Vanity and Hybrid Publishers – Quick Warning to Aspiring Authors

vanity and hybrid publishers
It seems contradictory that whenever we try to influence a change and dare tell aspiring authors and dreamers to ‘wake up’ and realize their ambitions, write and publish that book, bring that voice they always wanted to reality, that a snake rattles it’s poisonous tail and swallows them whole.

I’ve noticed a resurgence of vanity publishers recently, and I know that I wrote about them before but as a published author in my own country ‘Bahrain’ I feel it is my duty to write about this again. As to not give anyone the excuse of ‘he wrote that about vanity publishers, not us/he wrote that a long time ago and much has changed’. I am here to reiterate: nothing has changed.

Came across an ad that a book publisher has finally opened up in the Middle East (in UAE to be more exact), and decided to look them up. Hell, if that was true then I’d be the first one to submit my work to them. When I did my research however, it turns out that they’re actually a hybrid publisher (a cross between a vanity and a traditional publishers) and that just terrified me.

Since I’ve published Dragon Tooth in 2015, much has changed. A lot of new authors have came up, and I’ve met a lot of aspiring authors who wanted to publish their works and just didn’t know how. The thing is, I can only reach so many of them. Of the people that I don’t know and don’t contact me, the ones who aren’t aware about all this ordeal…etc. That is why I am writing this blog again, to let every aspiring author/artist know this simple rule: you do not pay to publish your book. Publishers should pay you to publish your book.

What is a Vanity Press?

A vanity press is a publisher who offer packages to aspiring authors to publish their books. They prey on the lack of information and research that they have and give them false ideas or dreams of finally becoming a published author (which by the way, isn’t that glorifying trust me, at the end, it’s just a lot of work).

So, let’s go through their bullshit one by one and dissect them one by one:

1: Every author pays for some form of marketing, editing or cover design. You can’t expect to write the book and not spend anything.

A: Every SELF-PUBLISHED author pays for cover design, editing and marketing. To say that traditional authors pay anything is quite simply: not true. It is the sole responsibility of the publisher to do everything in their power to make the book as successful as it can be. That is why they offer the author an advance (that is NON-REFUNDABLE) of whatever they think they will sell, and then offer royalties once their recoup their investment. For example: Publisher pays you an advance of 1000 USD to publish your book. They will edit it, format it, design the cover art, distribute it and market it for you (though the marketing kinda is reflective of the effort you, yourself put in as well). You will not get royalties from your book sales until they get their advance back. Sounds fair enough? Almost. If the book happens to not do well, then that is all. If it doesn’t sell a single copy, you get to keep the advance at least. That is the risk they take.

2: If you do go the traditional route, they will own all of your rights!

A: Again, completely false. They will own SOME rights, not all of them. They will own distribution rights mostly, all the rest depends on the sort of agreement you sign with them. That is why it is very vital that you read the contract prior to signing it. However, the intellectual property will ALWAYS remain the author’s. It is true that they take control of some of the creative process (cover design for example) but when editing, they can recommend or demand you change something because they think it will help sell the book more, and an author might be obliged to listen to them but they always can say: no.

Most aspiring authors don’t know that they can self publish using KDP (since CreateSpace is gone now) for FREE. It costs you nothing to publish your books to ALL MAJOR ONLINE RETAILERS. Amazon, Barns and Noble…etc. My books are on Kobo, Google Books, Apple Store, Barns and Noble, Amazon and a whole bunch of others. Vanity Publishers do not have a bigger reach than KDP (owned by Amazon). While there are some paid self-publishing platforms, none of them will demand a giant chunk to do this. I’ll explain more in a future post.

3. We are not a vanity publisher!

A: If only people would understand that I am not Dr.Phil (wait, that sounded way better in my head)! I hope you get my point. They will never outright admit that they aren’t a vanity publisher because they have been exposed for so long.

4. We are not a vanity publisher, we are a hybrid publisher! We offer both, traditional and-

A: Shhhhhhhhhhhhh… See the point of being a hybrid publisher removes any form of credibility a publisher has. That is to say: they have no standards and every submission will be the same: they will tell you, you didn’t qualify for a traditional contract and will quote you a ridiculous amount that they will glorify and call ‘amazing deal/your book has great commercial success potential’ with promises that ‘most authors make their money back within a year’ but please remember that this is just the words of a Salesman. Don’t be tempted, don’t be tricked into hearing what you want to hear.

To not make this blog any longer, I’ll stop here. I’ll be doing another post really soon with more excuses (comment or reach out to me here if you have any doubts at all).

It is my mission to help any aspiring authors (please feel free to contact me with any questions whatsoever) and as such, please do reach to me if you’re confused or don’t know what to do with a manuscript, I am more than happy to donate my time and help someone realize their dream. I will literally stop everything I’m doing (except sleeping) and text you back. Solid promise.

P.S: Here’s a link to KDP Direct Programme (0 set up fees, and you get to all major online stores). A more in depth blog will cover this.

Until next time,

Write on.

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