Sign up to the newsletter

Beware Vanity Publishing

Have you seen an advert for a publishing company that is looking for authors?  Probably in the newspaper.  And have you sent your work off, only to get a glowing letter in response, with an offer of publication?

The only slight hiccup is that they are asking for money to help fund the joint venture.  But they are offering a print run (unspecified or vague numbers), an ISBN, copies to reside in the British Library, and free copies for you.

This is vanity publishing – beware.  You can tell you’re being offered a vanity publishing contract if they ask you for money, if they are vague about what they will be offering, if they don’t suggest any editing.  Every book that is published in the UK has to  have a copy in the five copyright libraries for example, so that offer isn’t an additional perk – simply a following of the standards.

If in any doubt, Google the name of the company.  There’s a good chance that there are irate previous authors out there who have tangled with them.  You may even find the glowing letter they sent you is their standard letter.

From my years working in bookselling, I can tell you that bookshops never stock vanity press titles.  They are more likely to stock occasional self-published books – delivered to them by the author, particularly with a local link – on a sale or return basis.

Self-publishing will put you in control, with clear pricing based on numbers of books, and leaving editorial decisions in your hands, without lavishing you with letters of hyperbolic praise. There’s a lot more information out there, a good page to read up on vanity presses is Johnathan Clifford’s website.

Remember – legitimate publishers don’t need to advertise for authors, they already have a rich pile of pickings to go through, and the only time you should be asked for money is if you are self-publishing. And if your book really is that fantastic – someone will pick up the phone to talk to you.

If you found this useful, you might like to try:

Have You Considered Self-Publishing?

Self-Publishing vs Vanity Publishing

Experiment With E-Publishing