Skip to main content

The Difference Between Self-Publishing and Vanity-Publishing

I've blogged about this before, but apparently it needs addressing again. Most people don't understand the difference between self and vanity publishing, so I'm here to explain.

I'm an indie author. I self publish my ebooks on Amazon KDP, Smashwords, and Kobo Writing Life. My paperback books are published through Createspace. None of these publishing platforms cost me any money. I just upload my ebook and paperback files and then they become available for sale world-wide. When I self publish a paperback through Createspace my book is only printed once it's ordered by a reader. This is called POD Publishing / Print On Demand Publishing. It means that my paperback novel is only printed when a real order is placed for it. If you go to amazon.com and order one of my books viewAuthor.at/SuzKorb Amazon prints off one copy on their book making machine. This saves trees, and ebooks save even more trees. Win.

With vanity publishing a writer basically hires a printing service to print hundreds, even thousands of their books in one print run. A vanity publisher charges authors thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars to print their book. The books are paid for by the author who then has to do all marketing themselves. I'm going to give you an example of vanity publishing from experience, luckily not my own experience.

Years ago, when I lived in America, I was due to be moving into a new rental property. The previous tenant had used a vanity publisher. The first few times I viewed the property I was shown his collection of printed books. He'd purchased thousands of copies of his vanity published book and they were stacked in boxes in the garage. He told me that he even landed a spot on a TV talk show, to promote his book, because he had connections with friends in the biz. It didn't help. His books didn't sell and were left to rot in the garage. I felt bad for the guy and asked if I could have a copy of one of his books, then and there. And I asked him to sign it for me. I also asked if he'd ever written more, but the experience, and financial devastation of vanity printing his own books, put him off writing forever, and he never wrote again.

I moved into the property after being promised he'd have his decaying stacks of books removed. Well guess what? He left them and skipped town.

That's right, I had to foot the bill to have his useless books removed and incinerated! So you can understand my abhorence of vanity publishing. I don't want anyone else to be suckered into paying a vanity publisher tens of thousands of dollars, only to get into debt and suffer mentally for it too.

It was years and years before self publishing became popular. I'm so glad I discovered it. Self publishing (not vanity publishing) allows me to write whatever I want, and make it available for purchase with no cost to me. I'm in charge of prices too and I always keep my ebook and paperback prices as low as possible. I do want readers to enjoy my books that I had fun writing!

So vanity publishers sell books back to the author, traditional publishers sell books to wholesalers and bookstores, and self publishers (like me) sell books direct to readers.

And the customer is the author, not readers.

Comments

  1. Well said - and some naive authors scan the internet for publishers, not knowing the difference between an independent publisher, a traditional publisher, and a vanity publisher. The main difference being that an indie pub will publish a good proportion of their submissions, a trad pub one in a million, and a vanity pub any old rubbish that comes their way, as long as the author will pay! Let's hear it for self publishing :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hooray for self publishing indeed!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Thinkerbeat Guest Post

Welcome to the Thinkerbeat Anthology Interview
Q: What inspired you to start publishing? A: I wrote my first story when I was really young. I used to sit with a typewriter and clunk away at the keys for hours. I’d make a lot of mistakes, but I kept trying. Later, I started sending stories out for publication. I got a lot of rejections, just like everyone does.
In college I studied the music business and learned about managing talent. I also played around with the idea of becoming a computer programmer, but my creative side won out and I spent a number of years working in the music business.
Down the road, I got an offer to write a children’s book for a publisher. I thought, well, 500 words, how hard can that be? It took me months to finish it. You spend more time describing the illustrations on the page than you do putting words on the page. The staff editor was never happy and we disagreed on a lot of things. But I learned from him. I also kept in mind that if I didn’t play along, I’d ne…

Guest Post from Author Samantha Tonge on Her New Novella

How to Get Hitched in Ten Days is my first novella and the story just flew onto the page. It is a tale of friendship, unrequited love and about turning around the challenges that occasionally strike us all as we go through life. Mikey helps the boyfriend of his best friend and flat mate, Jasmine, turn around a disastrous Valentine’s Day proposal.
Early reviews are coming in and I am thrilled that many readers are reacting to Mikey in the way I intended – they all love him and wish he was part of their lives.As one reviewer,Coffeeholic Bookworm says:
“ I want some Mikey in my life! Mikey isn’t your typical hero. He’s soft, fluffy, sensitive and yummy. His friendship with Jasmine was admirable. He’s a keeper
Do you have a best friend? Someone you can turn to in your hour of need?
I think I created this character because, apart from my lovely husband, I don’t. And sometimes life gets difficult. You don’t necessarily want to burden your family or partner with your problems. You simply want a…

Finally! A Cover for Bedevilled That I Like

Bedevilled was my first novel. I wrote it back in 2009 in two months. Then I stupidly rewrote it to death, but I came back to its original version and completed all edits on it. The one thing I've never been able to do is find a suitable cover for Bedevilled. Until now. It's ace. I like it. Finally happy with it. I'll put up previous versions of this book's covers at the end of this post, but first, here's the newest...


"If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, then what of the wrath incurred by the devil herself?"
Bubbles is a woman in trouble. Life on Earth just became Hell. Quite literally seeing as how there's escaped minions from the underworld to deal with. And to think it all started with a blind date. Or did it? There's more to that Godly looking man than meets the eye, and Bubbles is intent on finding out just how divine He truly is.
And here's the full paperback cover...

I think this new one is much better than its immediate predeces…