19 August 2012 - Self-publishing vs Vanity-publishing

Writing tip of the day:

Self-publishing vs Vanity-publishing

Generally speaking, traditional publishers do not ask authors to contribute to the cost of publishing. Well, I've been approached by such publishers. Two in fact, and I rejected both contracts. Traditional publishers are a genuine business, so they have to decide if your work will sell.

What is vanity-publishing? Mm ... there have been countless stories told about how authors were ripped off. There is a general trend as to how it goes ... you're frustrated that your masterpiece has not been snapped up by a mainstream publisher. Then, someone approaches you, offers you the world, you sign on the dotted line, they take your money and that's about it.  Generally, the vanity-publisher isn't interested in flogging your book, making you the next J K Rowling, marketing or distributing your priceless book. Nope, they have already made a profit from you. See ya later, buddy! The vanity-publisher per se, has no connection with bookshops or distributors. So, what happens? You are left with a garage full of books. End of story.

 Genuine publishers offer an author a range of services: editing, book design, distribution and marketing. The author has complete control over every stage of production - number of copies, cover and promotion.

Self-publishing: This has been around for ages, and some of the world's most renowned authors have self-published: Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, James Joyce and William Blake. I did too, and this is fast becoming the way to go for many writers, probably out of frustration. However, one has to approach it with a business mind. There are two things that are vital as an author: able to write and an ability to be a business person. The latter is possibly far more important, as you will find out from the comments made by the many guest authors I have on this blog. If you ignore the business side, forget it. Find a new hobby.

I have mentioned many points in previous postings that are necessary in preparing a book for publishing: cover design, ISBN numbers, colour of paper, font, layout, graphic design etc. However, all these things, and more, will be organised for you if you can find a mainstream publisher to pick up your work.

So, don't buy some champaigne and get all hot and flustered when a publisher raves about your manuscript. Take a deep breath, step back and give it some serious thought. It might be the best decision you ever made.

Keep writing!

Thanks for listening.

I'm Clancy Tucker