Late last month, the self-publishing company FastPencil re-signed bestselling children's author Mercer Mayer to another multibook deal. Mayer shared his experiences working with FastPencil with PW, and why he decided to do more books with the company.

"I really do partner with them. I'm considered a partner rather than just a business asset," says Mayer. "I can pick up the phone and talk with them, discuss new book product ideas, and sign three-page contracts in record time."

Mayer uses FastPencil's Premiere service, which targets top-tier authors. "I provide FastPencil Premiere with high-res digitized art and PDF layout guides, and then they take over and bring it to print-ready stage. And then on it goes to their various business partners.... BookMasters for high-quality printing, then BMI, Barnes & Noble, and Lyons LLC take the book distribution forward into every conceivable distribution delivery outlet, from e-commerce to retail, and in every format, physical book and e-book. It's a seamless process and occurs very quickly."

Still, despite FastPencil's higher royalty rates and streamlined operation, Mayer says what attracts him most to the company is the partnership. "I'm a partner with a company that sees me as a partner," Mayer says. "We can explore and innovate together rather fearlessly. I can truly shape my publishing program, even get involved in promotion planning, although I much prefer to write and illustrate and let FastPencil Premiere take it from there. It's nice to work with a partner in publishing who is not afraid of e-books and sees things as opportunities to build sales rather than as limitations. It's refreshing, fun, and boundless."

Mayer's first book with FastPencil, Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-A-Zoo, came out in June and sold out of its first printing in two months. His next title with FastPencil, Little Monster Fun and Learn, will be available this month and already has 1,000 pre-pub orders.