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Entries in vanity press (2)

Thursday
Apr012010

Which Publisher is Right For Your Masterpiece?

Most everyone feels they have a book in them. If you feel you do and you eventually write your masterpiece, how will you get it published? With advancing technology, anyone can now get their book published in some form or another. For authors, the world of publishing has pretty much blow wide open.

There are two types of publishers- traditional publishers and everyone else. Traditional publishers are any publisher who pays an author an “advance” in hopes of getting their money back through sales. The traditional publisher model has stayed fairly consistent over the years. However, changes in the publishing industry are slowly forcing the traditional publishers to modify their business models.

The other publishers  have  been more flexible and have evolved with the times. Subsidy and vanity publishers publish any book for a fee, no matter the quality of the manuscript. Off-shoots of these ideas developed such as co-publishing and shared publishing, where publishing companies took an active role in helping the author and were more discerning about what manuscripts they published.

More recently, as technology allowed, POD or print on demand companies formed. They may or may not work with the author, but their main purpose was to only print a copy of a book when the book was bought. Finally, publishing has evolved most recently into e-books; books that are read on a computer and not physically printed. This e-book niche exploded beyond computers with the advent of e-readers such as the Kindle, Nook or iPad and people can even read books on their smart phones. Nowadays, the opportunities for an author to get their work published seem endless!

Book publishing is difficult no matter how a book is published. And like all industries, there are good players and bad players which can give the different types of publishing a bad reputation. But each method of publishing has its benefits and detriments and one is not necessarily better than another. They are just different.

With the new and different publishing opportunities come new and different responsibilities for authors. Authors need to be aware of these prior to choosing any one specific method to publish their book. But at least, there are now choices for any author to get out their masterpiece.

If you are interested in a publishing consultation regarding a book you want to write, please contact us for a free consult at http://www.ourlittlebooks.com/contact/

Thursday
Feb252010

What is a Vanity Publisher and Why Ever Would an Author Use One?

Self-publishing is a dirty word for many people. Publishing purists believe that the only true method of publishing is if you are published by a traditional publishing house. Since the percentage of books actually published with a traditional publishing house is less than 3%, that makes it difficult for 97% of authors to get their work published unless they go the self-published route. 

One type of self-publishing is euphemistically called Vanity publishing or Vanity press. The name vanity publishing stems from the fact that certain publishers, for a fee, will publish any work, without regard to quality. Since many authors would be willing to pay a fee just to see their name in print, (no matter what the quality of the manuscript), vanity presses gained a reputation of being more interested in the money they got from the authors than in the quality of work as trash got pumped out into the book market. 

The truth is that because a vanity press is not selective in the work that it publishes, books published under a true vanity press are not seen as prestigious or as credible as those published elsewhere. This is unfortunate because this automatically lumps both good and bad books together by reputation only. This stigma attached to vanity publishers has only recently begun to be re-evaluated as the publishing industry’s choices have expanded and new vanity presses have changed the vanity press business model by offering editorial review and services. 

Hybrid vanity presses have emerged which are changing the way the public is looking at vanity publishing. Author House, IUniverse, Lulu, UPublish, Xlibris are all examples of hybrid vanity presses. Like vanity presses, they will publish any work for a fee, no matter the quality of the work with no editorial quality assurance review. However, these houses have added editorial and design services that an author can pay for, thus making them not true vanity houses, but rather vanity hybrids. If an author takes advantage of the editorial, cover design and layout services, these presses can produce excellent work. 

Why would any author want to publish with a vanity house if it has such a bad reputation? There are several reasons. Maybe an author has a book for a very small business niche, or a collection of poetry, a memoir, a genealogy or family cookbook that they want published. They are more interested in making a name for themselves within their niche or giving away their book to friends and family than in profiting from the sale of their book. As long as an author provides their own editorial and design services, then a vanity publisher may be the most cost effective way of getting their book out in print.

 Time is another issue. A traditional publishing house can take up to three years to get out a physical copy of a book. Vanity publishing can get books out much quicker, in weeks rather than years, since there is no review process. 

Other authors may see this work published by a vanity press as a stepping stone to get a traditional publishing house’s attention for a second work. Traditional publishers rarely will even look at an author who has not been previously published. If an author can publish a good product through a vanity press, do enough self promoting such that there are a reasonable number of sales, then those successful results may provide the foot-in-the-door needed to obtain a traditional publisher’s attention for a second book. 

Finally, some authors just do not want to give away control of their book. Since a vanity press does not change anything, the author is not giving up their control. However, an author has to balance keeping control against the stigma of going with a vanity publisher. But to some authors, control is more important than what other people think.   

Despite the historically bad reputation that is attached to a vanity press, a vanity press can be a legitimate publishing option. The assumption that a work published by a vanity press is one that could not be published elsewhere nor be a commercial success is no longer automatically correct. By doing their homework and taking advantage of the extra services offered, an author may get a great book through a vanity publisher with the advantages of self-publishing and the look of traditional publishing.