Have we really killed off vanity publishing? A conversation…

Do you still think paid-for publishing is ‘vanity publishing?’ Have an eavesdrop into the following (genuine, real) online conversation I got involved in recently. Have changed the names (apart from mine!) for obvious reasons…

The topic: self-publishing companies

Marianne: Really? Who is this to publish with? I work with many well known publishing companies but have never heard of this. Generally if you are paying someone else to publish your work, then you’re dealing with a vanity publisher.

Is vanity publishing really still around? Or do people confuse that with genuine book publishing services that normally are good value for money?

Eloise: There are a number of vanity publishers. I don’t really know much about them, but I think two examples are Pegasus and Austin Macauley.

Suze: Eloise, I hear what you say and for sure there are still some ‘vanity publishers’ around, but mainly these days they set themselves up as ‘assisted self-publishers’ who charge quite a lot of money to produce books that are sold online.

Thankfully the original interpretation of ‘vanity publishing,’ whereby you submitted a rough, unedited manuscript to them, paid a lot of money and ended up with boxes of crappy books cluttering up your garage … are over.

Today it’s all about digital-printing and DIY books on Amazon and elsewhere

Many of which are utter sh*te, of course. But there are honest services that help self-publishers. These services offer you simple and affordable ways to produce high quality books that follow traditional editing techniques, and editing values. Now here comes the advert … DM me if you’re interested so I can help. Sz 😎📚

What about publishing it as an eBook on Amazon?

Suze: That’s certainly a cheap way to do it, Eloise, but Kindle isn’t right for all children’s books – especially for young children. That’s because illustrations are a major part of their books and those are hard to make attractive in a digital format. Much depends on the nature of the book, though. Kindle might be a good option for 10 yrs and older. Sz 😎📚

Leonora: That’s a complete rip off (price quoted here for a total book production service) by a vanity publisher. My sister is an author and has a editing business, she’s gobsmacked at the price of that! Do not go with them at all, don’t pay it and look elsewhere.

So much depends on what you want to achieve with your nonfiction book

Suze: Actually, Leonora, that’s not an unreasonable price for ‘assisted self-publishing!’ How that works today is a long, long way from the ‘vanity publishing’ package. Now you get a package that includes editing proofreading, cover design, ISBN, conversion of file and upload to Amazon for print-on-demand and Kindle.

Some of the high-end companies charge anything up to £10K and more for this – but usually they have a big PR and promotion facility that really does work and is included in the price. Personally I don’t work like that because I think it’s fairer to tailor what authors need – either putting up proposals to a traditional trade publisher like Little Brown, or going the self-publishing route on a menu basis only with the help that author needs, using individual specialists for things like PR etc.

A friend of mine in Canada paid USD $100,000 for a book deal a couple of years  ago – BUT it bought her not just her book, but also a whole year of book tours, TV appearances, endless radio interviews, speaking engagements etc and she is actually back in profit now purely from book sales and speaking fees. The book looks amazing, too – no expense spared on design, quality of paper, etc. You’d never guess it wasn’t a ‘trade published’ book.

After about 200 years with little change in the way business was done, in the first 20 years of this century the publishing industry really has had to pull its trousers up and evolve to keep up with technology and demands. It’s an exciting time to be working in it, especially as there are so many more options for authors to get published – legitimately. Sz 😎📚

Do you still have misconceptions about modern-day book publishing?

Please share your questions here and I’ll answer them as well as I can. Sz xx

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