The Writing Shack! - your Self-Publishing Guide (no.2) VANITY PUBLISHERS / SCAMS
So, you've heard of Vanity Publishers, right? Those sneaky, seemingly harmless companies who accept your book without an agent and massage your ego only to take your money under the impression they are a traditional publishing company. These unscrupulous companies pretend to give your book the attention it deserves as they lead authors into a series of manipulative conversations and once hooked in, snatch the money from eager, inexperienced writers.
I consider myself very streetwise (and even more cynical through the dark corridors of the web), but yes folks EVEN I was at some point taken in by a vanity publisher so I am writing this to save yourself the same grief.
I had unfortunate dealings with one firm - they kept wooing me and leading me on over a period of six weeks, letting me believe that they were a traditional publisher. It felt nothing short of a grooming scam. It was a hard lesson and I know now that I should have never ignored that something doesn't feel right, thought. Thankfully I hadn't parted with any money and gave the company a good serve of how I felt about they way they dealt with their customers.
In the UK there are hundreds of Vanity publishers advertising that they're desperate to take your book. You've only got to google "accepting submissions" to see a list of Vanity publishers pop up online. Its damaging in the long term because these companies will never turn down a book, (no matter how terrible) and you will never get a genuine feel for how your book will be accepted in the market.
In a world where almost all traditional publishing companies do not consider unsolicited manuscripts its it leaves writers wondering who to turn to. The good news is that there are a number of reputable companies offering their publishing services and if its easier to pay someone to do the hard work for you then its a route worth going with. Check reviews and look for work examples to see if the services will be a good match for your type of book. You will be working closely with that person for a while so do a little investigation beforehand. In addition, do make sure you understand exactly what services are on offer for your money. Just because they are a proof reader or editor doesn't mean they will do all the work (all sections of the book) for you - too much meddling in a voice that clearly isn't yours could be catastrophic to your work. All good publishing services will of course know this and be able to advise the best way forward with a clear indication of costs - so there won't be any surprises at the end, just a perfect book to be proud of.
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Have you had a similar experience of Vanity Publishers? Anyone had good experiences? would be great to hear some of your stories if you're willing to share?
Signing off for now but thanks.. Gracias/Graciñas for popping by...