What Makes a Publisher Your Favorite?

thumb-422558_1920 (1)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.