- Some are; some aren't. Depends on the publisher. Some national ("regular") publishers are just as bad as the worst LDS publishers. Some LDS publishers are every bit as good as national publishers. What you have to do is take a sampling from the different publishers and decide which ones meet your standards of editing and quality.
- As far as I know, all LDS publishers pay royalties, so they do exist. That's the good news. The bad news is, yes, in many cases royalties in our niche market are lower than what you would get from a national publisher, as they are in any niche market. Not only is the royalty percentage often lower than for a national equivalent, but so is the audience, which means the number of books that can be reasonably expected to sell is fewer.
- Again, depends on the publisher. General rule of thumb: the smaller the publisher, the less they spend on marketing and promotion. Also, the less your book sells, the smaller the slice of the marketing pie it gets. The better it sells, the more the publisher will invest in it. That's also true of national publishers.
- The one and only reason to go with an LDS publisher is because your heart is there—you want to write books specifically targeted to and written about members of the LDS church.
Why Go with an LDS Publishing House?
I have been reading the posts and comments on your site and the more I read, the more apprehensive I become about submitting my manuscript to an LDS publishing house. From what I have gleaned, 1) books are published with less attention to grammar and quality than regular publishers, 2) royalties are very low, if not non-existent, and 3)the financial burden of publicity is carried mostly by the author. These problems don't lend a lot of confidence in the LDS publishing industry. Since my manuscript is not themed heavily with LDS doctrine and could be accepted as regular fiction elsewhere, 4) could you give me any reason why I should consider LDS publishing houses? I would love to be surrounded by those who share my religious views, but I'm not certain if the trade-off is worth it.