Quick Guide: Working with Contributors

Writing with contributors can be tremendously rewarding and lead to an exciting textbook that is strengthened by multiple perspectives and areas of expertise. It can bring out the best in individual authors, who are motivated by dialogue and exploration regarding the content and how to best present it. Of course, it’s also great to be able to divide the work.

This guide walks you through the various aspects of working with contributors. The information will help you maintain healthy, productive, and successful working relationships with all of the parties involved in your publishing project.

What is a Contributor?

Contributor vs. Co-Author


  • is someone who shares the responsibility and work of developing the book from beginning to end.
  • is a signatory to the publishing agreement.
  • shares in the book’s royalties.


  • is someone who is solicited or offers to write, create, research, edit, etc. something for the book but is not involved in the overall development of the book.
  • creates work that is not previously published and was created specifically for the purposes of the book (see below). Some examples include:
    • Writing a chapter, section of a chapter, a foreword
    • Researching data and providing the results of their research for inclusion in the book
    • Editing chapters for accuracy/clarity/brevity/grammar/etc.
  • agrees to release the work created for the book to the authors and for its exclusive use in your Cognella title.
  • is not a signatory to the publishing agreement.
  • does not receive royalties on book sales.

Contributed Content vs. Third Party Content

Contributed content is content that was created for the exclusive purpose of inclusion in the Cognella product.

Third-party content is any previously published content (i.e., published in a journal, a book, a magazine, or online). Typically, the republication rights for third-party content are controlled by the publisher and requires formal permission from the publisher, often with fees attached.

Types of Contributed Content

  • Writing – a section of a chapter, a whole chapter, a foreword, a testimonial, a vignette, a case study, or any other writing developed specifically for your Cognella title
  • Images – photographs, figures, cartoons, artwork, or other visuals newly created for your Cognella title
  • Formal interview responses – usually solicited by the author, but may also come from a contributor interviewer (in which case both the interviewer and interviewee are considered contributors and will need to sign releases)