children's books, Musings, self publishing

Vanity Publishing

I have always wanted to write a children’s book and was so excited when I finally did! 

But how to get it published?  You can go the traditional route and submit a manuscript to established publishers and wait months or years for a refusal.  Or you can self-publish.  And self-publishing can have its own issues.  

Like avoiding vanity press.

Vanity publishers are companies that you pay to publish your book.  It does not sound bad, but it can cost thousands of dollars.  And you may never get that money back. Just like everything else in this world, you must do your homework because there are many Vanity presses out there that are waiting to take your money.  These companies are honestly shameful.  And just because you find a publisher associated with an established, well-known publisher does not mean they are not vanity.  I almost got tricked by that one myself!

5th page-momandrhi (2)

That was what I found out when looking to publish my hardcover book.  I visited a website and found different “packages” for authors like me.  I had created my book from my own illustrations and had finished files ready to be uploaded.  Thinking this was a legitimate company, I filled out all the necessary information and was contacted within minutes, by phone and email.  I realized that their most reasonable package, which was over $1,000 dollars would be the one for me, although I had already done 80% of the work.  This package would give me about 10 hardcover books, and that was all.  I would have to purchase more books at an estimated $15 a piece.  Now I ask you how an author is supposed to make any money at that price?   This is what vanity publishing is, and honestly, I find it disgraceful.  That is why I am writing this blog, hopefully to save others from their thievery.

So basically, if you are contacted by a company and told you have to pay a few thousand dollars to publish, I would run.  When you are first contacted if feels good!  You think that you have made it!  And that is where the term “vanity” comes in.  Because they play on this.

So, the best way to do it is to truly publish your book yourself. Unless you are lucky to be contacted by a legitimate publishing house that you won’t have to pay anything.  At this time, I congratulate you and am quite happy for you!  You won the publishing lottery!

But for the rest of us…it is the self-publishing route.

I am not going to lie… it is not easy.  But there is so much help on Facebook!  And online!  If you post in a Facebook group, you may even get an answer to your problem immediately!

I am asked so many times how to publish, that I wrote a bunch of blogs that I hope can help you get started.  I received so much help when I first published that I now try to pay it forward and help others.  And if you are wondering, I do not charge.

So once your beloved book is ready, start looking for info on how to upload your files and publish.

There are POD (print on demand) companies like amazon, where you get a portion of the sales, or you can print physical copies and go to fairs, schools or sell from your website.  The possibilities are endless.  There is another option called Ingram Spark, that will get your book into the big stores.  Like Walmart, Barnes and Noble and many, many more.  

I do a blend of all the above.  And I learned how to do it all online.  With lots of research and patience.  Well maybe the patience wasn’t always great, but I got through it, and you can too!

What I ended up doing is publishing through KDP, which is Amazon, and Ingram Spark.

To get a physical book I used a printer in the USA named Lakeside Press.  They were wonderful to work with and reasonably priced.  I highly recommend them and when you visit their site, you will see my book “Cousins.”   Laura charges $35 for a proof and then if you are happy, she proceeds with your order. 

Yes, you can get copies from amazon, but I have found that they print customers order first, and this means sometimes the books take weeks to receive.  I have also gotten books printed incorrectly.  Books with other books printed inside happens often.  In fact, many of my reviews on amazon are about how the book was misprinted. Pages upside down, or a totally different book inside.  So, for about 25cents more, I go with Lakeside press as I am happy to say this has never happened.

Click here to visit Lakeside Publishing.  (I get nothing from this recommendation)

Now there may be a time that a vanity publisher is not a bad thing. Such as you need an illustrator, need files created and marketing.  But nowadays with the internet there is so much knowledge to do things yourself, you just need to research it to learn! So you may find a hybrid that IS actually helpful… just do your research! Simply find a search engine and type ” is name of company a vanity press?”  And most of the times you will find your answer.

I hope this blog was helpful to you, and if you are looking to publish, please avoid a vanity publisher.