I have recently published my first book… and it was a lot of work. I self published, which is much different than going the traditional route of submitting to a publisher and having them sell and market your book. How I would have loved to have been accepted to do that! However it is very difficult to find a publisher and it is sometimes a long wait as well. So I decided to go the non traditional route and self publish.
There are a ton of companies out there dying to publish your book! And some of them are basically thieves. These thieves are also known as “Vanity Publishing” . I had never heard of such a thing until I joined a facebook group about book publishing. Thank goodness for them! If you are thinking about publishing a book, I suggest you look for an authors group on facebook immediately! If you join the right group, they are a priceless source of information. I am so thankful for the groups I have found.
But back to Vanity Publishers. A vanity publisher will a lot of times have a beautiful website with all types of “packages” for you to buy. I am an artist, and both wrote and illustrated my book. I naively contacted a company associated with a well known publishing house. Within minutes of applying I had received an email, and a phone call!! I was told that the best package for me was one that basically did what I already had done, for a few thousand dollars. What I would get out of it is my book “finished” and a hard cover copy. If I wanted to purchase additional copies, they would be around $30 a piece. How would I ever make a profit from this? The woman cheerfully told me all this info and I was actually quite angry. This is downright thievery.
I have since then done what I can to inform other budding authors, because sadly many fall for this trap.
How do you spot a Vanity Publisher?
The first rule of thumb is that if you have to pay to publish your book, it is a vanity publisher. I do not mean to pay for actual books. I mean to pay for services, such as marketing, creating, and distributing for thousands of dollars. I have heard horror stories of people paying over $5,000 dollars with nothing to show for their investment.
Of course you may have just an idea, or the words for a book and need help finishing. In this case you need to do things a la carte. So go online, and do your research and find an illustrator. A lot of them can even format your book for you. Once you have your book, then look for someone to print it. This is another tough decision. I chose to print within the USA. But that is usually twice as much as China. I was lucky to find two different printers within the USA that were reasonable in their costs and had terrific quality when printing. But that is another blog for another time….
The point of this blog is to tell you to do your research. Skip the vanity press and learn to publish yourself. There are plenty of people willing to answer questions, like myself, and online articles to educate you. Go by that old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”
If you like to give your money away I am sure there are plenty of charities more worthy than these companies.