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The Danger of Vanity Publishers

Posted by Xavier on

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.


5 Ways to Avoid Cliché Characters

Posted by Xavier on

5 Ways to Avoid Cliché Characters

One of the problems that writers sometimes have when they begin the writing career is developing characters that are real. Many writers tend to write cliché characters that are two-dimensional and do not make people want to read the story. So how do you avoid this problem? First let’s make a nice tasty treat with a waffle maker before we discuss good character writing. Here are some tips to help you avoid cliché characters.

Characters Talk like Real People

The first thing that you need to know is that characters do not talk like characters; characters talk like real people. Every writer has to learn this, and every writer has to listen to other people talking in order to learn how to write dialogue. If your characters do not sound like the people that you have observed in the grocery store, then you need to rewrite your dialogue.

Characters Have Flaws

You also need to understand the characters have flaws. Even the protagonist in your novel is going to have flaws. No one becomes a hero without overcoming their own personal demons. Understanding your character is supposed to represent a real person that has overcome their own personal issues to become this hero. It is perfectly okay for characters to have flaws, because it makes them seem like they are actual human beings and that makes people want to read about them even more.

Characters Make Impulsive Decisions

Something else that you need to understand is that sometimes your characters are going to make impulsive decisions. Sometimes, they’re going to make the wrong decision because that’s just how people work. You need to make sure that you are modeling them after real people, and not robots who weigh the consequences of every decision. Sometimes, characters are going to make impulsive decisions that make no sense whatsoever. As long as this moves the story along, this is not a problem. Of course, you do not want them decisions to go against the characters morals or already stated beliefs.

Characters Have Developed Personalities

Another thing to keep in mind is that characters are going to get into their own personal biases because they have developed personalities. Every human being on earth has developed personalities, even if you are writing about children. That means that you need to allow for this developed personality in the decisions that you make. While not every character is going to follow their personality completely, you do need to make allowances for this development when you give characters free reign to run in your world.

Characters Experience Emotions

The next thing you need to understand is that if you’re going to write characters as if they are real people than they need to experience emotions. Real people experience emotions such as sadness, happiness, depression, jealousy, hate and everything else that you can imagine. People are complex and you should write about your characters as if they were experiencing the array of emotions that actual human beings experience if you want them to be three-dimensional and leap off the page.