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.