So, before I begin I want to say that this is in no way anything more than the personal opinion of JQM. I have nothing against Vanity Presses in the book publishing world. For some people and some projects it is the perfect option. I am not an expert on Vanity Presses, so what I am sharing is just my opinion based on my observations and personal research.
I have been approached by a few Vanity Presses in my day (email, phone calls, FB Messages, Twitter Messages, and letters), especially when The United was no longer represented by Tate Publishing, and before I signed on with Cosby Media Productions. To be honest, the biggest red flag to me that it is a Vanity Press is when they say “For X-amount of Dollars, we will publish your book.” A true traditional publisher will never ask you for money to publish your book. They take their cut out of royalties, but more on that when we talk about traditional publishers.
The disclaimer out of the way, why choose a Vanity Press to publish your book?
As far as I understand it, and as far as I can tell from my research, a Vanity Press is kind of like a one stop shop for self-publishing with less control over the publishing details, such as where your book is published, pricing, cover, and formatting.
As far as I am concerned, you as the author are in full control of the editing. Never submit a manuscript to any publisher that is not as perfectly edited as you can manage on your own. I am not saying edit solely yourself. Barter services with other authors for editing and BETA reading, and/or pay for an editing service or barter editing services BEFORE you submit your first book to any publisher. For your published book to make the best possible impression, have it as perfect as your resources can make it BEFORE submitting it to any publisher or literary agent.
So, first let’s talk about why a Vanity Press is a bad idea for your project. If you want full control of your cover, ebook distribution, or how your final book is formatted, then a Vanity Press is not for you. If you do not have money to pay for their services, a Vanity Press is not for you. If you want your book in a brick and mortar store, or you want a publisher to be strongly involved in the marketing of your book, then a Vanity Press is likely not the right fit for your project.
So, with all those cons out of the way, why would you choose a Vanity Press. That’s simple. If you, as the author, want to publish a book, but you do not want:
1) to design the cover.
2) format the various types of books (print, mobi, epub, pdf).
3) Upload the book yourself to Amazon or Draft2Digital or any other ebook distributors.
4) Want to pay someone else to do all the above for you.
Then you might look into a Vanity Press.
My Final Thoughts
Personally, I would rather take on all the hassle of self publishing, or go through the hassle of finding a publisher. But that is just me. Vanity Presses are not inherently bad. It’s just they have never been the right place for me to publish any of my projects.
Why I Hybrid Publish
Not every title deserves to be published with every publisher, nor should every title be self published.
I felt like Cosby Media Productions was the correct home for The United.
But my short stories were not a good fit with any publisher.
Some short stories of mine were a good fit with some anthologies, so i submitted them.
That’s why I hybrid publish.
Now, that being said, my decision felt right to me. If you have a different path that works and feels right for, that great. My purpose in sharing this is so you can understand my choice, and hopefully help you talk out what works for you.
Publishing Helps from A Community
So this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and brings a tear to my eye every time I think of it.
I love my Author Friends. I am so grateful to them for all their help and support.
I have not had to spend a single penny to publish any of my self-published works.
I have bartered services with friends for editing, teasers, book covers, and formatting. I will be the first to admit that the editing on my self-published titles are not the best. But, I will equally be the first to say my covers are as eye catching as anyone else’s.
One thing I have done on my own every time is create my own book descriptions. That is one failing I will own. I am working on improving my copyrighting, but it is still not that great.
But, my community helps me with that, too. I draw on the strength and prowess and support of my fellow authors almost daily.
I am a bit of a Star Wars Geek, can you tell?
To many today is Cinco de Mayo. Yeah, and to all you who celebrate that holiday, may you have a great day. But to me, it is the birthday of my Uncle. Many Happy Returns Uncle! I love you (even though I really doubt he’ll see this.)
Anyway, the Month of May is the month we talk about Publishing. As a hybrid author, meaning I have a traditional publisher (Cosby Media Productions) and I self publish some things, and I am part of a couple self-published anthologies. So unlike last month, (editing) I actually know a few things about publishing.
So let’s talk publishing.
First thing, NOT EVERY BOOK YOU WRITE IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR EVERY PUBLISHER.
Some authors are lucky and they can publish with just one publisher their entire career. And that works for them, and that works for their publisher. If that is not you, no worries.
Let’s start off with what type of publishers there are.
There are the traditional publishers. The Big 5 in New York City, Cosby Media Productions, and the like.
Then there are the self-publishers.
Then there are Vanity Presses, which as far as I understand it, Vanity Presses are a one stop shop for a self-published title where you pay the Vanity Press, and they do everything for you, instead of you shopping around for an editor(s), cover designer, formatting, and you having to upload your book to whatever book distributor you choose.
Throughout the month I will go into greater detail about each option, and why you may want or not want to choose it for your individual project.
So, stay tuned!