Here lately in my FaceBook feed, I’ve seen a lot of information about Vanity Presses/Publishers. If you’ve never heard of the term, beware you may have been victim to one. Let me start off by saying what I hope you HAVE heard: no agent or publisher should ask you for money up front to read, represent, or produce your work. Now, this does not include any funds you put out IF you decided to self or independently publish. That’s different and if you’d like to read more on those costs, check out my blog at Let’s Get Real.
Vanity Publishers will always ask you for money up front. In order to do this, they sell you on their product, stating that they’ll help with marketing, get your book out there, maybe even hire a cover artist and/or editor on your behalf. But for them to do this, you have to pay them $XX.XX to get started and that you’ll get the money back through books sold on your investment.
Here’s the problem, most of what they promise, they do not keep. They fail to fulfill the contracts they do not keep.
Let me give you an example.
Christine F. Anderson Publishing, now known as Sage Wisdom Publishing, wanted $1000 up front for publishing and marketing costs. According to The Horror Zine at The Horror Zine – Christine F. Anderson, she is now asking for $4,900.
Just so you can get an idea, below are some of the things promised by this publisher.
- Books will be copyrighted under the author’s name.
- The publisher will handle a major portion of marketing.
- The publisher will work to get books in major retailers.
This particular publisher failed to do all of the above.
Books were not copyrighted, which as an author is YOUR protection from having your work stolen and being able to do something about it.
There had been no marketing done whatsoever on the books produced by this publisher.
And none of the books under this publisher ever made it into major retail stores like Target or Wal-Mart.
These failed promises can present legal issues should the publisher fail to send out royalties as according to their contract. Furthermore, the contracts produced by a Vanity Publisher do not benefit the author. They are established to benefit the publisher only.
The above publisher only allowed for the publisher to terminate the contract. Nowhere in the contract did it allow for the author to terminate the contract, this included if the publisher breached said contract.
This is a Vanity Publisher.
If you decide this is the route you want to go, then I suggest you do the following:
- Do NOT sign any contract without having an Intellectual Property Attorney look at it first. If the publisher pushes you to sign without this happening, they do NOT have your best interest at heart.
- Research the publisher. See what other authors REALLY have to say about them. Do not accept what is written on their face page. They’re trying to sell a product.
- Research your other options. Think about the REAL cost of the undertaking. What they are actually going to do versus what they tell you they’ll do that you end up doing instead.
Be smart about your publishing journey. Sometimes, the snail wins the race in the end.