The Self-Publishing Trap: Look Before You Leap into the Pay-to-Publish World


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Thinking about using one of the many pay-to-publish companies for your book? Think twice. Many of them are modern incarnations of old-time vanity publishing houses. Get a second opinion about what they offer and your alternatives.

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The Self-Publishing Trap: Look Before You Leap into the Pay-to-Publish World

  1. 1. The Self-Publishing Trap: Look Before You Leap into the Pay-to-Publish World
  2. 2. “They call it ‘self-publishing.’ I call it the New Vanity Press (NVP).” −D.L. Hughes
  3. 3. There are ways to publish a book today
  4. 4. Traditional Publishing Get an agent, let him or her pitch your book to publishers, sign a royalty contract, get 10-15% cover price royalty. Takes 12-18 months when you can find an agent and a publisher.
  5. 5. Self-Publishing This is when an author publishes his or her book under his own name, not under any brand name. The book has an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) registered in the name of the author.
  6. 6. Vanity Publishing Pay-to-publish programs are vanity publishing. The book is published using the pay-to-publish brand name and ISBN. The New Vanity Press (NVP) wants people to believe they are self-publishers or indie publishers when they are really just the old vanity press using new technology.
  7. 7. Indie Publishing Independent films and music are big. There is also a lively and growing indie publishing movement. Indie publishing (the small press) is different than traditional publishing, selfpublishing and vanity publishing.
  8. 8. Indie Publishing Indie publishing is the ideal for most authors. They can publish their own book without the stigma and expense of using the New Vanity Press. They retain control beyond what the payto-publish companies promise.
  9. 9. There are hundreds of pay-to-publish companies. Some of the well-known ones are AuthorHouse, Balboa Press, Dellarte Press (formerly Harlequin Horizons), Dorrance, iUniverse, Trafford, Tate Publishing, WestBow Press, WinePress, Xlibris and Xulon.
  10. 10. If any pay-to-publish company puts their International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and colophon (brand name) in your book, then you are a victim of the New Vanity Press (no matter what their salesperson says).
  11. 11. The New Vanity Press sells services, not books. Books sold passively on their site are incidental. Facts: Common no-frills service package fees when you use an NVP company: $999-$7,999.* The average number of books you can expect to sell using a NVP― 150 copies* * See The Self Publishing Trap for documentation.
  12. 12. The New Vanity Press sells expensive packages for editing, promotion and other services but once you pay, they have no skin in the game. Once they collect their fees, you are on your own.
  13. 13. Q. Why do authors spend large amounts of money getting their book published by an NVP company? A. Two things happen. They believe their book will “sell itself.” And they shackle themselves to an NVP salesperson (often called a publishing consultant) who fuels that illusion.
  14. 14. Authors Have Options Publishing a book is not rocket science. If you can write a book you can successfully publish it without paying high NVP fees or having the stigma of vanity press branding in your book. You can be a successful indie publisher.
  15. 15. Authors Have Options You can get competent editing without paying over-priced fees. Many NVP companies use editors from India and the Philippines to increase their profit margin. That is seldom in your interest.
  16. 16. Authors Have Options You can maximize your profits when you control printing. You have the same access to Print On Demand (POD) as the NVP does. If you are paying all the upfront costs, you deserve all the profit.
  17. 17. Authors Have Options You can control your promotional costs. NVP companies offer expensive promotional packages. As an indie publisher, you can invest your money in what works for you, not what you are forced to take as part of a package.
  18. 18. Warning – Expensive Decisions Ahead Use a NVP company if you wish. But at least learn how these vanity publishing houses operate so you can make an informed decision.
  19. 19. Discover more about the self-publishing trap. Look before you leap! Click here Cover image © LightWise | 123RF Stock Photo