Self vs Vanity Publishing.

Some people might be confused as to the difference between the two so this week I’m going to provide a brief overview of the differences and pitfalls a writer can get into if they’re not wary.

So, most of us know that, if we pursue the traditional publishing route it means endless hours of querying. Trying to find the right publisher or agent who see’s the potential of our work. It can be a very wearying experience for most, the waiting and the rejections can take a hefty toll. The other options then are to Self Publish or Vanity Publish.

I’ve spoken at length about Self Publishing, how to do it yourself and what to expect. Whether you go via Amazon, IngramSpark, CreateSpace (who are an Amazon company), DriveThruFiction or any of the other print on demand houses you’ll find various levels of support and services but, at the end of the day, you’re doing most of the work yourself and will have to distribute, or at least raise awareness of your titles, yourself. The upside of this is cost. The file subs and wholesale unit costs are what you pay at the end of the day.

Vanity publishing is something ‘in between’. A Vanity house will publish your work without question and defer a large amount of the initial cost to you so, if you’ve got between £1200 and £7000 pounds to spare it might seem like a good option but, there’s more. Vanity Publishers don’t, as a whole, have the best of reputations and it is important, should you be determined to follow this course, that you do your research and find a ‘reputable’ House. They will want you to sign a contract and it is imperative that you read and understand what you’re signing. Some of these contracts will require you, the author, to buy a certain number of units per year and will put no limit on how soon they can discontinue the work.

The promise for your investment is that the Publisher will get your books on shelves and advertise on your behalf but, oftentimes these services incur additional cost so be wary of that small print too. Beware terms like ‘Hybrid Publisher’ or ‘Partner Publisher’, the business model for this style of publisher (or at least, the immoral ones) is that they make the bulk of their money from the authors who submit to them and do as little as possible with it.

You can read more about the overview of Vanity Press on Wikipedia and there’s a very informative article about some of the particulars and worst offenders on the Writer Beware Blog.

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