Vanity publishers pray on a writers desire to be published. Please don’t fall into this trap as I did.
Five years ago, when I started on my writing career I had no idea what I was doing. I had been blogging for years before that, but never took it seriously. I hadn’t research or read about writing.
Despite that, I wrote my first novel. When I look back now it was awful, at the time I thought it was the best thing ever. Having completed it, I started querying for the book, sending it to many publishers. Rejection letters were received regularly, some didn’t even both to reply. Still, I thought to myself JK Rowling took many attempts to be published, keep going.
Then one Saturday morning an email appeared in my inbox that made my heart sing. A publishing company loved my novel, but would I consider extending the word count. As a writer think about the feeling of getting a yes from a publisher. You can imagine how happy I was.
For the next three months, I worked day and night extending the book. The second attempt was better. Once finished I sent it back to the publisher, thinking that this was it, my first book.
One month later, the reply came. I will always remember the subject line of the email, ‘book accepted.’ Then I read on and my heart sank. They started by saying how much they loved my book, what a large audience it would appeal to. However, they had many books on their list so they could only offer to publish if I footed some of the cost. They were a vanity publisher and I hadn’t realised it. The price they were charging £3100.
First, I didn’t have that money. Secondly, I did my research and everyone said the same. Never use a vanity publisher.
What Vanity Press Offer
The basic contract is that you provide the upfront payment for them to work on your book. They will then get a cover designed and publish the book.
Many state they market the book, but in reality, they don’t. I have interviewed a few authors who have been sucked in by these companies and they never market the book. The marketing is up to you. Vanity publishers will then take a rather large slice of the royalties when you sell.
Basically put, my £3100 was going to pay for editing and designing a cover.
Now with the experience I have, I know I was a fool to get sucked in by a vanity publisher. I was lucky I never gave them any money. I replied to their email with a polite, no thanks I’m not interested in vanity publishing. They tried to tell me they weren’t until I ended up blocking their email address.
Self Publishing the Sensible Option
Vanity publishing is a waste of money, you can publish your book for a fraction of the price and keep all the royalties. Another option is to use Amazon, who publish your book as they sell and take a percentage on the sale of the book.
Once you have completed your manuscript, you can get a content editor to help you. I edit books for £35 per 8000 words. I charge monthly so you can walk away whenever you want. If you want a quicker service this will cost you no more than £500 depending on word count. Considerably less than the £3100 vanity publishing charges. You can look for other editing services on Fiverr.
Cover design is not my strength, some writers are brilliantly creative and make beautiful covers. This is not me. If you are the same, you can get a brilliant cover designed again through Fiverr for as little as £20. A good cover I would suggest you spend up to £100 on.
Through my editing service, I then help you format and self publish your book all within the price. You will be responsible for marketing the book, I offer advice on this. With vanity publishing you have to market your book, so nothing lost.
There is also the option that you do all the stages yourself and spend nothing to publish your book. You could partner up with a friend, you read their book, they read yours.
Austin Macauley broke the heart of a young writer the day that email arrived. It took me several years to start writing books again. However, they taught me a valuable lesson. On their website, they advertise themselves as a hybrid publishing company but don’t be fooled like I was. It has been many years since this happened to me, yet daily on Facebook groups, I see people being sucked in by them. This company is mentioned time and time again and it makes my blood boil.
Since that day I have been on a mission to stop these publishers gaining any money from hardworking authors. They pray on our desire to be published and make money from it. I hope my story will stop other authors falling into this trap.
No author should pay to publish their book.
Sam H Arnold is a UK writer and blogger. Click here to take you writing to the next level and start earning three figures a month, by joining her coaching program. To follow all her work find her on Facebook or join her Email List.