What Exactly IS Vanity Press?

When you’re looking to publish your book you have three choices:

  1. Traditional
  2. Self
  3. Vanity (also called subsidy)

In my numerous chats with clients, many of them have no clue what vanity press is – or what they get when they use a vanity publisher.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Who owns the ISBN to your book? You or the publisher?You pay the vanity press to publish your book. This fee may include editing, formatting, cover design, and maybe even some marketing.
  • The vanity press uses an ISBN number that is in their catalog of books. That means they are the publisher of record and own the ISBN.
  • When a book is sold, the vanity press takes a cut. How much they take varies! Often times, the vanity press sets the cover price – and you don’t have much say in it.
  • Vanity publishers might also have strict rules about the book’s cover and title. They want it to fit in with the other books in their catalog – regardless of what might be best for your book.
  • You’ll most likely be charged for changes. If you need to make an adjustment to the text of the book you probably can – but they’ll charge you for it!
  • Expect that you’ll be forced to buy copies of your book – maybe thousands of them. Often the contact with a vanity press has one fee for publishing and then a second, mandatory clause that says that you’re required to purchase a certain number of books.

Many times the sales arm of a vanity press is fantastic! They’ll wine and dine you, promise you all types of goodies, and tell you how great your book (or idea) is. It’s a fine line between stroking your ego and stalking though!

What to know before your #publish your book! Click To Tweet

Before you sign anything – and give them your money – be sure to carefully read the fine print of your contract. Many times a vanity press will end up being extremely expensive. And you really want to know when and how you’ll get paid, who owns the rights to your book, how changes are made, and what, if anything, they offer for marketing.

Don’t be seduced by a publisher that wants you! Be certain you’re working with a reputable publisher and that you completely understand what you’re paying for!

P.S. New Frontier Books isn’t a vanity press. My publishing services are a done-for-you solution. The ISBN and all royalties are yours!

Kim Galloway
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