I just want to take a quick minute to remind you about the difference between a personal relationship and a professional one, especially when it comes to publishing.
I’ve said it many times: it’s important to have a good working relationship with your publisher, big or small. But that’s exactly what it should be: a WORKING relationship. It’s important to communicate well with your publisher when it comes to your book. But it’s your work you should be talking about.
Most importantly, it’s your work that your publisher should be talking to you about.
When you ask your publisher a question about your work, the answer you get should be ABOUT YOUR WORK. Not about what kind of day your publisher had. Not about his or her health. Not about personal ailments. Not about how broke he or she is. Not about anything but your work. Professionalism is the word of the day, kids.
If you ask your publisher about your publication date, that’s what they should tell you,not some tale about your publisher suffering from a vaginal hemorrhage (that probably didn’t happen), or her hysterectomy (twice!).
If you ask your publisher about your royalties, that’s what the answer should be about, not how he or she is so stressed out that she (or her sister) tried to commit suicide (only to find later that it was a lie).
I could go through a very long list of diversionary topics and tactics, old and new. There are a million of ’em, with new ones being added all the time. But I’ll keep it simple. If your publisher uses personal troubles to make excuses instead of answering professional questions, RUN. That is not how a professional acts.
You’re an author. You want a publisher that’s going to represent your work professionally and well. Not a new bestest buddy that gives you excuses instead of results. Ask yourself honestly. When Stephen King talks to his publisher, do you think he gets excuses about how his publisher had cramps and couldn’t get it done that day? If Dean Koontz or JK Rowling got fed a tall tale about some faked suicide bid or some other ridiculous lie about personal problems, how long do you think that would continue to be their publisher? About zero seconds. Not because they’re so famous, but because they’re professionals. So are you. Treat yourself like one. Treat your work like professional work, because that’s what it is.
If you come across a publisher who says that they’re better because they'”break the mold” that’s your first hint that they’re not the professional company you need to represent your work. There’s a way that it’s done for a reason. It’s a pattern that works. Just ask the people it works for.
Anybody that tells you right out of the gate that there’s some drama involved with themselves or their company ON ANY LEVEL, that’s a huge warning flag. You want professional results, not drama. Quite probably, there’s a lot more to the situation than you’re being led to believe. If a publisher says “Don’t read that blog!” that’s probably the first thing you should do.
It’s simple, folks. Keep it professional. If you want a new best friend, buy a dog. If you want drama, buy a cat at the same time. Turn ’em loose and watch the fun. Rent a rom-com. Strike up a political debate on Facebook.