What is vanity press and why is it so hated?
Why all the hate? There are several reasons:
- Since authors pay vanity presses for publishing services while traditional publishers pay the author, many consider it backward.
- Vanity Presses are known as the ambulance chasers of the publishing industry. If you've ever submitted your work for copyrighting, you've probably received at least a few offers from vanity presses to publish your work for a fee.
- The poor quality stigma: I can't tell you how many times I've heard authors say that "vanity publishers will publish your grocery list for a price."
- There is also the unfortunate fact that many authors have been cheated by dishonest publishers. The details range from unkept promises to flat-out scams. These occurrences have tainted this publishing option.
Debunking Vanity Press
"I am a big believer in all avenues to publishing," Dashner stated. "Everyone was telling me, like on threat of death, 'Don't ever give money to a publisher.' But I did. And it was the best decision I've ever made because that started the process . . . That lead to my Shadow Mountain deal, which helped me get into conferences and to make connections, and eventually, that lead me to meeting Sarah Zarr. Sarah Zarr then introduced me to her agent, who is now both of our agents. I have never, ever, regretted in the slightest what I did."
Do you realize that, according to this blanket term, Amazon's ever popular CreateSpace is a vanity press? Just as you would with any other vanity press, they charge authors to publish. Amazon will "print your grocery list for a price" and there is no content quality control.
Why aren't authors outraged by this?
Amazon and other vanity presses have successfully rebranded this vanity press service as Print on Demand. Amazon offers convenient services and pricing to fill the ever growing need of indie and self-publishing and provide a top brand name that authors trust. In reality, they offer the same or often less services as many vanity presses. (Some vanity presses out there that do quality control, author education, marketing and distribution, etc.)
Should I use a vanity press?
Please remember there is no one-size fits all in publishing. Do your research and decide what best fits your own style and needs as an author. The important thing is to do what works best for you and to just get your work out there!
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