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Sunday, September 19, 2004
 
Yet Another Vanity Publisher Trick

I learned about a new one today. Or maybe it's an old one, I've lost track. There's a vanity publisher out there that claims they charge a fee to (get this!!!) discourage the less talented writers from submitting! And the fee is $4,000! Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you've ever read?

The sad thing is that a lot of aspiring writers don't realize it's wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. They don't see the illogic. They don't get the reversal of reality. If you remember nothing else, remember this. Talented writers don't need to pay money to get published. There are talented writers who will submit to these companies, but that's only because they don't know any better. Talented writers who know publishing know they have to submit to publishers who don't charge fees; don't force their writers to buy lots of copies of their books; edit the manuscripts; and (gasp) distribute their books.

I checked out this publisher's web page, and they claim they started their own publishing company because they were published by a traditional publisher, but they realized that the publisher now owned all their rights, and the majority of royalties were going to the publisher. But... most legitimate publishers do not take all the rights on the books they publish.

Also, saying that "the majority of royalties" went to the publisher clouds the concept of royalties. With a traditional publisher, all the royalties do go to the author -- the royalties are a percentage of what the book makes. So sure, you might make ten percent or even less, but that's the way it is. The publisher is, after all, paying for printing, editing, distribution, ads, copyright fees, etc., etc. If you decide to sign up with a vanity publisher, you will end up paying a high fee. Sure, you might get really high royalties, but what good are high royalties if you've already paid out thousands of dollars to get the book published? And what good are high royalties if the book sells only a few copies -- after all, once they get their money from you, the vanity press doesn't have to work to make money. They don't have to sell books. They only have to sell themselves to authors. That's the catch, and it's a soul-killer for many authors.
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