Recently, a writing buddy and I were discussing “favorite” publishers. She has a few things to say about one of my favorites which got me thinking — what makes a publisher a favorite?
- Book topics. I have to love the types of books they publish. Whether fiction or nonfiction, the books themselves are what I notice first.
- Book design. In addition to the topic, I also note the design. It may seem strange (isn’t it grand just to get published) but I want to love holding my book in my hand. This means that covers have to be intriguing, the font readable, good quality illustration and respectable margins. I love Abdo’s book design. I’ve planned to submit to a publisher before until I saw their books and the pixellated images within.
- E-book design. Yep, this is a separate category. Why? Because I’ve discovered that a publisher with good book design may have bad e-book design. One of my editors and I were looking at e-book design and we were amazed at what we found. Some publishers may as well have been laying out a printed page. It was straight text, no graphics and no links. Others put in so much that it was overpowering.
- Editing. I don’t demand a lot of input on book design or graphics. Other people know more than I do. But I want to know I can ask my editor a question without committing a grave offense.
- Payment policy. I will work for a flat fee if it is generous. Ideally, I would love to have an advance and royalties. Just royalties? Not so much. Payments also need to go out promptly. I haven’t heard to many bad stories about book payments but if I hear an author say they couldn’t get paid? Right off my list.
- Post-publication support. If I’m going to be at a book fair or speaking at a conference, I want to be able to get my books. If that isn’t possible, I want to know why. Good communication is a must. Ignoring me completely is not.
I’m not one of those writers who keeps a “No Way” list of publishers/editors. That said, I do listen when other writers talk.