Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Self Publish? Vanity Press? Traditonal Publisher? Something Else?

question I see time and time again is: Is name of business here a self publisher, vanity press, or traditional publisher? How do I tell the differance?

While there are many branches of the publishing tree, these 3 are the big limbs, from which all the branches shoot off of. Here is how to tell them apart:

a self publisher, is an author who gets a business license, buys the ISBN #s, hires a printing press (print shop/printer) to print the books, than sells them themself… the author keeps 100% of the profits, because no one pays royalities; you keep 100% of the copyright (which btw, does not cost a penny)... you market the book and distribute it through local bookstores and Amazon.com

a vanity press is a print shop/printer/printing press, that does that for you, they usually ask you to pay money for them to edit your MS, they also chagre you if you want a color cover, (often they charge you for such things as “the right to keep your copyright”, or the ISBN #, in addition to the cost of everything else they chage) and than pays you a percentange (royalty), after you first pay them for the books… the royalty they pay, though it may sound high, is actually very low, because you don’t see that money until after they have deducted what you “owe them” for printing the books… in short, they make money, while you go broke, and you may or may not get to keep the rights to your book, depending on how much money you paid to buy your own rights back from them… you market the book and distribute it through local bookstores and Amazon.com

a traditional publisher, hires editors who read your MS which you send to them; they recive thousands of MSs each week, so it may take up to 2 years before they get around to reading it; after they read it, they either reject it or accept it; if they accept it, you well be sent a contact (and often with a recommendation that you go over it with your literay agent/lawyer before you sign it). Once you sign the contract and send it back, than the publisher’s laywer checks it to be certain that all is in order (and done legally). The publisher is given the tempory copyright allowing them to print and distribute your book to the public… they hire and editor to type set and spell check your MS, than they hire an artist to create the cover art, they distribute the book to bookstores worldwide, you never own them a cent, they pay you royalties

in other words:

self publishing is you starting your own business (a publishing house) and earning an income

vanity press is you doing a lot of hard work, getting your book printed, and getting scammed out of the money that should be yours, while they get rich and leave you with nothing

traditional publishing is you hireing a business to to the work for you and you both earn an income

I hope this helps


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