is formed it is stable. Paint used as a defensive barrier against the elements needs to be maintained since it is unstable and flakes off.”

Other copper or rusty steel colors may have come into favor after the rusty steel look proved popular. Just speculating.

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Full Disclosure About My Rockhounding Site

I run a website about rockhounding called southwestrockhounding.com (external link). It’s been fun so far. So far. This is what I just posted to that site:

My latest posts reviewing different rock shops have proved popular with my readers and unpopular with a few people who imagine that I am profiting from them. Let me make this very clear, I have no financial relation with any company I review or describe and I make no money from this site. Is that clear?

There are no ads on this site, no effort to monetize my writing or photographs, no copyright restrictions spelled out, nothing. I deliberately started paying for Vimeo to host my videos so people don’t have to see ads with YouTube. I pay full rate for web hosting to avoid all ads.

There are banners for my Patreon site but that is only for people who want to help support me. It’s voluntary, strictly that. I make no money from Patreon by the way, since no one has signed up. No matter. None of the content on this site is locked down or costs. Nothing.

There is no charge to use this site, no e-mail to give, no password to set, no cookies enabled. Nothing. This practice isn’t uncommon. Take Wikipedia for an example. They don’t run ads, they don’t sell or rent their demographic information, and they don’t sell any e-mail address.

My reviews of any rock shop stems from coverage I had originally intended to use in my book. The death of that contract leaves me with hundreds of unused photos that I can now share. I’m getting the text for each post from my travel list, which is also free.

I am very happy to support all of the rocks shops that helped me with my book by letting me take photos and by providing information on their operations. Most of these shops support rockhounds with local hunting advice and they often support their local rock club. We should wish them well and it is sorrowful that some people mistake my promoting for profiteering. Like the poor, the stupid will always be with us.

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Version 11 of My Southwest Travel List is Out!

The .pdf file and the Kindle file are here:


Why don’t I post it here? The first is that WordPress at this site doesn’t host .mobi files so a Kindle format can’t be posted. The second reason is more interesting.

I have posted previous .pdf versions at this site. Like Version 3. Google is fixated for some reason on that early file, a document with hardly the information the current version has. I don’t want people to download Version 3 so I have removed the file from this site. That is causing people to get a 404 error, you know, “File not Found.”

Frustratingly, I can’t seem to redirect people who get that 404. Instead, people are directed to the main WordPress site, not my site. And I can’t edit the old permalink, which would give me some more options.

Right now I would rather people not find the old file, even if it means them getting that frustrating error message.

Until I can figure out a work around, I will not be posting any future version here, lest I run into this same problem with every version I post at this site.

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Thoughts on Learning Video

I’m learning about video after putting it away years ago.

In 2014 I produced this video which has now gathered over 118,000 views. 185 thumbs up, 36 thumbs down. Haters going to hate.

Video was so time consuming that I didn’t make any more videos. I’m trying again and this is what I am learning.

It still takes an enormous amount of time. Not so much in production, with the software, but with planning things out.

My recent videos in many cases needed a script. Without a script I find myself doing countless retakes as I later remember things that should have been included. The positive thing about scripting, if I continue to go forward, is that I will have a fairly accurate transcript below the video in each of my blog posts.

Camera and microphone setup is also time consuming and completely dependent on good light which isn’t always available when I want to shoot. I often write at three in the morning, video doesn’t like the indoor lighting at that time. Natural light always seems best while everything else is dingy.

Video on phones is extremely popular and getting more so every day. But I can’t show map detail on a three inch screen. Today’s phone and tablet screens are forcing creators to cover subjects that present well on mobile: big, blocky subjects, no nuance.

Ansel Adams finely grained black and white landscapes presented well in large format books or magazines. That’s impossible on a phone. Wrong medium.

And increasingly, that is a square medium like Instagram. It’s all about the ‘gram, even when a photograph should appear in landscape.

There’s a whole world that will now go unseen because it doesn’t work on mobile. What have we come to?

Because of this I may do many videos just for desktop viewing. After endless experimenting, I find I can only show the detail I need by meticulously creating Photoshop images to accompany a video.

Take a look at the two still and uncomplicated images at the end of the video. Notice how clear and distinct they are. (Even on an iPhone.) That is how I need to convey information, along with moving images to keep things interesting.

Doing all of this is a time grab I am trying to figure out.

Word Press Post from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

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