The Danger of Vanity Publishers
Those that are interested in self-publishing sometimes get caught in the traps laid by vanity publishers. A vanity publisher is a company that exists to try to convince you to pay as much as possible to publish your book, often producing low quality products and costs you hundreds or thousands more than you would have spent by self-publishing. In fact, the truth is that you can self-publish books for nothing if you really want to. But vanity publishers prey on the uninformed and let you think that they are going to make you a best-selling author
What Vanity Publishers Promise
To understand vanity publishers and why they can cause major problems with your book publication process, you have to understand what vanity publishers actually promise you. Vanity publishers target authors who have written a book but know almost nothing about the publishing industry. Some vanity publishers may even try to convince you that every author pays for their book to be published. This simply is not true. If someone is charging you to publish your book, then they are not a traditional publisher. Traditional publishers pay you to publish your book.
But vanity publishers often promise to do everything that a traditional publisher does. They may say that they will advertise your book, make sure he gets into bookstores and schools, do all of the editing and cover design work, and various other things that a traditional publisher does. But the problem is, the fine print on these services is really difficult to understand. Some of the tricks that vanity publishers use include calling something in editing service when it is simply something similar to the same spellcheck that you get in Microsoft Word. They may provide you with a basic cover, based upon templates that they have available, but it will not be quality and there will likely be tons of other books that have the same cover. Plus, vanity publishers charge for all of these services. Their goals are to get you to spend as much money as possible.
What Vanity Publishers Deliver
So, what do vanity publishers actually deliver? In most cases, not much. Suppose you opted for the most basic package that they had, which usually cost somewhere between $300 and $500. This package might come with their spellcheck service, access to their templates to create your cover, and a few copies of your book for you to give out to your family and friends. Even if they do provide you with actual printed copies in quantities large enough to be able to sell them, it is usually less than 100, and you will have to do all of the work to get people to buy them yourself.
But vanity publishers also try to get you to sign up for additional services. For example, they might try to sell you enhance distribution services, which simply means that they will fill out the request form to get your book listed in the industry catalogs. But these catalogs know vanity publishers, and are not going to list your book. These are just a few examples, but hopefully they will give you pause if you are thinking about going with a vanity publisher.