Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Defining What's Best

We talk about the "best publisher" a lot, and everyone loves a "top ten" list or various prestige rankings, and this information can be useful for understanding the market and what others think of publishers.

But, the truth is, and you're probably seeing hints of it already from the responses to the three questions, there is no absolute best publisher. There's a best publisher for you, and a best publisher for me, and a best publisher for Emily and a best publisher for Barrie and a best publisher for Kis. And they could all be different. Or overlap somewhat, and differ somewhat. But there is no absolute "correct" answer.

And that's what makes it tricky to figure out where to submit your work. You need to figure out who would be a good match for you, not for me or Emily or Barrie or Kis.

So, how do you do that? First, you need to figure out what's important to you. For the purpose of this discussion, you can choose three things. Barrie and Kis have suggested in their goals some things that are important to them. Probably everyone's going to mention money, so I'm going to take that off the table for now, because it's universal (although the exact ranking may vary, and we'll talk about that later).

For now, I'd like to hear from everyone (in comments or a separate blog post) about the three things (yeah, I just love the number three) that matter to you when choosing a publisher. I'm not going to give you any suggestions just yet for the possibilities, because I don't want to narrow the options. I'm looking to get more insight into all the issues you may be trying to juggle.

So, what are the three things (other than huge bucketloads of money) that, in the best of all possible worlds, you'd want your ideal publisher to offer you? What three things would convince you to sign on the dotted line if you had multiple offers?


Anonymous said...

1) Sales. I want to sell a lot fo coies and be read by a lot of people. This is reslted to but different from money per. se.

2) An ongoing relationship with an editor I respect. Someone who doesn't just take the books and publish them--but dialogue with me throughout planning and writing, andd edit in a way that teaches me more abnout how to write in this genre. I want to have a two-way relationship that encourages and improves my writing.

3) Niche. I want my books to be on a catalogue with other books in that niche. I want to have a 'feel' for the publisher and how they differ from all the other guys. This can include the look, the sub-genres, and nay specific kind of vision they have... preferably resalting to specific people who run the company not just an 'pretty but generic' website brand. If I really support their approach and feel good about it, sales levels become lesss important.

p.s. I am taking for granted that only honest company's with a basic level of ability are even in the running--lacking any glaring 'problems.'

Anonymous said...

urk--sorry for all the typos. Now you know ehat my editor has to put up with ;)

Kis Lee said...

I love your questions, because they really make me think. :)

here's my top 3 (random order):

1) A solid promotion/marketing team - I realize (now) that epublished authors need to be active when it comes to marketing their work. Still it's helpful when there is a separate marketing team/staff to help newbie authors. That way you don't have to always ask advice from the editorial staff or other authors.

1a) Ideally the publisher would take care of a substantial portion of the promotion/marketing. I don't expect them to do all of it, and I would do my fair share. If they have a full-time marketing staff who takes care of a lot of the details, that would be a dream.

2) Top-notch editors, cover artists, and other staff - It should be a given, but I know that the talent level varies from publisher to publisher. When I first started out, I had a minor problem with a flakey [insert title]. It almost turned me off the erotic romance scene entirely.

Can I still get the bucketloads of money?

Stella Price said...

this is a great queston!

1. great relationship with publisher/editors. When publishers play favorites and dont deliver for everyobody on their roster it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. All your authors are important, not just your top sellers, and a publisher that makes strides in keeping up with ALL their authors has my vote.

2. Selling. I want to sell huge, and Em's right, that dosent really equate to buckets of money, but i would like to have a fanbase and following. Without your public your just writing to get the words down.

3. Coverart. Coverart is very important. Lets face it, people do judge a book by its cover. Im a stickler for our covers being beautiful and unique (like our books) but they have to be Bookstore worthy. if i can picutre the cover on a shelf and think.. ooh im picking that up? its in

Thats my top three...


Barrie Abalard said...

I think I'm going to echo the crowd, here. :-)

Assuming the money offers were exactly the same, my priorities become:

1. A favorable contract, especially in the options clause(s). None of this, we own the rights to everything till the Second Coming.

2. An editor who treats me with respect and as a professional.

3. Great cover art.

And, of course, sales. This is a business, not something I do just for fun.