Self-Publishing Primer: Part 3 – What is vanity publishing?

You will find links to the other posts in the series at Self-Publishing Primer.

My last post covered traditional publishing. At the other end of the spectrum is vanity publishing:

  • A company contracts with you to publish your book.
  • The company charges you for all the costs of production, but it does the work you have paid for to publish the book.
  • Manuscripts are not screened; if the author has the money to pay the fees, the company will publish the book.
  • Often, the company does nothing more than create a cover (possibly from a template), lay out the interior, and print the book; if the author wants editing or an original cover design, each service is an expensive add-on.
  • You as the author may be paid a royalty (after you’ve already paid all the costs of production), but books are generally not widely-distributed and marketing is nonexistent without more expensive add-ons (and the value of the marketing is likely to be far less than the cost).
  • Or you may receive hundreds or thousands of copies of your book to market yourself.
  • Because the vanity publishers are well-known in the publishing world, bookstores do not generally stock these titles and reviewers don’t review them.
  • Many of the vanity publishers now call themselves POD publishers and offer authors print-on-demand services. With POD, authors don’t end up with a garage or bedroom full of books – books can be printed as orders are received. The quality of POD books varies considerably, and the convenience of being able to order books one at a time increases the cost so much that a book could become too expensive for the market.
  • The company may call itself a traditional, subsidy, POD, co-op publisher – or some other innocuous-sounding name. However, if you pay very high costs and do not receive the full gamut of publishing services, the publisher is really a vanity publisher.

Next, we’ll talk about subsidy publishing.

[tags]publishing, self-publishing, writing[/tags]

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