Book Publishing

Written by Christopher Ransom
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Vanity book publishing is a term that gone out of vogue in publishing circles, but unfortunately vanity publishers do still exist, and too often vanity publishing is confused with self-publishing. Vanity book publishing gets its name from the idea that wanting to see your own book published, and paying someone to publish it, is vane. This is not always the case; some very helpful and entertaining books have been self-published. The problem with vanity book publishing is, vanity publishers often disguise themselves as traditional or royalty publishers (publishers who pay you royalties for the rights to publish your book) to reel you in at first, then hit you with various fees above and beyond the cost of simply manufacturing your book. Vanity publishers are often the wolves in sheep's clothing.

Vanity publishers have earned their negative reputation by seducing authors with all the benefits of traditional publishing-staff editing, marketing, book printing, big sales projections and even promotional tours-even though they often cannot deliver on those promises. Vanity publishers often charge the author all sorts of fees described as "investments in your own career" to cover the costs. Whereas a regular book printer will charge you only for printing your book and be upfront about what exactly you are paying for, vanity publishing expenses go above and beyond the cost of printing to include all kinds of overhead.

How to Avoid Vanity Book Publishing

The easiest way to see through the smoke and mirrors of vanity book publishing is to determine if the publisher relies mainly on authors, not book sales, to earn their money. Again, this may sound similar to what a book printer does, but a vanity publisher promotes itself as much more than just a book printer, and that's where the dishonesty comes in. A vanity publisher is more likely to "accept" your book for publication and then slip the fees under the door. A book printer makes no promises but to print your book they way you order it. Also, when you hire a book printer, you will most likely hold and be responsible for selling the inventory. Vanity book publishers, on the other hand, will keep your book in house and may or not put forth the effort to sell it for you.

The bottom line is, be aware of what you're paying for. Really, there's nothing wrong with paying someone to perform all manner of services for your book, so long as the services are performed at a price that seems fair to you. The problem with vanity publishing, or any service for that matter, comes when you feel misled or ripped off. When you agree to a price quote with a book printer or any type of publisher, make sure to read the fine print. If you're hiring a book printer, you should only pay for book printing, a tangible service and product. Whatever you sign should not contain language stating that you agree to pay for intangible services promising editing, marketing, publicity or administrative fees down the road. So do your research first, get references, and check the better business bureau before you spend your money. There are many ways to get your book in print. Book printing is one that should not be confused with vanity book publishing.


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