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  • Vanity publishers
    by Stephen N at 19:50 on 19 April 2003
    What do any of you folks know about those hateful creatures known as Vanity publishers? I've had a couple of offers to publish my first novel, but both want large amounts of cash up front. Anyone ever used them? If so what was your experience?
    I probably know what your answers are going to be, but some comments would be appreciated.

    regards to all

  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Anna Reynolds at 00:21 on 20 April 2003
    You probably know we're going to say- be very careful! there are lots of scammers out there. Check out, if you haven't already, http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/johnathonclifford/ for info about dodgy presses, also gives a clear and reasonable idea of what an honest press will offer. Have you sent your work out to non-vanity publishers? including smaller, newer, more risk-taking kinda places?

    [Edited by david bruce at 09:55 on 09 May 2003
    link wasn't working - is now (-;]
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 11:16 on 21 April 2003
    Bottom line? If they want money, they're vanity publishers and if they're vanity publishers, you're wasting your money - they'll screw you. If you have no luck with genuine publishers (who has?) and if you really want to see yourself in print, then 'self-publish'...it'll still cost you, but at least you're not being ripped off.

    There are no exceptions to the 'bottom line' - NEVER PAY A PUBLISHER, they pay you!
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Anna Reynolds at 17:06 on 22 April 2003
    It depends on how realistic you can be. If you want to see your work published at any cost- literally- then obviously vanity publishing, or self-publishing as it's also known- is one way. You just have to sit down and do the sums and say to yourself very clearly- I am going to lose money here, but if I can take it, and it will thrill me to see my book printed, then so be it. Or, do it yourself- there are lots of printers around who will do the job a lot cheaper. It all depends on what you want to get out of it. But please, please, please check the anti scams website.
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Becca at 13:33 on 24 April 2003
    Stephen N,
    I had some people called PublishAmerica pestering me for a while for a novel I wrote that a small agent in London had been interested in but declined on the basis that it didn't resemble anything on the same subject published before, and they were not willing to take a gamble on it. I casually put it in the way of PublishAmerica, without checking out who they were. Turned out they were a POD publisher, (publish on demand). I eventually, after several emails from them saying 'Give it us, we'll publish it' had to explain that if I ever did become a working writer, I'd have to explain them away on my writing history, or leave them out. This was my reasoning: an old fashioned publisher, in theory, cares about your writing, works with you and is able to edit and crit your work. The other types of publishing won't even proof read your work probably. I told PublishAmerica that I'd rather never see the thing in print than put it in their hands, even if I have no credibility as a writer now, surely that was what I was aiming for and surely being associated with them would damage it.
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 14:05 on 24 April 2003
    Damn right Becca. Problem is, we'd all like to be published and it's too easy to kid ourselves and be sucked in by nice words from sharks. But if you are, you'll regret it. If we can't get a publisher, at least we can have our self-respect. As I've said before, if you pay, you'll regret it, and if you can't find a publisher - and won't accept that maybe there's a good reason for that - and must see your work in print, then surely self-publishing makes more sense than vanity publishing. You won't have a marketing department behind you, but neither will you via the vanity people...despite what they say - and it's cheaper!
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Becca at 20:20 on 24 April 2003
    Yes self publishing would be the better option, but I think all writers have to do two things, somehow train themselves to have faith in their work, this can be hard, and never stop improving their craft. I think people can learn to write well, I don't believe it's an innate gift or anything like that. The biggest thing though is having the patience and dogged will power to carry on regardless of whether your stuff is getting published. I don't think any of us want to be people who are published after our death, but there are hundreds of examples of writers who have struggled to get very fine works out. Can't think of any names right now though, just got back from work, no brain left. Another thought strikes me which is it is better to keep most of your ego out of writing, just have enough in there to fuel the work. I don't know if what I've said is all balls?
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Becca at 20:45 on 24 April 2003
    I had another thought about this topic, it's got me going. It's this: being a good writer is not the thing that gets you published. The whole business is a bit like being in a fairground at one of those stalls where you shoot down tin ducks moving fast one after the other. In other words it is largely luck. You have to research the right place for your work, if you send your best stuff to the wrong place they'll reject it. But the more you have published, the more you are likely to be published, if you keep your grip on things. This is my view as a short story writer. It's a whole different thing to writing novels, I know. But the good thing about the UK is that it is a novel culture,so it's bad for short story writers unless they are already published novelists,( there are one or two exceptions), but good for novelists. It's all about finding the right people, .. and that's a great big dollop of luck usually.
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 21:22 on 24 April 2003
    Damn right again, Becca. Everything you say is spot on (in my humble opinion...got to watch the old ego)the only point I was trying to make (badly?) is that self-publishing is better than vanity publishing for those who want to get in print at all cost. No doubt about it though, 'the real thing' is (much, much) better!
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Account Closed at 12:55 on 25 April 2003
    Surely self-publishing is admitting defeat though?
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 13:05 on 25 April 2003
    Yes, Insane, it is; but then most of us are defeated, aren't we? At risk of repeating myself, I'm not recommending self-publishing, only suggesting it as a better alternative to vanity publishing for those who insist on seeing their work in print but can't find a legit publisher.
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Anna Reynolds at 13:10 on 25 April 2003
    I think you have to decide very clearly WHY you want to be published- is it to have the actual physical book in your hand? is it to try and sell it and then get to a legit publisher? is it to give/send to people you know? and yes, lots of examples of why persevering makes sense- Mary Wesley, published at 80, JK Rowling, rejected by lots of publishers, so are many other fine writers who get there eventually. Today, the last independent UK publisher, Duckworth's, is up for sale... sad. Check news section later for more details. But don't give up!
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by Account Closed at 13:11 on 25 April 2003
    Apologies, roger, if I made you sound like broken record there. And anyway, I'm not defeated, I've only been writing for about 6 months and have yet to even try to submit my musings to anyone other than an internet audience...

    As far as self-publishing is concerned, I'd pay to have a pen with my name on it, a badge or even a T-Shirt. But print is sacred ground...

    Wahey! Just joined the Fiction Writer's Group!

  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 13:30 on 25 April 2003
    no apologies needed, Insane...we're all nutters here. We write, what more evidence d'you need? Tell you what though, when you do start to submit, cancel the wallpaper order. You won't need it, you'll get enough polite rejections to decorate the house. Or maybe that's just me....you may have more talent and, therefore, more luck. Anyway, go for it, Mate!
  • Re: Vanity publishers
    by roger at 13:34 on 25 April 2003
    Anna, as long as Jack and Vera aren't involved, buy Duckworth's for the site and make all our dreams come true. A sort of fairy godmother thing.

    If Jack and Very are involved, though, forget it (They're thick, they let Richard steal all their money).
  • This 22 message thread spans 2 pages: 1  2  > >