The Trade Tuesday: How to Keep Publishers Happy


Success in the publishing industry as an author in many ways comes down to how you are at keeping publishers happy. Having worked for two publishing companies, I know what makes us happy. Check out my checklist and try to follow the items. I can't guarentee that following the items will take an editor from wanting to kill you to wanting to sell half of his or her soul to get a phone call from you, but I'm confident that following these items will significantly improve your relationship with your publisher.

1. Unless a publisher fails to keep them, don't complain about deadlines that are months in the future. Publishers' calendars are full. Their daily to do lists are longer than those terrible 427K word submissions that people insist are single books. There's really nothing that publishers can do to get something done more quickly. They're already about to have heart attacks. Don't complain about the time it takes for them to do their jobs.

2. As much as possible, reply quickly. Publishers can't sit around twiddling their thumbs. They need answers quickly or things get pushed back even more.

3. Publishers like to read books. That doesn't mean that they want to read a tome every time you send them an email. Please, please, please answer a yes or no question with a "yes" or a "no". If it's more complicated than that, don't turn it into something the length of an encyclopedia.

4. Help out their other authors. Not only does it make you look better, it's really, really nice to see. We love it!

5. Be funny! I think it was a week or two ago. I was talking to one of Snow Leopard's authors, and he was the nicest, funniest guy ever. Publishers love interacting with authors. If you're funny, let us see that! We love genuinely funny people. They make our days much better.

Hope that these quick tips are helpful in keeping publishers happy with you! Use them reasonably, and you'll be on track to having a great relationship with them.

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